Sen. Perry’s SB862: Betraying property owners?

NOTE FROM PRATT ON TEXAS: Sen. Perry says the purpose of SB862 is the opposite (the right thing) from what is detailed in this piece from Rural/Urban Resources. However, as I read the plain language of the bill it does appear to allow the districts to recover legal costs from a plaintiff should the district prevail in court. I think the bill language needs repair. – Pratt.

by Rural/Urban Resources

Senator Charles Perry’s Senate Bill 862 is a disaster in waiting for landowners in a water district.

image: Charles Perry

Sen. Charles Perry

And in Texas, every landowner is in a “water” district of some kind:  Groundwater Management Areas and Water Planning Regions are also governmental units that are water districts, and they cover the entire 168-million acres inside our state lines.

This legislation is directly aimed at all landowners and, if approved, it will be extended, just as night follows day, to give the same favorable, unequal, advantageous standings to all state governmental units and administrative agencies. It is an insidious manipulation of law.  It has the intent to reduce and eliminate a citizen’s free right to protest against the wrong action or use of power by government against the individual.

Perry’s bill will require the losing parties in a lawsuit against a water district to be responsible for the associated costs in that legal proceeding. 

But water districts and other governmental units have no risks associated with costs.  Governmental units are funded from the pockets of taxpayers, including the pockets of the landowner, so their costs are not a concern – it’s not their money!

So, regardless of what Perry and other claim, Senate Bill 862 assigns all potential cost risk to the landowner and the taxpayer.

Senator Perry and the other lawmakers understand the full intent of this bill all too well. Especially, as lawmakers have previously given water districts and other government units the power to increase taxes, now up to 4-percent, without approval by the taxpayers they’re taking the money from…  (Think what 4% added to the annual budget of a water district or a school district can become over a ten year period. And don’t forget, that over that 10-years, the full percentage is compounded (4-percent added to each previous 4-percent). All-in-all, a neat way to increase tax revenue without permission of or by the taxpayers.)

A landowner facing a ruling or action by a water district, and knowing that they could be responsible for paying the costs associated with a legal proceeding if they are not the prevailing party, will be fearful of even entering a formal legal protest.

SB 862 creates an unequal playing field; it isn’t one private citizen against another private citizens or private entity. It’s the individual against the state.

SB 862 creates an unequal playing field; it isn’t one private citizen against another private citizens or private entity. It’s the individual against the state. Each individual is forced to be Sisyphus, the absurd hero, whose penalty is pushing the giant boulder up the hill from which it continuously falls by its own weight; thereby his whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing.

Any citizen, with any common sense at all, knowing they could be responsible for paying the costs associated with a legal proceeding against a powerful government agency, if they are not the prevailing party, will hesitate to seek justice by pushing a heavy load up a high hill. Perry and his lawmaking friends, know this … and creating a law with the intent to seek unequal treatment is sneaky and devious, and it is dishonest and irresponsible behavior!

Perry and other lawmakers who pass laws to allow government agencies to arbitrarily use fear as a motivating force against the individuals they govern evidently are not believers in or supporters of limited government and individual freedom. Nor, are they Constitutional conservatives, advocating vigilance against government. Instead, they seem to have succumbed to the socialist belief that government can do no wrong –  and if it does, try and make the citizens pay for it!

Evidently, they think that to protest against government wrong-doing is not “a public benefit” or part of “the common good.”

Indefensible actions against some government regulation is a dangerous slope to be on.

Perhaps, hopefully, Senator Perry’s district constituents can see that he enjoys a detrimental outcome to future public office.

And the hope extends to voters in other districts providing a similar detrimental outcome to future public office for lawmakers who vote for SB 862.

If this bill passes, all property owners in Texas will be betrayed by their elected state legislative representative, as a bill to include protection for all government units and agencies will be next. Once the nose is in the tent, the camel soon follows.


  1. Have you talked to Charles about this? Sounds like from your writeup that an amendment to remove the homeowner from potential liability would be the solution?

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