With Christmas upon us and the New Year around the corner, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the hustle and bustle surrounding this holiday season. Whether immersed in the pageantry and fanfare of the Christmas holiday, preoccupied with finalizing holiday preparations, or distracted by what’s going on in Washington, our focus can easily wander away from what Rev. Billy Graham describes as the heart of Christmas — Christ’s coming into the world so that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men.
As we prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas, I want to share with you a verse that has helped bring me peace and comfort in the weeks leading up to the holidays: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” — Isaiah 9:6.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of the recently released interim charges. . .
House Interim Charge: Land & Resource Management
The House Committee on Land and Resource Management has broad jurisdiction over matters ranging from the regulation of municipal utility districts to the power of eminent domain. The Committee also has purview over a number of state agencies, including the School Land Board, the Board for Lease of University Lands, and the General Land Office. Similar to other House Committees, this interim the Committee will monitor and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed during the 86th Legislative Session, and conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended outcome of all legislation.
Of particular interest to me and the folks I have the honor of representing is the issue of eminent domain. I was encouraged to see the Speaker included two interim charges related to landowner’s rights. The first charge asks members of the Land and Resource Management Committee to work with the Office of the Attorney General to identify any omitted information that could enhance the landowner’s understanding of the condemnation process and determine whether any other changes should be made to the Landowner’s Bill of Rights to make the document more transparent. The Speaker also charged the Committee with studying the eminent domain process and make recommendations on what should and should not constitute actual progress to ensure the right of property owners to repurchase property seized through eminent domain by a condemning entity.
The mobile office is back on the road in the month of January and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: 9-11 a.m. Jan. 15 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett, or 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton. 9-11 a.m. Jan. 22 at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.