We are ever mindful of our meager intellectual resources when dealing with the doings of our betters. Like that Texas thing, for example. It seems that in 2007, reacting to the wretched U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, legislation was introduced in the Texas legislature to tighten the “blight” loophole in the redevelopment law, and to limit the public uses for which property may be taken by eminent domain to actual public uses.
All that sounds reasonable to us, and it evidently sounded reasonable to the Texas Legislature which passed this legislation by a vote of 225 to 25 in the State House of Representatives, and unanimously in the State Senate. But guess what? The Texas Governor vetoed that legislation.
So you’d think that His Governorship is opposed to eminent domain reform. Right? Well, not exactly. We now learn that he has called for a state constititional convention, no less, to close the loopholes in eminent domain law and to better protect property owners. Huh? Say what? We had trouble believing our eyes as we read these dispatches, but that’s what they say. With landowners already dealing with other crucial issues like increased property taxes (check this post to learn about that) and rising upkeep costs, this becomes one more hurdle for them to jump without having much in their favor. The same Governor who was opposed to eminent domain reform last year has been born again, and is for it now. Hmmm. Wonder why.
Our unsolicited advice to the Texans is: be careful. Be very careful. Out here in California, the league of cities also sponsored eminent domain “reform” in the form of a state constitutional amendment that was so weasel-worded that while seeming to ban the taking of family homes for private uses, it actually strengthened the government’s taking power. See our blog entitled California Proposition 99 Is as Phony as a Three-Dollar Bill, May 28, 2008.
We don’t know the details of what the Texas Governor has in mind, and we sure as shootin’ don’t know diddly about Texas politics. But just the same, we are very suspicious and we hope so are the folks in Texas.