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Relating to the acquisition of, and the construction of improvements to, real property.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1211 would amend certain sections of the Civil Practice and Remedy Code regarding liability provisions in certain construction contracts. It would provide that a covenant or promise in a contract for engineering or architectural services related to an improvement to real property is void and unenforceable if the covenant or promise provides that a licensed engineer or registered architect must defend a party, including a third party, against a claim based on the negligence of, fault of, or breach of contract by a person other than the engineer or architect. A covenant or promise in, in connection with, or collateral to a contract for engineering or architectural services related to an improvement to real property may provide for the reimbursement of an owner’s reasonable attorney ’s fees in proportion to the engineer’s or architect’s liability.
Such contracts may not require a licensed engineer or registered architect to perform professional services to a level of professional skill and care beyond that which would be provided by an ordinarily prudent engineer or architect with the same professional license under the same or similar circumstances.
This bill would provide that a private entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property for a public use has made a bona fide offer only if the entity makes an initial offer of compensation of at least market value based on certain specified criteria. The offer must also include a complete written report of the appraisal, an instrument of conveyance, a notice of the terms for which the property owner may negotiate, a statement of the property owner's rights to attend or request an information meeting, and the landowner's bill of rights statement. The entity would also, among other things, be required to hold a property owner information meeting, provide notice of the proposed project to the county judge, and include certain information in the final offer.
Finally, this bill would require certain terms for instruments of conveyance by private entities with eminent domain authority.
Texas Action supports HB 1211 for promoting limited government, property rights, and individual liberty. Currently, state law gives landowners very little leverage within the negotiation process to entice a fair deal from the condemnor. When landowners are forced to give up ownership of their property, their rights should be firmly protected. This bill would create a substantially more fair, equitable, and transparent eminent domain process before private entities could acquire real property.