Petition for Eminent Domain Amendment Approved for Circulation: digitalBURG.com (Warrenburg MO), 3/18/06

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced March 14 that a Missouri constitution amendment ballot initiative petition designed to limit eminent domain abuses met state standards for circulation.

In order for the state to place the issue on the November 2006 ballot, those circulating the petition must collect signatures equal to eight percent of the total votes cast in the last governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. Depending on which congressional districts are used, approximately 145,000 valid signatures are required for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot through the initiative petition process. The ballot language for this constitutional change reads:
"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the power of any constitutionally chartered city or county to:

Prohibit their use of eminent domain to acquire and resell property found to be blighted, substandard or unsanitary for the purpose of clearance, redevelopment or rehabilitation; and

Allow them to require owners of property which is found to be a public nuisance to abate or clean up the nuisance and, if the property owner fails to do so in a reasonable time, allow the local government to pay for the abatement and impose a lien to recover the cost?

The fiscal impact to state and local government is unknown.

Ballot language in full text for the issue is available on the Secretary of State's website.

Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State then prepares a summary statement and the State Auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

The petition was submitted by Ron Calzone of "Missouri Citizens for Property Rights" (573-368-1344).

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