TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

SUBTITLE B. SURVEYS AND SURVEYORS

CHAPTER 31. GENERAL LAND OFFICE

SUBCHAPTER C. POWERS AND DUTIES


§ 31.051. GENERAL DUTIES.
     The commissioner shall:
          (1) superintend, control, and direct the official conduct of subordinate officers of the land office;
          (2) execute and perform all acts and other things relating to public real property of the state or rights of individuals in public real property which is required by law;
          (3) make and enforce suitable rules consistent with the law; and
          (4) give information when required to the governor and the legislature relating to public real property and the land office.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2372, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 6, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.052. CUSTODY OF RECORDS.
     (a) Books, accounts, records, papers, maps, and original documents relating to real property titles which are termed archives by law shall be the books and papers of the land office under the control and custody of the commissioner.
     (b) The commissioner shall keep in the land office a copy of each permit, lease, or other paper issued under law.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2372, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 7, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.053. FILING PAPERS.
     (a) The commissioner shall adopt the most convenient method for filing papers and preserving records of the land office.
     (b) A list of all papers in each file shall be retained in the file.
     (c) Each employee who files a paper shall place his name on it.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2372, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 31.054. PUBLIC ACCESS TO AND REMOVAL OF PAPERS.
     (a) Any person who desires to examine any paper, record, or file must make a written request on a form and according to procedures prescribed by the commissioner. The commissioner may establish procedures as reasonably necessary to maintain the integrity of the records.
     (b) No transfer or deed which may be a link in any chain of title to any certificate on file in the land office may be removed by any person, but the commissioner shall deliver to the interested person on demand certified copies which shall have the same force and effect as the originals.
     (c) If the genuineness of any original paper is questioned in a suit, the commissioner, on order of the court in which the suit is pending, shall deliver the original paper to the proper person and shall retain a certified copy of the paper which will have the same force and effect as the original if the original is lost.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2372, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 8, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.056. REVISION, COMPILATION, AND PRINTING OF ABSTRACTS.
     (a) The commissioner shall prepare a revision and
      compilation of the various volumes of the abstracts of patented, titled, and surveyed real property which were previously made by the land office.
     (b) The various counties of the state shall be apportioned into one of not more than eight districts for the purpose of revising and compiling the abstracts and the abstracts of each of the districts shall be compiled in a separate volume.
     (c) The commissioner may distribute to the officers of the state who require its use but have not previously received a set, one complete set of the abstracts, as supplemented, of patented, titled, and surveyed real property. The commissioner may distribute to officers of counties who are required to use abstracts copies of supplementary abstracts.
     (d) The commissioner may provide the abstracts and supplementary abstracts electronically.
     (e) The commissioner may make available a sufficient number of volumes and supplementary abstracts of patented, titled, and surveyed real property to meet the demand.
     (f) The land office shall pay the cost of the abstracts and the supplementary abstracts from its appropriated funds.
     (g) Copies of the abstracts and supplementary abstracts may be sold at a reasonable price to any person who applies for a copy. The commissioner shall deposit any money received from the sale of surplus volumes and supplementary abstracts to the credit of the General Revenue Fund.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2373, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 8, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.058. RECEIVING FUNDS.
     (a) The receiver shall receive funds required by law to be paid to the commissioner and on request shall give to each person who deposits money a receipt stating the amount, the name of the person, and a description of the purpose of the remittance.
     (b) If funds are received which are of a general character in advance of fees and dues, it shall be stated.
     (c) The receiver shall be responsible to the state or individual for the funds.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2373, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 8, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.059. RECEIVER'S BOOKS.
     (a) The receiver shall keep books in which the following shall be entered:
          (1) each deposit separately; and
          (2) the name of the person.
     (b) The receiver shall keep letters and other vouchers filed in neat and regular order and number corresponding with the books of the office.
     (c) The receiver shall report to the comptroller and pay in kind funds in the receiver's possession which are due to the state in accordance with the Government Code.
     (d) In the books of the office, the receiver shall keep separate columns indicating the amount of funds paid.
     (e) On removal from office or resignation, the receiver shall turn over the books of the office, accounts, and money to the appointed successor or to the commissioner and shall receive a receipt for them.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2373, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1423, § 14.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 8, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.060. FINANCIAL REPORT.
     On or before the meeting of the legislature, the commissioner shall prepare and furnish to the governor a correct report of the condition of the office, including the amount of money received, the type of claim, the amount of money paid out, and the type of payment.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2374, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 8, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.062. EMBEZZLEMENT.
     If a suspended receiver is found guilty of embezzlement, the receiver shall be removed from office and a suit shall be instituted to recover on a bond authorized under Chapter 653, Government Code.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2374, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 285, § 23, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 33(1), eff. June 20, 2003; Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 728, § 14.003, eff. Sept. 1, 2005.

