S.B. No. 1044
  relating to authorizing counties to finance the acquisition of
  conservation easements.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 183, Natural Resources
  Code, is amended by adding Section 183.006 to read as follows:
  CONSERVATION EASEMENT. (a)  In addition to other methods of
  financing, including the use of the county's general fund, a county
  may finance the acquisition of a conservation easement under this
  chapter in the same manner as permitted for that county under:
               (1)  Section 331.004, Local Government Code, for the
  acquisition or improvement of land, buildings, or historically
  significant objects for park purposes or for historic or
  prehistoric preservation purposes; or
               (2)  Section 271.045, Local Government Code, for land
  and rights-of-way.
         (b)  A conservation easement financed under this section:
               (1)  may not be acquired by eminent domain; and
               (2)  is not subject to Section 331.007, Local
  Government Code.
         SECTION 2.  Subdivision (8), Section 183.052, Natural
  Resources Code, is amended to read as follows:
               (8)  "Qualified easement holder" means a holder that
                     (A)  a state agency, a county, or a municipality;
                     (B)  an organization that is exempt from federal
  income taxation under Section 501(a), Internal Revenue Code of
  1986, as an organization described by Section 501(c)(3) of that
  code and that is organized for the purpose of preserving
  agriculture, open space, or natural resources.
         SECTION 3.  Subsection (b), Section 183.059, Natural
  Resources Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  To receive a grant from the fund under this subchapter,
  an applicant who is qualified to be an easement holder under this
  subchapter must submit an application to the council.  The
  application must:
               (1)  set out the parties' clear conservation goals
  consistent with the program;
               (2)  include a site-specific estimate-of-value
  appraisal by a licensed appraiser qualified to determine the market
  value of the easement; and
               (3)  [demonstrate that the applicant is able to match
  50 percent of the amount of the grant being sought, considering that
  the council may choose to allow a donation of part of the appraised
  value of the easement to be considered as in-kind matching funds;
               [(4)]  include a memorandum of understanding signed by
  the landowner and the applicant indicating intent to sell an
  agricultural conservation easement and containing the terms of the
  contract for the sale of the easement.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2011.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1044 passed the Senate on
  April 14, 2011, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1044 passed the House on
  May 23, 2011, by the following vote:  Yeas 142, Nays 0, one
  present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House