HBA-CBW, CMT H.B. 340 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 340 By: Keffer Land & Resource Management 3/14/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, most of the county maintained roads in Eastland County, and other rural West Texas counties, were never dedicated to the public or conveyed to the county. Most have been used by the public and maintained by the county for many years, in spite of the fact that there is nothing of record in the minutes of the commissioners court or the deed records to evidence the public's right of access across the land or the county's right or duty to maintain the roads. There has been confusion as to which roads are truly county roads for the purpose of determining legal access. Title companies, surveyors, attorneys, realtors, and lenders have all confronted this issue over the past few years, as well as the counties themselves. The legislature passed a statute that delineated the procedures by which a county having a population of 50,000 or less could acquire a public interest in a private road. It may be an economic burden for most rural counties to undertake the task of determining the identity of and contacting each owner along every country lane. House Bill 340 authorizes the commissioners court to adopt a proposed county road map, including in such map all roads in which the county claims a public interest pursuant to current statutes. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 340 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the commissioners court of a county to propose county road map that includes each road that the county claims a public interest in as a result of purchase, condemnation, dedication, a court's final judgment of adverse possession, or having continuously maintained the road with public funds since September 1, 1956. The bill requires a commissioners court that proposes a county road map to hold a public meeting at which a person asserting a private right, title, or interest in a road can appear before the commissioners court to protest the county's claim in the road, and sets forth provisions for notifying the public of the meeting, display of the proposed map at the meeting, and the subsequent formal adoption of the map by the commissioners court. The county clerk is required to keep a county road map as adopted in a place accessible to the public. The failure to include on a county road map any road in which the county has previously acquired a public interest in does not affect the status of the omitted road. A county road map adopted is conclusive evidence of the public's right of access to a road included on the map, and the county's authority to spend public money to maintain the road. The bill authorizes a person asserting a private right, title, or interest in a road to contest the inclusion of a road in the county road map by filing suit in a district court in the county in which the road is located, and sets forth provisions for the filing of a suit and the proof a person must provide to prevail. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.