Thursday, April 12, 2007

Senate approves eminent domain amendment

Around the Chamber


San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2007

House gives final OK on toll moratorium

A two-year moratorium on private toll roads won final passage in the House on Wednesday by a 137-2 vote.

The measure would temporarily put the brakes on the Trans-Texas Corridor superhighway, a long-term project. The moratorium also would halt seven near-term projects in the state.

Governor endorses border spending plan

Gov. Rick Perry voiced his support for House Bill 13, by Rep. David Swinford, R-Amarillo, a border security and immigration-related proposal scheduled for a House committee hearing Friday.

Perry said he backs Swinford's efforts to dedicate $100 million to border security, something the governor had been seeking since last year.

Perry also said he opposes establishing "sanctuary cities," where law enforcement officers cannot ask about the immigration status of someone stopped for a possible violation of the law.

Eminent domain measure advances

The Senate unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Legislature before eminent domain could be granted.

Bills dealing with eminent domain often end up on the local and uncontested calendars of the House and Senate, meaning they are not debated and there is no recorded vote.

Republican Sen. Robert Duncan, the resolution's sponsor, said the change would help lawmakers and the public better track the many eminent domain requests that come through the Legislature each session.

If the measure is passed by the House, it will be on the November ballot and must be approved by voters.

Shield law moves to full Senate

Journalists would be protected from being forced to testify or disclose confidential sources under a measure approved Wednesday in a Senate committee.

The shield law, approved by a 4-0 vote of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, next can be considered by the full chamber.

Under current law, a journalist who has promised confidentiality to a source and refuses to reveal the identity of that person in court could face jail time for contempt.

The legislation sets out specific tests a judge would use to determine whether a journalist's information is essential as evidence.

From Express-News and wire reports

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