Thursday, July 07, 2005

"We believe this is a gross misinterpretation of the intent of our founding fathers."

Farm Bureau Seeking Takings Amendment


Livestock Weekly
Copyright 2005

WACO — The Texas Farm Bureau is calling for an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would clearly define “public use,” as it pertains to the taking of private property.

A recent decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court spurred the organization’s action. In a June 29 letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry, TFB president Kenneth Dierschke requested that Perry add the proposed amendment to the agenda during the first called special session of the 79th Texas Legislature.

“Private property rights were dealt a devastating blow by the United States Supreme Court on June 23rd,” the letter said. “The Court ruled that eminent domain used for private business development is a legal use of condemnation authority.

“The Texas Farm Bureau completely disagrees with the court’s opinion. Under their definition of public use, land can now be condemned any time a governmental entity can show that a positive economic benefit will result from the condemnation. We believe this is a gross misinterpretation of the intent of our founding fathers.

“The entire purpose of allowing eminent domain for only a ‘public use’ was to place limitations on this power. The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on Kelo v. New London has now removed any meaningful limit on this awesome power to take someone’s property.”

The agenda of the special session is under the sole control of the governor. Only items placed on the call of the special session by the Governor of Texas can be considered by the legislature.

“We believe this issue is of the urgency and importance to warrant immediate action by the legislature to protect private property rights across Texas,” said Dierschke, adding that the constitutional amendment should be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

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