transparency

Eminent Domain

In 2015, the 84th Legislature passed Senate Bill 1812 (SB 1812), a transparency bill that mandates the Comptroller of Public Accounts to create an online eminent domain database. SB 1812, Government Code, Section 2206.151-157, requires public and private entities with eminent domain authority to report specific information to the Comptroller for posting.

Online Database

As required by Government Code, Chapter 2206, Subchapter D, the Comptroller's office has posted an online database containing entities' eminent domain information. Learn more about the Eminent Domain Database Law and the Comptroller's Online Eminent Domain Database (COEDD).

Who must report eminent domain information?

The Eminent Domain Database Law requires public and private entities, including common carriers, authorized by the State under a general or special law to exercise the power of eminent domain to report specified information to the Comptroller. Entities with eminent domain powers must determine whether they are required to report information to the Comptroller.

How will COEDD work?

The Comptroller will maintain an accessible online Eminent Domain Database of submitted information. Reports must be submitted in the form and manner prescribed by the Comptroller. The Comptroller has developed an electronic reporting form to enable entities or their third-party representatives to submit the required information. Once received, the Comptroller will review and post these reports to the online database.

What information is in COEDD?

Submitting entities or third parties on their behalf have reported all information in the database. The Comptroller's office has not independently verified the information and, by including it in the database, does not warrant that the information is accurate. Information submitted for the database may be submitted at different times and is subject to change. Both the list of entities with eminent domain powers and the information presented for them will present information as submitted by the entities.

Does COEDD include all Texas eminent domain information?

The database includes information only from entities that have reported. The database may not include some entities authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain in Texas, because their powers were granted by the Texas Constitution, federal law, or home rule charter or because they failed to submit a report to the Comptroller. Conversely, the database may include entities that do not have eminent domain powers, because the powers were not granted, were granted by an unconstitutional act, or have lapsed or been forfeited.

When must an Entity submit its eminent domain information?

Entities will use the Comptroller's reporting form to submit an updated report to the Comptroller's office by February 1 of each year. A newly created entity (or an entity that is newly granted eminent domain powers by Texas) is not required to report information until 180 days after it receives its powers.

When must an Entity report any changes to its reported eminent domain information?

Reporting entities have up to 90 days to report changes in previously submitted information. Changes that have been submitted will be reviewed by the Comptroller and posted to the database.

What level of detail is in COEDD?

Entities are not required to report, and the database does not fully specify, the areas, purposes, and conditions in, for, and under which their eminent domain powers may be exercised. The law requires entities to report each provision of law that grants them eminent domain authority and the scope of that authority, but it does not limit entities’ eminent domain authority if they make mistakes or omissions.

Does inclusion of an Entity's eminent domain information in COEDD verify compliance?

The inclusion of an entity's information in the database confirms that the Comptroller received the submitted information, but does not verify the entity's compliance with the terms of the Eminent Domain Database Law.

Is there a penalty for noncompliance?

The submission, failure to submit, or late submission of eminent domain information by an entity under the Eminent Domain Database Law does not affect the entity's authority to exercise the power of eminent domain. If an entity does not timely report required information and does not cure its failure after notice from the Comptroller, it may be subject to a maximum penalty of $2,000 and listed as a noncompliant entity. The Comptroller has no means to determine if an entity should report information or if reported information has changed.

What is the difference between SB 18 and SB 1812?

Senate Bill 18, passed in 2011, required public and private entities granted eminent domain powers in Texas to submit a letter identifying their eminent domain authority to the Comptroller's office by certified mail, return receipt requested, on or before December 31, 2012. The Eminent Domain Database Law, passed in 2015, provides for a new eminent domain database, separate and apart from the information reported by letter to the Comptroller under SB 18. Each law is a separate act that stands on its own.