Texas Senate passes property rights bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has passed a bill to give property owners more protections when the government wants to take their land.

The bill prevents governments from taking land through a process called "eminent domain" unless it would be put toward public use. It would require governments to make a bona fide purchase offer and allow landowners to buy back the land after 10 years if the public project has not begun.

Gov. Rick Perry declared the issue an emergency for the legislative session.

Lawmakers have been tinkering with the eminent domain law for several years. The Senate passed the bill on a 31-0 vote.

The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 but it died in the House.