Bill Text: TX HB991 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Republican 35-4)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-26 - Left pending in committee [HB991 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB991-Introduced.html
  86R8097 BEE-F
 
  By: Burns H.B. No. 991
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with
  eminent domain authority.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 21.0113, Property Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (c) and (d) to read as follows:
         (c)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), a private entity as
  defined by Section 21.031 has made a bona fide offer only if the
  entity:
               (1)  satisfies the requirements of Subsection (b);
               (2)  includes in the initial offer:
                     (A)  a copy of the provisions of Section 21.0471;
                     (B)  a statement of the compensation being offered
  for:
                           (i)  the value of the property the entity
  seeks to acquire; and
                           (ii)  the damage and loss of value to the
  remaining property, if applicable; and
                     (C)  notice that the property owner will also
  receive a final offer accompanied by an appraisal; and
               (3)  includes, in the initial offer and in any
  subsequent offer, a certification by the entity that the offer is in
  an amount that will not require the entity to make a payment for a
  low initial offer under Section 21.0471.
         (d)  Notwithstanding Subsections (b) and (c), a private
  entity subject to Subchapter B-1 has made a bona fide offer only if
  the entity:
               (1)  satisfies the requirements of Subsections (b) and
  (c);
               (2)  includes in the initial offer a copy of the notice
  of public meeting required by Section 21.036; and
               (3)  participates in the public meeting in the manner
  prescribed by Section 21.038.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter B, Chapter 21, Property Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 21.0114 and 21.0115 to read as follows:
         Sec. 21.0114.  REQUIRED TERMS FOR INSTRUMENTS OF CONVEYANCE
  BY CERTAIN PRIVATE ENTITIES.  (a) Except as provided by Subsection
  (b), the deed, easement, or other instrument provided to a property
  owner by a private entity, as defined by Section 21.031, must
  include the following terms, as applicable:
               (1)  if the instrument conveys a pipeline right-of-way
  easement:
                     (A)  the maximum number of pipelines that may be
  installed in the easement;
                     (B)  the maximum diameter, excluding any
  protective coating or wrapping, of each pipeline to be installed in
  the easement;
                     (C)  the type or category of each substance to be
  transported through the pipelines to be installed in the easement;
                     (D)  a general description of any use of the
  surface of the easement the entity intends to acquire;
                     (E)  a metes and bounds or centerline description
  of the location of the easement, plat, or other legally sufficient
  description of the location of the easement;
                     (F)  the maximum width of the easement;
                     (G)  the minimum depth at which the pipeline will
  initially be installed;
                     (H)  whether the double-ditch method will be used
  for installation of the pipeline in areas that are not
  bore-drilled;
                     (I)  a prohibition against the transfer of the
  property without:
                           (i)  written notice to the property owner;
  or
                           (ii)  the express written consent of the
  property owner if the transferee, including a transferee that is an
  affiliate or subsidiary of or entity related to the private entity,
  does not have eminent domain authority;
                     (J)  whether the entity has exclusive,
  nonexclusive, or otherwise limited rights to the easement;
                     (K)  a provision limiting access to the easement
  area by a third party for a purpose that is not related to the
  pipeline's construction, safety, maintenance, or operation
  activities;
                     (L)  a provision regarding the right to recover
  actual monetary damages arising from construction, maintenance,
  repair, replacement, or future removal of the pipeline in the
  easement, including any actual monetary damages to growing crops or
  livestock, or a statement that the offer includes such future
  damages;
                     (M)  a provision regarding the property owner's
  right to negotiate to recover damages for:
                           (i)  tree loss;
                           (ii)  income loss from interference with
  hunting or recreational activities; or
                           (iii)  income loss from disruption of
  agricultural production;
                     (N)  a provision regarding the use and repair of
  any gates and fences;
                     (O)  a provision regarding the entity's
  obligation to maintain the easement, including leveling of the
  easement area;
                     (P)  a provision regarding the repair and
  restoration of areas used or damaged outside the easement area to
  their original condition or better, to the extent reasonably
  practicable, or the payment of actual monetary damages for areas
  not restored; and
                     (Q)  the manner in which the entity will access
  the easement;
               (2)  if the instrument conveys an electrical
  transmission right-of-way easement:
                     (A)  a general description of any use of the
  surface of the easement the entity intends to acquire;
                     (B)  a depiction identifying the approximate
  location of the easement on the property;
                     (C)  a metes and bounds or centerline description
