Lawmakers plan eminent domain response: Hattiesburg (MS) American, 8/4/05

State Rep. Mike Lott, R-Petal, is among a group of lawmakers proposing bills that would bar cities from using eminent domain laws to take private property for public use without just cause.

“We just don’t believe that economic development by private entities is just cause to take property,” Lott said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that a city could pursue private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use. The justices said states are free to pass additional protections if they see fit.

“I think the Supreme Court ruling was a travesty to the way things need to be and should be. In my opinion, they grossly misinterpreted eminent domain,” Lott said Thursday. State Rep. Ed Blackmon Jr., D-Canton, and Rep. Jamie Franks, D-Mooreville, announced plans for a similar bill on Thursday.

There would be a companion constitutional amendment proposed to put before voters. Lott said he believes that any bill that supports limitations on the use of eminent domain will receive widespread support from state legislators. “It crosses party lines. This piece of legislation, in my opinion, will pass with flying colors,” Lott said.

Hattiesburg American: www.hattiesburgamerican.com