Legislation passed in 2003 prevented governmental entities, particularly county sheriffs who had seizure funds, from compensating property owners for damages that occurred on their properties as a result of law enforcement actions. STPRA has sought to remedy this situation, allowing property owners to be fairly compensated in these instances.
First Attempt at New Legislation
In the 2009 legislative session, State Representative Yvonne Gonzalez
Toureilles authored a bill to allow compensation for property owners.
The bill, which was passed into law, states that, “A county law
enforcement agency may use funds received from the sale of a motor
vehicle abandoned as a result of a vehicular pursuit involving the law
enforcement agency… to compensate property owners whose property was
damaged as a result of the pursuit.” The bill also states that
compensation may not exceed:
Additional Legislation and Future Action
STPRA was instrumental in passing House Bill (HB) 3422 (the landowner
compensation bill) last legislative session. HB 3422 amended the
Transportation Code to broaden allowable compensation to property owners
for damages by any law enforcement agency. The agencies are now
permitted to use
STPRA will monitor the implementation of H.B. 1931 to see if any future tweaking will be necessary to ensure its benefits to landowners. We will also investigate the possible use of federal government subsidized landowner insurance to compensate landowners in areas where damages occur.
On behalf of STPRA, Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Michael McCaul have written a joint letter requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a review of federal government efforts to identify and address property damage to private lands and infrastructure that occurs along the United States Mexico border, as a result of illegal immigration and contraband smuggling.