  of the location of the easement, plat, or other legally sufficient
  description of the location of the easement;
                     (D)  the maximum width of the easement;
                     (E)  the manner in which the entity will access
  the easement;
                     (F)  a provision limiting access to the easement
  area by a third party for a purpose that is not related to the
  transmission line's construction, safety, maintenance, or
  operation activities;
                     (G)  a provision regarding the right to recover
  actual monetary damages arising from construction, maintenance,
  repair, replacement, or future removal of lines and support
  facilities in the easement or a statement that the offer includes
  such future damages;
                     (H)  a provision regarding the property owner's
  right to negotiate to recover damages for:
                           (i)  tree loss;
                           (ii)  income loss from interference with
  hunting or recreational activities; or
                           (iii)  income loss from disruption of
  agricultural production;
                     (I)  a provision regarding the use and repair of
  any gates and fences;
                     (J)  a provision regarding the entity's
  obligation to maintain the easement;
                     (K)  a provision regarding the repair and
  restoration of areas used or damaged outside the easement area to
  their original condition or better, to the extent reasonably
  practicable, or the payment of actual monetary damages for areas
  not restored;
                     (L)  whether the entity has exclusive,
  nonexclusive, or otherwise limited rights to the right-of-way; and
                     (M)  a prohibition against the transfer of the
  property without:
                           (i)  written notice to the property owner;
  or
                           (ii)  the express written consent of the
  property owner if the transferee, including a transferee that is an
  affiliate or subsidiary of or entity related to the private entity,
  does not have eminent domain authority;
               (3)  a prohibition against any use of the property
  being conveyed, other than a use stated in the deed, easement, or
  other instrument, without the express written consent of the
  property owner;
               (4)  a covenant that the entity will keep in effect at
  all times while the entity uses the condemned property, including
  during construction and operations on the easement, a policy or
  policies of liability insurance:
                     (A)  issued by an insurer authorized to issue such
  policies in this state; and
                     (B)  insuring the property owner against
  liability for personal injuries and property damage sustained by
  any person that arises from or is related to the use of the easement
  property by the entity or the entity's agents or contractors; and
               (5)  a statement that the terms of the deed, easement,
  or other instrument will bind the successors and assigns of the
  parties to the instrument.
         (b)  The private entity, as defined by Section 21.031, may
  present and include terms in addition to the terms required under
  Subsection (a).  The property owner and the entity may consider and
  agree to the additional terms, including rights and uses that may
  not be the subject of a later condemnation proceeding, if so stated
  in the instrument. A property owner may negotiate a deed, easement,
  or other instrument that does not include all of the terms required
  under Subsection (a).
         (c)  The attorney general shall prepare and make generally
  available a standard form that contains the terms required by
  Subsection (a).
         (d)  The attorney general may:
               (1)  bring an action in the name of the state to enjoin
  a violation of this section; and
               (2)  recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs
  incurred in bringing an action under this subsection.
         Sec. 21.0115.  COMMUNICATION BY CERTAIN PRIVATE ENTITIES.
  (a) A private entity, as defined by Section 21.031, that wants to
  acquire real property for a public use may not, without first
  attempting to include the owner of the real property, engage in ex
  parte communication with:
               (1)  a court that has jurisdiction of a condemnation
  proceeding involving the property; or
               (2)  a special commissioner appointed in the
  condemnation proceeding.
         (b)  A private entity shall provide written notice to a
  property owner of any communication between the entity and a court
  or special commissioner described by Subsection (a) for which the
  property owner is not present.
         (c)  For the purposes of this section, "private entity"
  includes:
               (1)  the entity's attorney; and
               (2)  any third-party contractor of the entity,
  including a right-of-way agent.
         SECTION 3.  Section 21.012, Property Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  In addition to the contents prescribed by Subsection
  (b), a petition filed by a private entity as defined by Section
  21.031 must state the terms to be included in the instrument of
  conveyance under Section 21.0114 using the form prepared by the
  attorney general under Section 21.0114(c).
         SECTION 4.  Chapter 21, Property Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter B-1 to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER B-1. ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY BY CERTAIN PRIVATE
  ENTITIES
         Sec. 21.031.  DEFINITION. In this subchapter, "private
  entity" includes:
               (1)  a corporation, including a corporation organized
  under Chapter 67, Water Code, authorized to exercise the power of
  eminent domain to acquire private property for public use; and
               (2)  any affiliate or subsidiary of or entity related
  to the corporation.
