Thursday, December 22, 2005

Right on

I agree with j.d. that this bill is a good way of limiting the use of eminent domain. I think Kelo was probably rightly decided, and bills like this are the appropriate way of limiting the scope of eminent domain. If a circumstance arises in which a municipality really has a good reason to condemn something on behalf of a private developer, they can petition the legislature to loosen the laws.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a municipality may not condemn property for the purposes of:

(1) Private retail, office, commercial, industrial or residential development;

(2) primarily for enhancement of tax revenue; or

(3) for transfer to a person, nongovernmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation or other business entity.
The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the use of eminent domain by any municipality, housing authority or other public entity based upon a finding of a blighted area, as such term is defined in K.S.A. 12-1770a, and amendments thereto, or any urban renewal plan pursuant to the urban renewal law and amendments thereto. In all cases, just compensation shall be made to the owner.

(c) No provision of this section shall limit the exercise of eminent domain by or for the benefit of public utilities or other entities engaged in the generation, transmission or distribution of telephone, gas, electricity, water, sewer or other utililty products or services.

(d) No provision of this section shall be interpreted to prohibit a municipality, or the governing body thereof, from exercising the power of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing, maintaining or operating streets and roadways, government buildings or park and recreation facilities.
Thanks to Reps. Holland, Lane and Mah (all Democrats, for the record) for submitting this bill. Contact your representatives and senators to encourage them to support it (there's a handy link in the sidebar).