Capitol Office: (512) 463-0564
District Office: (979) 848-1770
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bonnen Named Chairman of Land and Resource Management Committee

Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 6

Appointed to Elections Committee

I am honored to be appointed by the Speaker of the House as the chairman of the House Committee on Land & Resource Management, as well as a member of the Elections Committee, during the 81st Legislative Session.  These committee assignments provide me with a tremendous opportunity to address some of Brazoria County's most pressing issues, including the defense of private property owners with respect to eminent domain, Hurricane Ike recovery efforts, and the protection and restoration of our coastline.  I will also have a lead role in ensuring that the Legislature passes a voter I.D. bill that will protect the integrity of our elections process.

The Land & Resource Management Committee has special importance for Brazoria County since it has direct oversight of the General Land Office and the Coastal Coordination Council, both of which are tasked with carrying out the state's management, assistance and recovery efforts in our coastal communities.  As the leader of this committee, I can make certain the state does everything it can to protect the integrity of our region.  The General Land Office was first established in 1836 by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas in order to keep the land records, provide maps and surveys, and issue land titles.  Since then, its duties have changed but the core mission remains managing the state's land and mineral-right properties.  The Coastal Coordination Council was created in 1991 to provide for more effective efforts along the state's treasured coastline.

My committee also has jurisdiction over eminent domain, which has become a major issue in the state.  While it has become routine for some authorities to exercise the power of eminent domain, the taking of private property involves an infringement of a fundamental right held in high regard by the state and nation's founders.  I will be working to protect property owners while still allowing for responsible public projects to go on.

As a member of the Elections Committee, I will have the responsibility of finding a solution to the growing problem of fraudulent voting.  I believe that in order to protect the foundation of a nation for the people and by the people, we must find ways to verify the identities of those who cast ballots, and I look forward to working on this issue.  This has become a very contentious topic in the Texas Legislature, and while we must always be diligent in making sure that everyone has equal access to the polls, I have supported voter I.D. in the past and will continue my work for its passage.