SB 479

84(R) - 2015
Senate State Affairs
Senate State Affairs
Eminent Domain

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Charles Schwertner

Bill Caption

Relating to establishing actual progress for the purposes of determining the right to repurchase real property from a condemning entity.

Fiscal Notes

State Impact

Raising the number of actions to complete, while reducing the number of available actions, makes it more difficult for a condemning entity to ensure that actual progress has taken place. This could increase the costs the entity will need to expend to guaranty actual progress and also may result in more property repurchases.  It cannot be estimated whether the repurchase price will cover the original purchase price and the costs incurred by the condemning entity in negotiating the repurchase agreement. Therefore, the fiscal impact of the bill cannot be determined at this time.

Local Impact

There would be a fiscal impact to local entities; however the amount cannot be determined. The fiscal impact to a local entity would vary depending on the amount of land eligible for repurchase under the provisions of the bill and the number of individuals seeking to repurchase such land.

Bill Analysis

'Actual progress' is defined in law for the purpose of allowing the land owner or heir to repurchase the property after 10 years if the land has not been used for the stated public use and no 'actual progress' was made by the acquiring governmental entity.  SB 479 would amend code to require a governmental entity exercising eminent domain to complete at least three of the required actions to show 'actual progress' on the property; 1) perform significant labor on the property, 2) purchase materials for development, 3) procure services of an architect, engineer, or surveyor, 4) apply for state or federal development funds, or 5) apply for state or local development permit.  Currently, a governmental entity is only required to complete at least two of these actions to demonstrate 'actual progress.'

Port authorities and navigation districts would only be required to complete one of the actions to demonstrate actual progress, as long as a resolution is passed at a public hearing stating that only one action would be able to be completed within the 10 year window. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill affirms the principle of property rights, therefore we support this legislation.  SB 479 would protect the property rights of private land owners by implementing stricter requirements on governmental entities to make progress on the property for the stated public use. This also prevents government from satisfying easy requirements on showing that progress has been made on the land in order to prevent the land from being repurchased after 10 years. Ultimately, this legislation would help prevent abuse of eminent domain authority by government entities.