Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski has signed into law HB 318, a bill that aims to clarify and limit the use of the power of eminent domain when it is used to take private property for government use. The bill, sponsored by Anchorage Representative Lesil McGuire, is in response last year’s US Supreme Court decision in the Kelo case from New London, Connecticut, in which the court said it was permissible for a local government to condemn private properties to allow economic development.
“Alaskans were justifiably upset by the Kelo decision and wanted to make sure the use of eminent domain is limited and narrow in scope,” Murkowski said. “Out of 365 million acres of land in Alaska, fewer than 2 million acres – less than one percent - are owned privately by individuals. An out-of-control government, deciding that taking private property through condemnation to benefit private economic interests, was simply unacceptable to Alaskans. In light of that legitimate concern, it was my pleasure to sign HB 318.”
In addition to restricting the use of eminent domain from being used to benefit private economic development, HB 318 also prohibits its use to take all or part of a primary residence for recreational facilities or projects. HB 318 has an immediate effective date.