         Sec. 21.032.  APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter
  applies only to a private entity that wants to acquire for the same
  public use one or more tracts or parcels of real property:
               (1)  located entirely in one county; and
               (2)  owned by at least four property owners.
         Sec. 21.033.  NOTICE OF INTENT. (a) Not later than the 45th
  day before the date a private entity makes an initial offer to
  acquire real property under this chapter, the entity must send a
  written notice of intent to a court that would have jurisdiction of
  a condemnation proceeding involving the property.
         (b)  A notice sent under Subsection (a) must:
               (1)  state the private entity's intent to acquire real
  property for public use;
               (2)  specify the public use;
               (3)  identify the real property the entity intends to
  acquire and the owners of the property; and
               (4)  disclose the date by which the entity will make the
  initial offer.
         Sec. 21.034.  PUBLIC MEETING. (a) Not later than the 30th
  day after the date a court receives a notice of intent required by
  Section 21.033, the court shall select the date on which a public
  meeting regarding the proposed acquisition will be held. The court
  shall facilitate the meeting.
         (b)  The meeting described by Subsection (a):
               (1)  must take place in a public location appropriate
  to the size and nature of the meeting in the county in which the real
  property is located; and
               (2)  may not take place earlier than the 14th day after
  the date a private entity makes an initial offer to a property owner
  identified in the notice of intent under Section 21.033.
         Sec. 21.035.  NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING. (a) As soon as is
  practicable after a court selects a date for a public meeting under
  Section 21.034, the court shall:
               (1)  give notice of the meeting to the private entity
  that sent the notice of intent under Section 21.033;
               (2)  publish notice of the public meeting on the
  county's Internet website; and
               (3)  publish notice of the public meeting in a
  newspaper of general circulation in the county.
         (b)  A notice of public meeting under this section must
  include the date, time, and location of the meeting. 
         Sec. 21.036.  NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING IN INITIAL OFFER. A
  private entity that gives a notice of intent under Section 21.033
  must include with the entity's initial offer notice of the public
  meeting to be held under Section 21.034, including the date, time,
  and location of the meeting.
         Sec. 21.037.  PARTICIPATION BY PRIVATE ENTITY REQUIRED. A
  representative of the private entity that gives a notice of intent
  under Section 21.033 shall:
               (1)  attend the public meeting; and
               (2)  participate in the public meeting in the manner
  prescribed by Section 21.038.
         Sec. 21.038.  PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA. At a public meeting
  scheduled under Section 21.034:
               (1)  the court shall present the information contained
  in the landowner's bill of rights statement required to be provided
  to a property owner under Section 21.0112;
               (2)  the private entity shall present:
                     (A)  a description of the public use for which the
  entity wants to acquire the real property, including technical
  details;
                     (B)  if applicable, a statement of the terms
  required under Section 21.0114 to be included in a deed, easement,
  or other instrument provided by the entity to the property owner;
                     (C)  the method and factors used by the entity to
  calculate the entity's initial offer, including:
                           (i)  how damages to remaining property were
  evaluated; and
                           (ii)  if the entity used a property
  appraisal or market value study, the name of the person that
  performed the appraisal or study;
                     (D)  the entity's justification for the proposed
  public use, including any materials used by the entity to obtain a
  determination that the project is a public use;
                     (E)  the legal and factual basis for the entity's
  exercise of its eminent domain authority; 
                     (F)  the name and contact information of any
  third-party contractor to be used by the entity to acquire the land
  or undertake the project; and
                     (G)  a description of any regulatory process
  required for approval of the project, including any evaluation of
  the project's necessity, and information about how a property owner
  may participate in the process; and
               (3)  the property owners identified by the private
  entity under Section 21.033, the public, and public officials must
  be given an opportunity to ask questions and make comments
  regarding:
                     (A)  the rights of the property owners;
                     (B)  the proposed public use; and
                     (C)  terms required under Section 21.0114 to be
  included in a deed, easement, or other instrument provided by the
  entity to a property owner.
         Sec. 21.039.  CONTACT AFTER PUBLIC MEETING. A private
  entity may not contact a property owner to whom the entity has made
  an initial offer before the seventh day after the date of the public
  meeting held under Section 21.034.
