Rep. Joe Deshotel

Rep. Dewayne Burns

On a nearly unanimous vote (144-1), HB 2730 by Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont) and Rep. Dewayne Burns (R-Cleburne) has advanced to third readingin the House. Final approval is expected tomorrow, sending the bill to the Texas Senate. HB 2730 represents six years of intensive discussions between landowner groups and the public and private entities with the power of eminent domain. The near consensus in the House on the reforms made by the bill marks a significant victory for good faith negotiation and constructive compromise on an important public policy concern. It is important to note that the Coalition for Critical Infrastructure (CCI), established under the aegis of TCJL at the outset of the 2017 session, not only brought together the entire critical infrastructure community under one banner, but this session proposed a comprehensive reform package, based on concerns raised by landowner groups over the past three sessions, embodied by HB 2730. Lisa Kaufman, TCJL’s General Counsel, acted as CCI’s lead negotiator, working with Chairman Burns, landowner groups, and CCI members to reach an agreement that earned the support of House members on all sides of the issue. In his layout of HB 2730, Chairman Deshotel paid specific tribute to Lisa, as well as to TXOGA President Todd Staples, for their tireless work to hold the deal together. This result could not have been possible without a concerted effort of all CCI and TCJL members, and we cannot thank you enough for staying with us for so long. HB 2730 must now navigate the process in the Senate, but with an overwhelming vote of confidence from the House, the bill has a lot of momentum and good will behind it.

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