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Texas Proposition 7 (2007)

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Texas Proposition 7 appeared on the November 6, 2007 in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

Proposition 7 would allow governmental entities to sell property acquired through eminent domain back to the previous owners at the price the entities paid to acquire the property.

Proposition 7 appeared on the statewide November 2007 ballot in Texas along with fifteen other statewide propositions; all of them passed. All sixteen ballot measures were legislative referrals voted onto the ballot by the Texas State Legislature.

Election results

Texas Proposition 7 (2007)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 867,973 80.3%
No212,55519.7%

Overview

Currently, under the Texas "taking clause" any time the government uses eminent domain it must give the overs "fair market price" compensation. Under Proposition 7 if the land was taken under eminent domain but the plans were canceled, no progress was made or it became unnecessary for public use then the original owners should be allowed to buy it back at the price paid by the government in aquiring the land.

Statement of Support

Supporters believe that this is an incentive for the government to use eminent domain as a last resort. They believe it would also act as a "damage payment" to compensate for the those that went through eminent domain.

Newspapers

Dallas Morning News

  • " We support this amendment because it allows governments to sell property back to the original owners at the price paid for the land."[1]

The Austin Chronicle

  • "This "allows" but does not mandate such sales, and the number of such occasions is small. A reasonable check on unnecessary condemnation."[2]

Montgomery Courier[3]
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • "In an exchange forced on one party, if the merchandise is not "used" by the buyer, the merchandise should revert to the (unwilling) seller, and the original purchase money should revert to the buyer."[4]

Other Support

Statement of Opposition

Opponents believe that this proposition acts as a "double recovery" for repurchasing the land at less than current market value. Also, once individuals have been compensated for land through eminent domain, they forfeit their rights to the property.

A Taxpayer's Perspective

Proposition 7 would permit localities to sell property seized under eminent domain back to the original owner for the amount the owner was first compensated.

Text of measure

The short ballot summary voters saw on their ballot read: "The constitutional amendment to allow governmental entities to sell property acquired through eminent domain back to the previous owners at the price the entities paid to acquire the property."[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

As laid out in Article 17 of the Texas Constitution, in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot, the Texas State Legislature must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate. The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.

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