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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The Betrayal Continues

The trend started years go. It was brought to a head recently by the Supreme Court. Now Connecticut Democrats have done their part to continue the betrayal of their countrymen:

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Republican leaders in the state Senate have called for another special session to consider legislation limiting Connecticut's eminent domain laws following its defeat in the General Assembly on Tuesday.

The proposal, offered in response to last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing New London to take homes for a private development project, was killed on a mostly 22-11 party-line vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The House of Representatives, which also is run by Democrats, defeated a similar proposal 82-50.
"I just don't believe that we should be in the business of taking a family's home away from them for private interests," said Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield. "I don't believe we should stand up and say private corporate needs, private development needs, trump individual rights."
"We ought to study this more carefully so there are not unintended consequences," said Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn. He and other Democrats said the amendment raises more questions than it answers.
"I would much rather err on the side of going too far to protect individual homeowners and property owners ... than protecting some government agency that wants to take their home because they have the authority, the awesome power to do so because of economic gain," said Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury.
House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, said he plans next year to resurrect a bill that died last session preventing the taking of property in Connecticut for economic development.

(Links added to ease contacting your elected representatives to express your opinion)
While the article did not identify the amendment it discusses I found two that might be it.

The first contains this provision:

...except that no owner-occupied residential real property consisting of four or fewer dwelling units may be acquired by eminent domain if the resulting project will be privately owned or controlled.
Sound good, but this next one is even better:

...except that no real property may be acquired by eminent domain if the resulting project will be privately owned or controlled.
Based on the sponsors of the two amendments my guess is that the second one I've linked here is the amendment at issue. Either way, I fail to see the potential for "unintended consequences" envisioned by Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn. Unless, of course, he's referring to "unintended consequences" adversely affecting businesses in the process of stealing homes from people.

How about this for an idea: Pass one of these amendments with a sunset clause to expire after the next legislative session. Let this language serve as an interim protection against local governments taking people's land while both bodies are taking a little break.

If this eventually passes in the next session, and in the mean time someone's home is taken, will the legislature be reimbursing those unfortunate individuals? Somehow I doubt it.

Keep a close eye on this one, folks. We must hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, good or bad.


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