I love this guy more and more every day. He’s definitely in my Top Five Governors, along with Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, SC’s Mark Sanford, and IN’s Mitch Daniels:
SAN ANTONIO — Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill Monday that asks voters to amend the state constitution to limit the ability of government entities to take private property using their eminent domain authority.
So it’s NOT a “done deal”; the Texas electorate has to vote on it since it’s a Texas Constitutional Amendment.
In a ceremony in front of the Alamo, Perry said land ownership has long been essential to the state’s way of life. He noted that many fighters of the famed 1836 battle thought they’d be rewarded with land for their service to the Republic of Texas. “That commitment to land ownership in Texas remains pretty strong,” he said.
If approved in November, the constitutional amendment would prohibit government officials from taking property and giving it to a private developer to boost the tax base. The government has long been allowed to force landowners to sell for public purposes, like streets or water treatment facilities, but a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling gave governments to power to condemn property for redevelopment. Since that ruling, dozens of states have added protections against use of eminent domain for economic development projects.
The proposed amendment is far weaker than what advocates had hoped for. The Texas Farm Bureau has pushed for additional protections including compensation for lost access to property, the payment of fair market prices and the right to repurchase land taken for one purpose and used for another. “We need the full package and we would prefer sooner rather later,” said Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall, though he added that the bureau supports the amendment and will campaign for its passage.
The farm bureau and others have called on Perry to allow lawmakers to take up eminent domain again in an upcoming special session. Perry declined Monday to say whether he’ll include the issue in the special session, which hasn’t yet been scheduled. He did indicate, however, he’d like to see more done on eminent domain, an issue that’s likely to become campaign fodder in the Republican primary election next year.
“This bill represents good forward motion on the issue of eminent domain,” he said, calling the changes an “ongoing process.”
And here comes the obligatory campaign slam:
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has signaled she intends to challenge Perry in the 2010 Republican primary and has already said state government is ignoring property rights with plans to put toll roads around the state.
Hutchison has yet to officially declare her run for governor, but she and Perry are already trading barbs. She told The Dallas Morning News last week that if she were governor, a special session now needed to keep some state agencies running wouldn’t be necessary.
Perry on Monday said “anyone who has a whit of realism” would acknowledge the session was successful. “Anyone other than a stark political animal is going to say that was a very successful legislative session,” he said.
Ouch! Touche’, Kay. Gotcha there.
I’m going to be very interested to see if anybody campaigns against this come the Fall. You’d have to be one twisted SOB to find a reason to campaign against this . . . which means ACORN is probably working on it right now.
Hat Tip: Libertarian Republican