Landowners fighting to keep their land

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Joe Penn loves this land and doesn't want to give it up. "Unless there is a good reason, I mean a real good reason for taking their land, then that shouldn't be allowed," said Penn.

Proposition 11 aims to protect Penn's rights as a landowner. The constitutional amendment would ban governments from taking Texans' property for private development.

"The right to own and use private property is one of the most sacred rights that we have and hold as Texans. The ability for government to abuse that right is one of the most frightening," said Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples.

Staples says this proposition can preserve and protect the heritage of Texas. This landowner says he thinks there are only rare cases where the government would be justified in purchasing the property, as long as someone else isn't profiting.

"There are some cases and I think there are very few where people would block progress," said Penn.

For Penn, it's about so much more than a piece of land.

"My great grandfather, here and the property next to us, this land's been passed on for years and years and it just would be terrible if we had to leave."

US senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says the proposition is only the beginning.

"I think now with this constitutional amendment, we'll take the first step toward having better protection for private property rights.  It's not everything, we still are going to have to have more legislation," said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Legislation that Penn hopes will keep this land in his family for years to come.

Don't forget about voting changes, you should now bring your voter registration card, a picture or state-issued ID.  If it's your first time to vote in your county, you need to have a picture ID and a voter registration card.

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