Senate Bill Takes Aim at Local Tree Laws

Jul 12, 2017

State Senator Bob Hall has filed a bill for the upcoming special legislative session aimed at removing local-level regulations regarding trees on private property in Texas. 

For Hall, the bill is an antidote to what he sees as heavy-handed local regulation and overreach. The bill would prohibit any municipality, or other political subdivision from restricting a private property owner's right to remove a tree or plant from his or her property.

Gov. Greg Abbott is a main proponent of the bill. In a statement, Abbott blasted local governments throughout Texas for QUOTE “ infringing on private property rights and prohibiting Texans from being able to do what they want with their own land.”

Critics, however, worry that the tree bill will open the door for blatant clear-cutting. The bill does make an exception for "clear-cutting" live oak trees in unincorporated areas of a county, but that’s the only part of the law that addresses the wholesale removal of trees.