AUSTIN, TX – On Monday Senator Bob Hall filed Senate Bill (SB) 14 to protect the private property rights of landowners from political subdivision rules, regulations, and ordinances that interfere with a private property owner’s right to plant, transplant, and remove, trees and vegetation from their own property.
This bill addresses an issue within the scope of the special session called by Governor Abbott last month. “It’s difficult to find a perfect solution to this issue,” remarked Sen. Hall. “Yet one thing remains clear – local government overreach in Texas has become a persistent and serious problem. It is my intent to ensure that the final version of this bill unequivocally upholds private property rights by prohibiting, in additional to the removal aspect, other heavy-handed local regulation of trees and vegetation on private property.”
The bill and its House companion, filed by Representative Paul Workman, would prohibit any city, municipality, or other political subdivision from restricting a private property owner’s right to remove a tree or plant from his or her property. There is an exception for “clear-cutting” live oak trees in unincorporated areas of a county.
“Government has a responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens,” said Governor Abbott in a statement released earlier. “Unfortunately, local governments throughout Texas are infringing on private property rights and prohibiting Texans from being able to do what they want with their own land. That is why I have added this item to my special session call, and I’m grateful to Sen. Hall and Rep. Workman for their efforts to end this regulatory overreach.”
The bill would also prohibit all Texas property owners associations (POAs) from including or enforcing any documents subjecting real property to restrictive covenants, bylaws, or similar instruments regarding tree removal on private property from the effective date of the bill going forward.
“Texas has always championed private property rights and eschewed government overreach,” concluded Sen. Hall. “SB 14 is about making sure that it stays that way for future generations.”