Among coastal states Texas is unique. The 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act, as well as time-honored common law and tradition in existence since long before 1959, provides that Texas beaches are open to the public. In 2009, Texans voted by a 77 percent to 23 percent margin to enshrine the Open Beaches Act into the Texas Constitution.

Unfortunately, public access to Texas beaches may soon end if legislation filed in Austin passes into law.

David Dewhurst, Garry Mauro and Jerry Patterson are former Texas Land Commissioners.


(34) comments

Noel Spencer

Those 3 know what they are talking about. I wonder what or rather, who is behind our State Senator's proposed legislation. Who does this help ? There is something not right here.

Elizabeth Brooks

Those wealthy enough to own property on the west end...thats who benefits. No rubbing elbows with riff raff

Carlos Ponce

“I’ve been contacted by a number of private property owners that are primarily on the west end of Galveston Island, that when the state is claiming it’s their property, it’s really not a fair fight,” Middleton said. “When the state is presumed to own it and you have to rebut it, that’s really not fair. If the state is claiming it’s theirs, then they need to prove it.”

"The Facts" [Clute, Texas Newspaper] Feb 24, 2023 By Valery Rodriguez

Jim Casey


Richard Illyes

If this is what Middleton thinks is important he is an idiot. A few clueless rich people may support it but I have never met anyone who does. However, this is the sort of crap that gets snuck in and people really need to contact their legislators and state their opposition.

George Laiacona

What happened to liberty and justice for all ? This is just one more attempt of the rich traitor Republicans attempting to destroy the rights of the lower classes of Americans. The idea of the open beaches act was to insure that all Americans can have access to the beaches, not only the rich. This is a fine example as to how the traitor Republicans want everything good only for them selves


There is a lot in an alley just behind Broadway between 35th and 36th street. I’m thinking about leasing it for parking and shuttling people to the Seawall. Only problem is there is no access straight to Broadway, so people will have to cut through a private residence (light blue house) where the shuttle will park in front of. Hours of operation will be from sun up to 11pm. Anyone opposed? Mr Laiacona…any thoughts???

George Laiacona

Take notice that the service alley has been there since the 1800s and even though it neglected by city services, it has never been effected by the Open Beaches Act.

Gary Miller

The three are opponents of Mayes Middelton. Like all progressives they resort to creating lies for political power. If Mayes' bill passes and improves things for the public and property owners these three will try to overturn it. The liberal media got the opposition started, proof Mayes has a good idea.

Bill Broussard

Garry. I would like to be there the day you call Patterson a progressive. It would be enjoyable but as a tip to you “ never bring a knife to a gun fight”

Rusty Schroeder

Mayes is just putting into Law what I have been claiming for years, West End Private Beaches. Remove the bollards !!

David Hardee

It is hilarious that so many who vote for the liberals agenda, that the "village will raise your children," equity through government mandates, and thought the "Great Society" taking control of their health, education and welfare are now bemoaning big government (state legislators) dictating beach rights. Reflect on how much freedom you have over your personal life and property since the Democratic Party liberals have taken over the government. You may own it but the way you use it will encounter all the bureaucratic regulations. You water faucets have flow restriction, commodes must meet regulations, You want to be known as a perception of gender that is contrary to you biological genitalia is okay. You kill a illegal immigrant that trespasses and threaten you and you get charged with a crime and the trespasser gets a lawyer to sue you. The convolutions that the BIG TENT of the Democratic Party has inflicted on society has putrefied and segmented society.

What is a beach has no definition in the lexicon of a law or statute when the lawyer/president Clinton said "it depends on what the meaning of is, is",

Define a word, a persons gender or a beach today is legislative bodies activity for determination and will produce a Court's review where all the lawyers can perform obfuscation, prevarication and justification for persuasion of the judge, the appealing and on up the line of courts.

Washington D.C, State's and Districts are bastions of convolutions. Locals and citizens are the pawns they pander to for power.

Want a change back to local and citizen freedom, then quit swallowing the pandering and vote the lawyers and career politicians out and proven patriots into the positions of leadership.

Despite their personality traits of egotism and audacity Trump, Musk, and others that have identified/exposed the swamp creatures are the salvation of the "best hope of humanity."

Vote wisely!

ronald zahradnick

Your comment has absolutely nothing to do with the article!

David Hardee

Ronald, look beyond box. This subject of BEACHES access, property owners and all the on books passed and still relevant statues/legislation cannot be ignored. This specific legislation is effectively an add on and as we can see from the comments will make the mess even more difficult and convoluted.

The history of the government's acts - convolutions - has turned beaches into a mess of intertwined statutes and legalities has a long chronology that needs to be understood before more convoluting legislation is proposed. Lawyers are feasting on the convolutions and courts are continuously inundated with adjudication efforts.

A rational legislative action would eradicate some of the past legislation that is causing problems and completely produce a new set of statues that will establish with specificity - what is a beach - what the tides and other natural events cause as its property lines change - can it be privately owned or obstructed - and layout the potential jeopardy that a PRIVATE structure built in its proximity. Only then will the public and private right be known and the constant ongoing arguing and legislative manipulations will cease.

Paula Griffith


Charlotte O'rourke

The State of Texas has a landowners bill of rights which prevents government from just taking property without just compensation. And it has to be for the public common good and not for private benefit or governments (like Park Board) gain.

