Friday, July 14, 2006

Good News For Missouri Property Owners

Everyone needs some good news from time to time and we sure don't get enough of it. If you own property in Missouri this (St. Joseph News-Press article) might set your mind at ease, for a while anyway.

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7/14/2006

New Law restricts eminent domain
Governor signs bill in St. Joseph

Jimmy Myers
Higher Education Reporter

A new law ceremonially signed in St. Joseph today by Gov. Matt Blunt restricts certain eminent domain measures and adds incentives to landowners.

Flanked by a gaggle of politicians all wearing the same color of blue shirts, Gov. Matt Blunt signed into law House Bill 1944, which takes away elected officials' power to give their eminent domain rights to developers. The law also provides compensation provisions and advanced notice of possible eminent domain use to landowners. In addition, the law places several provisions on condemned property and displaced residents.

The bill signing took place in a machine shed at the Hart farm south of St. Joseph on U.S. Highway 169 near the Ebenezer United Methodist Church. The contingent made a total of five stops around the state today.

Sen. Chris Koster, R-Harrisonville, an attorney who helped rework the language of the bill in the Senate, said though the bill singings were all taking place around idyllic green fields on four farms across the state, the bill affects more than just farmers and landowners.

"It also reaches inner cities and the most challenged neighborhoods in this state where some people have their homes taken at the hands of aggressive and sometimes greedy developers," Mr. Koster said during the bill signing.

The Missouri Farm Bureau has worked toward legislation regarding eminent domain for the last four years. Charles Kruse, president of the bureau, said at the signing Thursday that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (Kelo v. the city of New London) where the court ruled that it is within the state's jurisdiction to decide the parameters of eminent domain, finally gave them nudge they were looking for. Soon after the ruling, Mr. Blunt appointed a task force to look into the eminent domain issues.

In the Kelo case, the state of Connecticut's eminent domain law allowed government entities the use of eminent domain if the government could raise revenue or for the purpose of economic development. Mr. Blunt said Missouri's new legislation prevents that from happening to landowners.

"There has to be a clear and compelling public need when eminent domain is used," Mr. Blunt said. "There are times we need eminent domain. But we do need to ensure that land owners are protected."

Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, and Rep. Dr. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, a co-sponsor of the bill, were in attendance with about 50 citizens.

"Some people think that we didn't go far enough," said Dr. Schaaf of the parameters of the bill. "Some people said we went too far, so we probably did just about right."

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Yes that sounds pretty good for now. So why would I say, " might set your mind at ease, for a while anyway."? Because I have a feeling that it's only a matter of time. A greedy land developer and a corrupt politician will team up to challenge the new legislation in court. I hope that House Bill 1944 can stand up to the test.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

2 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie said...

I hope so, too, but can't help but think that the Constitution is still the only test it should have to stand up to...and that corporations getting private land by using eminent domain should fail that test.

1:22 AM  
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