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Farm Bureau calls for eminent domain reform

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SUE TURNER
Special to the Ellis County Press
ARLINGTON - Nearly 1,000 voices spoke as one for added protections in the Farm Bureau policy to deal with threats to private property over eminent domain proceedings during the 73rd annual Texas Farm Bureau convention.

Representing more than 350,000 members the 968 voting delegates unanimously voted on approving state policy and recommending national policy strengthening landowner's options when confronted with eminent domain proceedings.

Ellis County had 12 voting members attending the convention.

The adopted state policy would require agencies using eminent domain as a way to acquire land to make a good faith offer and residents should be provided enough time to relocate if losing their land to eminent domain.

'They suggested the condemning authority should pay attorney fees, appraisal fees and related costs whenever the offer is challenged and the amount awarded exceeds the initial offer,' Gene L. Hall, Texas Farm Bureau public relations director.

Delegates recommended the federal government consider what type of agencies and how many have the power to use eminent domain.

'We encouraged the legislature to consider limiting the number of entities with these powers,' delegates stated in a press release.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson said she felt the Trans-Texas corridor was not a feasible plan for Texas and the state needs to go back to the drawing board.

'Improvements are needed which could possibly be obtained by taking advantage of the present right-of-ways,' Hutch-inson said.

'It is in the hands of the state Legislature to resolve the situation.' She said she is opposed to toll roads for federal highways. As Sen. Hutchinson promised the government would support Texas' farmers and ranchers.

'We will be there for you.'

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