N.H. lawmakers OK eminent domain limits: Seattle (WA) post-Intelligencer, 3/22/06

Associated Press

New Hampshire lawmakers gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a constitutional amendment that would limit government's ability to seize private property.

The measure was prompted by U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that allowed New London, Conn., to take a group of older homes along the waterfront and turn them over to a developer who plans to build offices, a hotel and convention center.

The state House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of identical resolutions. For the measure to win approval, both chambers must pick one resolution and pass it.

Then the amendment would be put to a statewide vote, probably in November. Two-thirds approval would be needed for ratification.

The amendment would prohibit the taking of private property for use by private developers.

After the high court's eminent domain ruling, activists tried to seize Supreme Court Justice David Souter's 200-year-old New Hampshire farmhouse in retaliation for voting with the majority.

Earlier this month, voters in the town of Weare decided to leave Souter's house alone and instead urged the Legislature to take action.

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