Friday, April 3, 2009

How will eminent domain play into the Rick vs. Kay race?

One of Rick's biggest weaknesses with the conservative base is his now defunct Trans Texas Corridor. While the TTC attracted opposition from environmentalists, anti privatization forces, and other groups on the left, it also drew opposition from property rights advocates and some farmers and ranchers on the right. Sort of ironic, considering Rick was a rancher and started out his statewide political career as the Texas Ag Commissioner.

The Farm Bureau has been skeptical of Rick for a while now, and it looks like they are still mildly skeptical (link). Excerpts:
Waco, TX April 03, 2009 - “The clock’s winding down. The pressure is on to get a bill out as quickly as possible so the legislature has time to override a possible veto by Governor Perry,” Beck said.

Last session, Gov. Rick Perry raised the ire of groups supporting Texas eminent domain reform when he vetoed HB 2006 which was overwhelming passed by both the House and Senate. HB 2006 would have given Texas one of the strongest “takings” laws in terms of private property rights and proper compensation.
From what intelligence I have gathered in the past couple of years, Rick vetoed the eminent domain reform in 2006 because an 11th hour amendment was slipped into it that was problematic for some of his allies. For example, Texans for Lawsuit Reform felt that it would open up the floodgates for trial lawyers to sue. Whether that is true or not, I am not sure, but that's the story I hear from the Rick crowd.

This time around, Rick brought Suzette Kelo down to Texas (link), from the infamous Kelo Supreme Court decision, to make a point about needing eminent domain reform. He seems to have his mind set on signing SOMETHING this time around.

Three issues...
1. Will Rick's legislative staff be more on the ball this year to make sure the language in the eminent domain reform is acceptable?
2. If so, will Rick signing into law new property rights protections be too little too late, or will it appease the Farm Bureau?
3. Can Kay credibly offer herself as an alternative to the Farm Bureau crowd? They have a lot of members, and a lot of people with money, and they also have a lot of influence in rural communities of Texas. Their endorsement might send a signal.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.