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Private property rights are not optional

Private property rights are not optional

By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

Sometimes it seems people believe the legislature’s power is unlimited; that the legislature has no constraints on determining our state’s public policy, or the regulatory authority they can grant to state and local agencies.

However, it’s simply not true when it comes to private property rights.

Private property ownership and rights don’t come from the legislature. The courts determine if a landowner has a property right. Once that right is recognized, it is protected by the Takings Clause of both the Texas and U.S. constitutions. Both the court and the constitution provide the checks and balance to the legislature’s power.

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Texas groundwater takes center stage…again

Texas groundwater takes center stage…again

By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

During the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature, funding the State Water Plan was at center stage. And rightfully so, considering this drought has brought into focus how unprepared our state is for a record drought with a growing population.

However, behind the scenes there were several contentious groundwater issues as well. Legislation was debated on reporting groundwater usage to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), providing the TWDB with more oversight of local groundwater conservation districts, mandating criteria for local districts to use in permitting the production of brackish groundwater, and requiring local districts to issue long-term permits to produce groundwater.

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