About Proposition 11: Texas Constitutional Amendments

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This post is from Burnt Orange Report's coverage of the 2009 Constitutional Amendment election. For coverage of the 2011 Constitutional Amendment election, CLICK HERE.

Early voting is on for the Constitutional Amendments election. Yesterday and today, Burnt Orange Report is providing some information about the 11 propositions on the ballot. Our aim is to give a broad sense of how different Texas entities perceive these amendments. In the table below, we've compiled their yea, nay, or no-endorse. Sources are all linked at the bottom. Friday, BOR will issue our official endorsements on some or all of these amendments. For more on the Amendment process, see the post on Amendment 1.

Proposition 11: Restricting Use of Eminent Domain to Taking Property for Public Purposes

“This amendment would spell out the conditions under which private property could be taken by eminent domain. Specifically, the taken property must be owned, used, and enjoyed by the public at large, state or local government, or other agency granted the power of eminent domain by law. Taking private property for economic development or to enhance tax revenues would be prkhibited by the Texas Constitution, not simply by Texas law. … As of January 1, 2010, the power of eminent domain could be granted only by a two-thirds vote of the Texas Legislature.” –League of Women Voters Guide

Source: Endorsement:
Austin Chronicle: NO. “While in general we don't care for land seizures for private development, this is yet another poorly drafted attempt to amplify the current property-rightist wave of eminent domain hysteria and an invitation to endless court fights over rational public policy.”
El Paso Times: NO. “This proposition concerns eminent domain and the wording is much too broad. Eminent domain is a necessary governmental power, but it must not be used to victimize helpless property owners.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: YES. “Proposition 11 would require that any condemned property be held and used by a public entity for a legitimate public purpose. It also would restrict cities' ability to take and improve blighted property. Cities now can declare entire neighborhoods to be areas of blight; Proposition 11 would require that blight be proven on each individual property.”
Houston Tea Party Patriots: YES. “It would prohibit the government from taking property without a clearly stated purpose and would require the government to keep the property, not sell it to another buyer  who might pay higher taxes.”
Sen. Kirk Watson's “Watson Wire:” YES. “It also would make clear that while some jurisdictions could still condemn land for “public use,” that term wouldn't apply to an economic development project.”

This is the last of our 11 posts on these amendments. We welcome your thoughts on these issues. Endorsements by the Burnt Orange Report staff will follow on Friday.


League of Women Voters Guide (PDF)

Austin Chronicle Endorsements, October 16, 2009

El Paso Times, October 18, 2009

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Endorsements, October 16, 2009

Houston Tea Party Patriots, October 15, 2009

Sen. Kirk Watson's Watson Wire, October 12, 2009


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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