News Release
November 12, 2014
Contact: Sydni Mitchell
(512) 463-0103
Nichols files bills for upcoming legislative session

Austin, TX — This week, State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) filed legislation to limit the growth of property taxes and prohibit the use of eminent domain for recreational purposes.

"These bills represent some of the priorities brought to me by the citizens of Senate District 3," said Nichols. "My work is driven by the interests of the constituents I represent. Their insight and direction enables me to represent East Texas in the Texas Senate."

Appraisal Caps

The first bill Nichols filed is a constitutional amendment to slow rapidly rising taxable values on Texas homes.

"Escalating tax appraisals make homeownership less and less affordable," Nichols said. "We need to keep citizens from being taxed out of their homes and significantly limit increasing tax appraisals, which result in larger tax bills."

Senate Joint Resolution 14 cuts the maximum rate of increase in half, from 10 percent to 5 percent. Nichols pointed out the importance of limiting the increase in people's property taxes, even when the value of their home increases.

"When your property value increases, it doesn't mean you have any more money in your pocket," said Nichols. "We must keep the maximum increase as low as possible so individuals and families can continue to afford living in their homes. In Texas we have placed an unfair share of the tax burden on homeowners."

Protecting Private Property

Nichols' second bill, Senate Bill 178, would prohibit state or local governments from taking private land for recreational purposes.

"No homeowner should lose the roof over their head so others can have a place to play," said Nichols. "Eminent domain should never be used for recreational purposes, period."

Ending eminent domain abuse continues to be a priority for Nichols. In his first two sessions as senator, Nichols co-authored legislation creating a Landowners' Bill of Rights and has consistently voted for landowner protections.

The 84th Legislative Session will begin on January 13, 2015. Nichols anticipates filing other pieces of legislation related to transportation funding and other policy areas.

In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as Chairman for both the Transportation Committee and the Select Committee on Transportation Funding. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. He serves on the Senate Finance, Health and Human Services, Natural Resources and State Affairs Committees. He is a member of the Legislative Audit Committee and a former Vice Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Committee.