Legislature votes down eminent domain proposal: Dayton OH Daily News, 6/28/07

By Laura A. Bischoff

Ohio cities won a narrow victory Wednesday when state lawmakers failed to muster enough votes to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would have asked voters to take away municipal power.

The Ohio House voted 56-41 — just shy of the necessary 60 votes — to place a ballot issue before voters.

In a separate vote, the House went 69-26 in favor of a bill that sets statewide standards and definitions for when government can use eminent domain powers. Supporters said it would protect property owners from governments that are too anxious to take land for redevelopment.

However, the Ohio Constitution gives cities "home rule" powers so municipalities could still make up their own eminent domain rules. Without a constitutional amendment, Ohio will still have a patchwork of rules, House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, said.

The move to make statewide standards stems from a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 that said a city can take private property and transfer it to a private developer for economic renewal.

The Senate approved changes the House made to the eminent domain bill. The bill goes to Strickland for consideration.

Dayton OH Daily News: http://www.daytondailynews.com