FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2021
AUSTIN -- Today, Senate Bill 30, legislation that has garnered the signatures of all 31members of the Texas Senate as joint authors, was filed by State Senator Royce West, State Senator John Whitmire and State Senator Bryan Hughes. The bill will instruct county clerks to retrieve deeds to properties at the request of a property owner or an interest in real property, and remove language that prohibits ownership of the property based on race, color, religion or national origin. Members of the Senate unanimously agree that restrictive deeds or covenants that deny property ownership to anyone based on the person's race is wrong.
"SB30 removes another brick from the walls that divide people based on their color or race that generations of conscientious Americans have struggled to dismantle," said Senator West. "Even though the Supreme Court ruled that these type restrictions were in violation of the 14th Amendment decades ago, property owners and scholars say the language can still be found in deeds, not only in Texas, but across the country. There are issues that my colleagues disagree on and may continue to disagree on, but we stand united today in saying that such discriminatory edicts in legal documents in our state should be a thing of the past," said Senator West.
"After working on this issue for months and filing similar legislation this past November, I am proud to join my colleagues in co-authoring Senator West's legislation to put an end to racist deed restrictions," said Senator Whitmire. "Racial deed restrictions were put in place for the sole purpose of banning blacks and other minorities from living in certain neighborhoods in Texas and I join with Senator West and the entire Senate to once and for all right this injustice."
Texas Property Code law approved by the legislature in 1983 declared discriminatory deed restrictions void, and no longer in effect. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 made placing restrictive covenants into deeds and other documents pertaining to property illegal. Later, a federal court ruling said the continued existence of deed restrictions within documents was a violation of federal law. However neither federal nor state law provides a process for the language to be removed from deeds without separate court proceedings. SB30 accomplishes that.
"It is hard to imagine that language like this could have ever been placed in legal documents. We are thankful that these restrictions have been unenforceable for decades, but they're still on the books," said Senator Hughes. "Texans have a close connection to their land, and they should be able to clear these stains from their deeds. I’m proud to join Senator West and Senator Whitmire and the entire Texas Senate in ridding Texas deed records of these horrible clauses."
The bill requires the Texas Attorney General to create a form that can be uses by property owners or a person with an interest in real property to request the removal of the discriminatory clauses by the county clerk.