Bill proposed to curb eminent domain: Des Moines (IA) Register, 1/25/06

By Associated Press

[Iowa] State Rep. Bill Dix introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at curbing the ability of local governments to seize private property for economic development projects.

"Confiscating private property for monetary gain is unacceptable," said Dix, R-Shell Rock. "Our citizens should not fear having their homes bulldozed to build hotels, or their farms seized to build factories."

At issue is a legal concept known as eminent domain, which allows local governments to force the sale of private property for an essential public purpose, such as construction of a road or school.

Dix’s bill and a similar measure introduced in the Senate last week by Sen. Jeff Lamberti, R-Ankeny, were prompted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain in a Connecticut case.

The high court ruled that a local government could take property from one owner and give it to another for economic development, which it deemed an essential public purpose.

The Iowa bills would limit the ability of local governments to use that power.

"Due to the Supreme Court’s ruling, it is imperative that we take aggressive action to protect Iowa property owners," said Dix.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said he would put Dix’s measure at the top of the panel’s agenda.

"We will move it forward," said Paulsen. "I do fully expect we will get an eminent domain bill to the governor’s desk."

Des Moines Register: http://desmoinesregister.com