Texas lawmakers push to protect property owners from eminent domain

Texas Governor Rick Perry is preparing for a fight over private property rights.

He, a group of lawmakers and property rights advocates gathered in Austin, this week, to push for an amendment to the Texas constitution, to further protect landowners from eminent domain.

In 2005, the state passed legislation that protects landowners from having their land taken for economic development or private purposes. Governor Perry says the law needs to be strengthened.

"Government shouldn't use eminent domain to take someone's land without making a fair offer for that property," said Perry. "It is wrong for any government to make a lowball offer, and then respond to an owners righteous indignation and refusal by taking their land. The government owes landowners a genuine good faith negotiation not a land grab."

Governor Perry's leading republican rival, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, has said protection of private property rights is a top issue for the State of Texas. She is expected to challenge Perry in 2010.