HBA-LJP H.B. 1402 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1402 By: Cook Land & Resource Management 7/26/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS 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 interest. EFFECTIVE DATE This Act takes effect January 1, 2002 if H.J.R. 53 is approved by the voters.