House OKs Proposal For Vote On Eminent Domain Limits: WLOX-TV13, Biloxi MS, 1/12/07

The Mississippi House on Friday approved a proposed constitutional amendment to restrict the government's ability to take private property for economic development.

Under the proposal, which passed 116-2, the issue would be placed before Mississippi voters at the Nov. 6 election. The proposal now goes to the Senate.

The House on Jan. 3 approved a bill that says governments could not take private land for retail, industrial or residential developments, to increase the local tax base or to give the land to any public-private partnership. Private land could still be taken for public purposes such as building roads or levees.

Eminent domain became a prominent issue in several states after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2005 that New London, Conn., could take a group of older, waterfront homes and give the land to a private developer for offices, a hotel and convention center. The city was hoping for an economic boost from the new development.

The proposals are House Concurrent Resolution 18 and House Bill 300.

WLOX-TV13, Biloxi MS: http://www.wlox.com