On Thursday, the Senate State Affairs Committee approved three measures that would strengthen the protections that property owners have against eminent domain. Sen. Kyle Janek is the Senate sponsor of all three measures. The Foundation’s Center for Economic Freedom has conducted extensive research on eminent domain, and Bill Peacock has testified in favor of all three measures.

HB 2006 would further address issues opened by last year’s Kelo decision. It would add a definition for public use, ban takings that are not for a public use, and eliminate the presumption that a condemning entity’s determination of public use is valid. It would also allow property owners to buy back their property at the original prices if it is not used as planned when it was taken. It also improves the ability of the land owner to offer evidence of the value of the property.

HB 3057 would deal with “blight” concerns by tightening up standards for blight determination and requiring that a property actually be blighted to be condemned.

HJR 30 is a constitutional amendment that provides the legislature the authority to authorize the sale of condemned property back to the original owner at below market price. This language would provide a strong deterrent against land speculation by government.