Eminent-domain bill passes 2nd Senate vote: Billings MT Gazette, 2/22/07

The [Wyoming] Senate on Wednesday gave second-round approval to a bill that would reform the state's eminent-domain law.

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment that would have stripped language from the bill that says fair market value can be determined by comparison with prices paid for other easements.

Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, said companies fear that making their settlements - even confidential settlements - public would prompt other landowners to ask for more money.

But Sen. Tony Ross, R-Cheyenne, said the Judiciary Committee heard five hours of testimony from 35 speakers before crafting, and unanimously approving, the bill. "The question is, 'How far do you want to go to protect private property?' " Ross said. "This is a good start, and better than what we have on the books right now."

The amendment died on a tie vote.

The bill headed to third reading in the Senate.

Billings MT Gazette: http://www.billingsgazette.net