FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/10/2011
Landowner Protection Measure By Rep. Lozano On Its Way To Gov.'s Desk
Amendment Limits Liability of Agricultural Landowners to Trespassers Evading Arrest
Austin, TX— Today, SB 1160 by Senator Seliger (Amarillo), relating to the liability of a landowner for harm to a trespasser, was reported enrolled and signed in the Senate. It is now on its way to the Governor's desk where it will await Perry's approval before being enacted into state law.
SB 1160 was amended by Representative JM Lozano (Kingsville) when the bill was being debated on the House floor. Lozano's amendment limits the liability of agricultural landowners to trespassers that sustain injury or harm as a result of the actions of a peace officer or federal law enforcement officer.
"This bill and amendment will provide further protection to landowners and the ranch owners of south Texas from wrongful and unfair law suits brought against them by trespassers evading arrest," said Rep. Lozano.
Lozano's district is largely made up of ranch land, including the historic King Ranch. The district also has two border patrol checkpoints on its major highways. The areas around the checkpoints have come to be known as the "walk-around" as undocumented persons traveling north will try to avoid the checkpoints by walking around them through the privately owned ranch land.
There have been a number of pursuits by law enforcement officers where the fleeing criminal or suspect will also attempt to evade officials by going through the private ranch land. Many times the persons trying to evade arrest or apprehension sustain injury or harm by going through the privately owned ranch land.
"As a legislator, I feel that it is my duty to protect my constituents from unjust and unfair laws," said Rep. Lozano. "These ranch owners, who at no fault of their own, should not be held liable for injury or harm to these trespassers."
Rep. Lozano and Sen. Hinojosa (McAllen), authors of H.B. 2950 and S.B. 1417 respectively, have been working with the South Texas Property Rights Association to find relief for the ranch owners in south Texas. Lozano's amendment adopted in SB 1160 reflects that legislation and those efforts.
Contact: Josh Reyna