The House Judiciary Committee passed HB8 which would restrict when a government could take someone’s private property for a public or private project. There would be a referendum for voters to approve a state constitutional amendment to that end. The amendment would be two sentences.
“Private property shall not be taken by eminent domain except for a public use. Just compensation shall be paid, and shalle determined by a jury at the request of any party.”
The proposal also changes how the condemned land could be used. Current law allows eminent domain if the property would be used for the public “benefit.” The new law would replace “benefit” with the word “use.” That is supposed to keep a government from taking over a piece of property and turning it over to a developer to build a shopping center or similar economic development project.
That use for eminent domain was at the center of the infamous Kelo vs New London, Connecticutt case. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled economic development qualified as a public benefit and the town could complete the deal. After the ruling there was rush by some lawmakers in several states to change their constitution so such developments would not qualify for eminent domain.
The bill moves on to the House Appropriations Committee.