§ 31.064. SETTING AND COLLECTING FEES.
     The commissioner shall set and collect, for the use of the state, reasonable fees in amounts for filing fees, preparation of certificates of fact, certified copies, maps, reproduction of maps and sketches, Spanish translations, patents and deeds of acquittance, and for other miscellaneous services, including but not limited to shipping in a mailing tube and typed transcriptions or taped copies of tapes or other sound recordings, and any other provided services and products.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 405, ch. 81, § 21(m), eff. Sept. 1, 1983. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 9, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.065. AUTHORITY TO ACCEPT GIFTS, DEVISES, TRUSTS, AND BEQUESTS.
     (a) In the absence of any law to the contrary, the
      commissioner may, if he determines it to be in the best interest of the state, accept gifts, devises, or bequests, either absolutely or in trust, of money or real or personal property on behalf of the state. Real property so acquired by the state becomes public free school land unless the person making the gift, devise, or bequest provides that the real property is to be possessed, administered, or used by a particular state agency, board, commission, department, or other particular state entity.
     (b) Under Subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner may accept a gift, devise, or bequest even if it is encumbered, restricted, or subject to a beneficial interest of private persons or corporations as long as any current or future use or interest in the gift, devise, or bequest is for the benefit of the state.
     (c) If the commissioner determines that the real property acquired by the state by gift, devise, or bequest is not suitable for the purpose for which the gift, devise, or bequest was originally made, the commissioner together with the agency, board, commission, department, or other state entity designated to possess, administer, or use the real property may exchange the real property for real property that is suitable for such purpose.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 208, § 6, eff. Aug. 31, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 10, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.0655. STATE EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS TO SAVE TEXAS HISTORY AND ADOPT-A-BEACH PROGRAMS.
     For purposes of Subchapter I,
      Chapter 659, Government Code:
          (1) the land office, for the sole purpose of managing the Save Texas History and Adopt-A-Beach programs, is considered an eligible charitable organization entitled to participate in the state employee charitable campaign; and
          (2) a state employee is entitled to authorize a deduction for contributions to the land office for the purposes of managing the Save Texas History and Adopt-A-Beach programs as a charitable contribution under Section 659.132, Government Code, and the land office may use the contributions for the purpose of:
               (A) preserving historic maps and documents under the Save Texas History program; or
               (B) administering the Adopt-A-Beach program.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 36, § 1, eff. May 14, 2003. Amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 1213, § 1, eff. June 18, 2005.

§ 31.066. AUTHORITY TO ACCEPT TITLE TO A SITE FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF REMEDIAL ACTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL LAW.
     (a)
      If it is necessary for the United States government to acquire real property in this state to conduct remedial action at a site listed on the National Priorities List under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Section 9601 et seq.), the land office may accept transfer on behalf of the state of the title and interest in the real property from the United States government. The land office may accept a transfer following completion of remedial action at a site only on the condition that the state will not incur any liability under that federal law solely by acquiring the title and interest in the real estate.
     (b) Following state assumption of ownership, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shall provide for maintenance of the real property, including necessary environmental monitoring, consistent with terms of contracts and cooperative agreements with the federal government entered in accordance with the Water Code and Chapter 361, Health and Safety Code.
     (c) Any title and interest in real property acquired by the land office under this section shall be held in the name of the state. Title or interest acquired under this section does not become a part of the permanent school fund or any other fund created by the Texas Constitution.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 507, § 1, eff. June 14, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, § 284(75), eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 11.262, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 11, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.067. AUTHORITY TO SELL CERTAIN AGENCY REAL PROPERTY.
     The division is authorized to sell any real property
      acquired on behalf of the state pursuant to Section 402.025, Government Code. Sale of such real property shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Section 31.158 of this code unless otherwise provided by law. Proceeds of sale shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund as specified in Section 402.025, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 633, § 4, eff. Aug. 26, 1991. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 12, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.0671. AGENCY AUTHORITY TO SELL OR EXCHANGE REAL PROPERTY.
     Any state agency or political subdivision may directly
      sell or exchange real property to which it holds title with the School Land Board for the benefit of the permanent school fund if the sale or exchange is for market value. Section 272.001, Local Government Code, does not apply to an exchange under this section. A political subdivision must provide the governor with advance notice of a proposed sale or exchange under this section, which notice must be sent to the governor at least 30 days before the transaction may be effected. In addition, the governor may disapprove any sale or exchange of real property by a state agency under this section prior to the sale or exchange. The state agency contemplating a sale or exchange under this section shall submit to the governor a formal request for approval. The state agency may conduct the sale or exchange unless the governor gives the state agency written notice disapproving the sale or exchange. The governor must provide written notice of disapproval under this section not later than the 30th day after the date the governor receives the written request for approval.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 13, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.0672. AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT CERTAIN REAL PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS.
     (a) The division may directly sell to a political
      subdivision any real property owned by the state that the legislature has authorized or the governor has approved for sale under Subchapter E if the commissioner determines the sale is in the best interest of the state.
     (b) The governor must approve any sale of real property under this section. Failure of the governor to approve the sale constitutes a veto of the transaction.
     (c) A sale of real property under this chapter must be for market value and under other terms and conditions the commissioner determines to be in the best interest of the state.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 13, eff. June 20, 2003.

§ 31.068. STANDING TO ENFORCE RESTRICTIONS.
     (a) The commissioner and the attorney general have standing to enforce a:
          (1) restrictive covenant affecting real property owned by the permanent school fund or a state agency;
          (2) restriction expressed in a transfer document or legislative act conveying real property then owned by the state; or
          (3) statutory restriction on the sale or lease of real property patented or leased by the state to a navigation district, including a restriction provided by Section 61.116 or 61.117, Water Code.
     (b) The attorney general, on the attorney general's own initiative or at the request and on behalf of the commissioner, may bring suit to enforce the rights of the state under this section.
     (c) This section does not apply to:
          (1) permanent university fund land; or
          (2) other real property controlled or administered by the board of regents of The University of Texas System.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 613, § 1, eff. June 11, 1997. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1091, § 14, eff. June 20, 2003.