Unfortunately, land by beaches are treated differently. I see the Senator as trying to help in this area.

Galveston was sold by the Republic through Spanish and English land grants …. Then along came the government messing with projects that impact sand on a sand bar (seawall and jetties) and the Submerged Lands Act and the Open Beach’s Act, and you get a convoluted mess.

While I support open beaches, I keep thinking there must be a better way to protect property rights as well as access to the beach. Is this it? 🤔 still pondering.

Larry Grissom

The landowners KNEW what they were signing when they bought beachfront.

Now? They want to take away the rights of others and why? They don’t want the masses in their back yard. They should have thought of that before they signed on the dotted line.

No sympathy for beach front homeowners.

Buyer beware.


Mr. Hardee….you not only hit that nail on the head…but drove it in in one stroke. Well played sir!

Bill Broussard

It a single person who’ve commented thus far have any idea of what’s driving this and I’m reasonably sure Middleton has only gotten a very biased update. For those still contemplating, the open beaches law, dune setback rules and erosion property lines all preceded the west end development by years. In fact standard policy for home sales is the buyer signs a paper in recognition of the facts of law

For years, folks haven’t liked what they signed up for. As a matter of fact, the last professional in our city in charge of beach setbacks and dune lines ( a state requirement) had a homeowner pull a pistol in him when told he was planning to breach the covenants. You need to study this —and it’s consequences to Galveston - a bit more than the congressman has


I think I might have accidentally hit the "report" button on this or another post. I apologize if I did, it was by accident.

George Laiacona

I very much appreciate that my comments are being noticed. Maybe my thoughts will change the way the Traitor Republicans think and consider that there are American citizens that are not rich . This beach grabbing is just one example of how they don’t want the average American to enjoy our beaches

Carlos Ponce

"Traitor Republicans" - Since no Republican has been legally charged or convicted as a "traitor" you have what would be shown on Kamala's Venn Diagram as an EMPTY SET. Have a good day Lalacona.[beam]

George Laiacona

“Gobble Gobble “ I t would appear that you are in denial of the hundreds of traitor Republicans that have been sent to jail for their crimes in attacking our republic on January 6th

Carlos Ponce

And when the majority are exonerated, Lalacona will have to gobble his words. They are prepping Gitmo for Democrats.

Larry Grissom

George….you might want to watch the recently released actual footage of Jan 6…… once again, imagine my surprise, Dems were caught lying.

Tom Brown

These three former Land Commissioners, including one that is a democrat have stood strong in protecting our beaches for all Texans to enjoy. Babe Schwartz, another democrat,( may he rest in peace) and these men understood that if there were no strong rules and laws for the Texas citizens' continued access (since time immemorial ) that one day there might be no beaches for the public, nothing but houses on stilts or falling down. I guarantee you they know more than Middleton ever thought about knowing about the Texas Open Beaches Act, our right to use the dry sand along the beach and up to the vegetation line. They also understand how the money works for beach projects and how it would not work anymore. Lorraine Brown

Ted Gillis

“I’ve been contacted by a number of private property owners…..” or in other words “People are saying “.

Carol Dean

But the real question is...Has anyone taken the time to contact Mayes Middleton?

Joseph A Willis

Actually, I did contact his office about the bill and they had nothing to say. They said I should just read the bill.

Ted Gillis

Joseph, That sounds like an answer that Carlos would give.

Larry Grissom

Here’s to MAY MIDDLETON having another form of income. My wife & I will work to see he is not re-elected. He’s a disgrace.

Carlos Ponce

Jerry Patterson was on the Michael Berry Show this morning - KTRH. He said the bill had no chance of passing but he added the caveat "in its present form".

And NO, Ted, that's not an answer I would give.

Harvey Michaels

So Jerry Patterson weights in, huh! This is the man that stole $23 million from the west end of Galveston. Yep this is the guy that took all the Hurricane Ike Federal monies that were given to him by the communities with the PROMISE that he would rebuild the beaches and dunes. Remember those beaches and dunes serve everyone. Well he Jerry decided to that this money was best served being put behind the seawall. His argument was that our Supreme Court of Texas found for a land owner when the state was trying to take their property. With that, he redirected pipelines of sand that were about to start on the west end and moved them. Did he ask, nope he just did. SO for this group, yes Mr. Patterson I am looking at you, to say that beachfront owners also are at risk because of the new rules, he forgets that he already made that decision. Further the idea that local governments could stop using funds for the beach front, well wake up Boys, the City of Galveston stopped cleaning the beaches many years ago, so there is already no money going to these "Public Beaches". This means the folks going to the beach are enjoying the smell smell of seaweed, OR as is happening, each subdivision is cleaning the beach for its own community, BUT the public gets to enjoy the private monies being spent on things. Does anyone re call that our Texas Supreme Court, now twice, has already up held findings for property owners.

The net of this is that the law has changed due to the Supreme Court and that this has never been updated into current regulations. But the gall of Jerry Patterson to say anything after what he has done. Has anyone looked at the beaches on the west end? They are a shambles, they lack dunes and the only people paying to fix these are PRIVATE communities, not public. I support the Texas open beaches act, I don't support the fact that our public officials, to date have done little to save and protect our beaches for both the public and private landowners

Jose' Boix

Just an observation regarding this Bill by Senator Middleton. With so many other profound and significant issues we face as Texans, this "issue" should not be of "principal" concern. Just my thoughts. (32)

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