Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1402
By: Cook
Land & Resource Management


When sovereign land is sold or disposed of to private persons and a patent
is not issued from the state or the republic passing the legal title, the
legal title remains with the sovereign entity.  The  private owner July 26,
2001of the land is often unaware that a title without a patent is
ineffective and is without legal recourse to acquire the patent because the
lands of public domain are now constitutionally dedicated to the Permanent
School Fund (PSF).  Under the Texas Constitution, the General Land Office
(GLO) and the School Land Board (board) manage and administer PSF, but
neither GLO or the board has the authority to issue the patent because
current law requires the board and GLO to receive the land's fair market
value in full before the patent is issued.  House Bill 1402 sets forth
procedures for issuing patents from a sovereign entity to a private person. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking is
expressly delegated to the commissioner of the General Land Office in
SECTION 1 (Section 11.085, Natural Resources Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 1402 amends the Natural Resources Code to authorize the School
Land Board (board) to approve a tract of land for patenting to release all
or part of the state's interest in the land, excluding mineral rights, if
the board finds that the prescribed circumstances exist.  The bill provides
that the authorization does not apply to beach land, submerged or filled
land,  islands, or land that has been determined to be state-owned by
judicial decree.  The bill also prohibits the authorization from being used
to resolve boundary disputes or change the mineral reservation in an
existing patent. 

The bill authorizes a person claiming title to land to apply for a patent
by filing an application with the Commissioner of the General Land Office
(commissioner).  The bill requires the land office to review a claimant's
application to determine whether the claim meets the prescribed criteria.
If the land office determines that an application is complete, then the
bill requires the commissioner to convene the board to determine whether
the claimant is to be issued a patent. 

The bill also authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to
administer the approval of land for patenting to release the state's


This Act takes effect January 1, 2002 if H.J.R. 53 is approved by the