         Sec. 21.0391.  CERTIFICATION OF ENTITY PARTICIPATION IN
  PUBLIC MEETING REQUIRED. (a) After a private entity participates
  in a meeting held under Section 21.034, the entity shall submit
  evidence documenting its participation to the court that
  facilitated the meeting. The court shall review the evidence
  submitted by the entity and, if the court determines that the entity
  has satisfied the requirements of this subchapter, shall certify
  that the entity has satisfied the requirements of this subchapter.
         (b)  A private entity may not acquire property to which this
  subchapter applies unless the entity receives the certification
  under Subsection (a) with respect to the property.
         Sec. 21.0392.  PUBLICATION AND PROVISION OF CERTAIN
  MATERIALS. A private entity shall:
               (1)  publish on an Internet website any materials
  presented under Section 21.038(2)(D); and
               (2)  provide to property owners identified by the
  entity under Section 21.033 any materials presented under Section
  21.038(2)(D).
         Sec. 21.0393.  PROPERTY OWNER CHALLENGE OF EMINENT DOMAIN
  AUTHORITY. (a) A property owner identified by a private entity
  under Section 21.033 may challenge the eminent domain authority of
  the entity in the court that provided the certification under
  Section 21.0391.
         (b)  A challenge under Subsection (a) must be filed not later
  than the 30th day after the date of the public meeting held under
  Section 21.038.
         Sec. 21.0394.  INJUNCTION. (a) The attorney general may
  bring an action in the name of the state to enjoin a violation of
  this subchapter.
         (b)  The attorney general may recover reasonable attorney's
  fees and costs incurred in bringing an action under this section.
         SECTION 5.  Section 21.042, Property Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (d) and adding Subsections (d-1) and (d-2) to
  read as follows:
         (d)  In estimating injury or benefit under Subsection (c),
  the special commissioners shall consider an injury or benefit that
  is peculiar to the property owner and that relates to the property
  owner's ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of
  real property, including:
               (1)  an injury or benefit to the remaining property as a
  result of:
                     (A)  the characteristics of any infrastructure on
  the condemned property, including the size or visibility of the
  infrastructure or the pressure or voltage range provided by the
  infrastructure;
                     (B)  any limitation of future expansion on the
  remaining property; and
                     (C)  a provision in an easement acquired in
  connection with, or the alignment of an easement in connection
  with, the condemnation; and
               (2)  a material impairment of direct access on or off
  the remaining property that affects the market value of the
  remaining property.
         (d-1)  In estimating injury or benefit under Subsection (c),
  the special commissioners[, but they] may not consider an injury or
  benefit that the property owner experiences in common with the
  general community, including circuity of travel and diversion of
  traffic.
         (d-2)  In Subsection (d)(2) [this subsection], "direct
  access" means ingress and egress on or off a public road, street, or
  highway at a location where the remaining property adjoins that
  road, street, or highway.
         SECTION 6.  Subchapter C, Chapter 21, Property Code, is
  amended by adding Section 21.0471 to read as follows:
         Sec. 21.0471.  PAYMENT FOR LOW INITIAL OFFER BY PRIVATE
  ENTITY. (a) This section applies only to a condemnor that is a
  private entity as defined by Section 21.031.
         (b)  If the special commissioners award to the property owner
  damages in an amount that exceeds the amount of the condemnor's
  initial offer by:
               (1)  at least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, the
  condemnor shall pay to the property owner the damages awarded and an
  additional amount equal to 25 percent of the damages awarded;
               (2)  at least 50 percent but less than 100 percent, the
  condemnor shall pay to the property owner the damages awarded and an
  additional amount equal to 30 percent of the damages awarded; or
               (3)  100 percent or more, the condemnor shall pay to the
  property owner the damages awarded and an additional amount equal
  to 35 percent of the damages awarded.
         (c)  A property owner is entitled to an additional amount
  under Subsection (b) without regard to:
               (1)  whether the condemnor objects to the findings of
  the special commissioners or appeals the decision of a trial court
  in the condemnation proceeding; or
               (2)  the amount of damages ultimately awarded to the
  property owner by a court.
         SECTION 7.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  the acquisition of real property in connection with an initial
  offer made under Chapter 21, Property Code, on or after the
  effective date of this Act.  An acquisition of real property in
  connection with an initial offer made under Chapter 21, Property
  Code, before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law
  applicable to the acquisition immediately before the effective date
  of this Act, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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