Sebelius signs bill to restrict eminent domain: Kansas City (MO) Star, 5/19/06

By Steve Painter

[Kansas] Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a bill Thursday placing new restrictions on cities’ ability to force owners to sell their properties.

Future use of eminent domain powers for economic development will require legislative approval.

That provision does not take effect until July 1, 2007. Lawmakers delayed the effective date so projects already under way could continue. They also assigned the topic to a study committee, which could recommend further revisions before the law takes effect.

In Kansas and across the country, legislatures have taken up proposals to restrict forced property sales after a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year upheld the practice.

“While we promote economic growth, we also need to respect the important rights of property owners,” Sebelius said in a prepared statement. “This bill strikes an important balance between the two, while also setting out clear guidelines that help enhance the rights of property owners.”

After July 1, 2007, taking private property for the purpose of transferring it to another property owner will be permitted without legislative approval if the property is deemed unsafe for occupation, has a defective title or ownership cannot be determined, or it is to be used by a public utility, pipeline company, gas-gathering service or railroad.

kansas City Star: http://www.kansascity.com