The state Senate on Tuesday passed an eminent domain bill that aims to restrict the government's ability to take private land for economic development.
The bill would "prohibit the use of the power of eminent domain except for a direct public use; and related purposes."
Eminent domain laws have been considered in several states since 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.
Senate Judiciary A Committee Chairman Charlie Ross, R-Brandon, said the Senate bill would be more restrictive than federal laws.
"Mississippi law is not allowed to be less restrictive, but it is allowed to be more restrictive," Ross said. "The taking of land would have to satisfy federal laws and Mississippi laws."
The Senate bill would only allow the use of eminent domain for purposes such as utilities.
On Jan. 3, the state House 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.
On Jan. 12, the House approved a constitutional amendment 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. If that amendment bill passes, the proposal would be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The bills are Senate Bill 2152, House Bill 300 and House Concurrent Resolution 18.
Biloxi MS Sun Herald: http://www.sunherald.com