Perry Signs Property Rights Bill Into Law

10-25-05 - Gov. Rick Perry signed the eminent domain bill into law in Waco, saying the legislation will "close a door the Supreme Court jarred open."

Perry had officially signed the law Sept. 1, but had to postpone the ceremonial signing in Waco because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Texas was one of at least 31 states to review eminent domain laws following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that backed governments' power to take private land for economic development as a way to increase tax revenue.

"We believe government should not encroach upon the private property rights unless there is an eminent public need," Perry said Monday at the Waco Association of Realtors office. "Eminent domain for public use is a necessary power. Eminent domain for private use is a great threat."

The Texas Association of Realtors, who endorsed Perry's 2006 campaign last month, made the bill one of its top priorities this year.

Perry added the eminent domain issue to the agenda of the two summer special sessions on school finance. It was approved by the House and Senate and sent to the governor for his consideration in August.

"There is a new law in place that ensures a developer's dream for a new strip mall or a new skyscraper does not take precedence over your dream of owning your own home," Perry said.

Perry said he chose Waco for the ceremonial signing, in part, because, "I haven't been to Waco in a while."

Republican Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who is running against Perry for re-election in 2006, has called the bill "filled with loopholes" and accused Perry of grandstanding.