David Van Os, Democratic candidate for state attorney general, proposed a state constitutional amendment Monday that would allow the use of eminent domain to seize property only in cases that involve public safety and security.
The San Antonio lawyer made the announcement to about 50 supporters at a rally in front of the Tarrant County Courthouse.
It was the 250th county courthouse Van Os has visited this year as part of his "whistle-stop tour" of all 254 county courthouses in Texas that ends Friday in Austin.
Van Os said his proposed amendment is a direct response to the Trans-Texas Corridor, a planned network of toll roads, freeways and rail lines that would be built in part on land seized via eminent domain. The amendment would prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire private property for economic reasons.
"That's not democracy. That's dictatorship," Van Os said.
The proposed amendment also calls for banning the creation of a toll road in any county where voters haven't approved the creation of such a system.
Democratic candidates statewide have used their opposition to the Trans-Texas Corridor to rally voters.
Van Os, shouting over the roar of passing cars on Weatherford Street in downtown Fort Worth, touted plans to investigate allegations of price-gouging by oil, electric and insurance companies.
"Come Jan. 1, when I get sworn in, I'm coming after you," Van Os said, referring to oil companies.
Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for his second term, investigated complaints of high gas prices in late 2005 and said that, for the most part, higher prices were not the result of gouging but rather of market forces.