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Private property rights still matter

Private property rights still matter

By Gene Hall

The last sentence of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

That’s the full, incontrovertible and absolute justification for private property in these United States. Some think our First Amendment, freedom of speech, is the sole constitutional reason for American greatness. I’m on board with most of that. However, it’s the Fifth Amendment—guaranteeing the right to use private property—that is the economic foundation of our freedom.

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Groundwater ruling balances conservation and property rights

Groundwater ruling balances conservation and property rights

By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

The long-awaited decision from the Texas Supreme Court on the Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day McDaniel makes it clear that the landowner owns the groundwater in place as part of their land.

Prior to the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling, landowners were in jeopardy of losing the critical legal balance between governmental regulation and private property rights. It is a balance that applies to all private property rights, not just groundwater. Whether is a federal, state or local regulation, landowners have a legal right to challenge unreasonable regulation of their property.

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Eminent domain reform, at last!

Texas Eminent DomainBy Kenneth Dierschke
President
Texas Farm Bureau

Congratulations, Texas. Eminent domain has been reformed!

Private property laws in the Lone Star State have entered the 21st Century. The take-it-or-leave-it attitude displayed by some condemning authorities will be replaced by good faith and cooperation.

It’s been a long time coming. Farm Bureau leaders and members in all 206 of our county organizations were major players in this high stakes game for many years.

Thanks to Gov. Perry for designating this issue as an emergency item, which paved the road for its smooth passage. Our appreciation goes to Gov. Perry for signing this important piece of private property rights legislation.

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Groundwater rights bill threatened

Billy Howe, Texas Farm Bureau Legislative DirectorBy Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

It is often said that there are hundreds of ways to kill a bill, but only one way to pass it.

One of the most effective means to polish off legislation is to cause enough confusion that time runs out on it. That is the tactic currently being employed by opponents of SB 332 by Sen. Troy Fraser, the bill to reaffirm that landowners have a constitutionally-protected right to the groundwater beneath their land.

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Eminent domain reform in Texas property code will be positive for millions

Texas Eminent DomainBy Gene Hall
The long battle to achieve meaningful protection of private property rights in Texas with reform of eminent domain laws seems to be nearing a conclusion. This change in the Texas property code will be important to every property owner in the state.

When Governor Rick Perry designated the issue as an emergency item for the Texas Legislature on Jan. 11, chances for speedy approval of the legislation were greatly enhanced.  In the 2009 Legislature, the eminent domain reform bill—Senate Bill 18—had cleared the Senate and was awaiting House action, where near unanimous support was expected. Instead, the controversy over voter ID bogged down the House and eminent domain reform joined other important bills that did not get a vote. Similar issues, like the budget and redistricting, could have the same result this session.

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Does your GCD support your Texas private property right to groundwater?

Texas groundwater rights by Billy B. BrownBy Billy B. Brown

Most landowners have a strong belief that they have a Texas private property right to the groundwater beneath their land.  They believe that the Rule of Capture gives them a property right to drill a well and pump groundwater for their use.  Unfortunately, this belief is being challenged at the Texas Supreme Court and the halls of the State Capitol.

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