State and local governments would be prohibited from taking private property for certain economic development purposes under a proposed constitutional amendment approved by the House Judiciary II Committee on Wednesday morning.
The measure, which passed the House overwhelmingly last year, would curtail eminent domain powers by saying the the state could forcibly take land only for a public use, not a public purpose. Governments would still be able to take land for schools, roads and other public purposes.
What would be outlawed, said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, would be cases where “private property was being condemned and sold to private developers.”
Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, the bill’s lead sponsor, said there hasn’t been a rash of cases like that in North Carolina, but his legislation is designed to head off future problems.
“We don’t want to get sometime down the road and have there be any ambiguity,” McGrady said.
The bill, because it calls for a constitutional amendment, must win 3/5 vote in the House and Senate. The House is expected to vote on it this week. If approved by both chambers, the proposed amendment will be included on the ballot in the May 2016 primary.