« I hate headlines like this! | Main | Now this is a real gun related crime »

Positive news from South Dakota

Speaking of the Supreme Court, abortion, and stuff like that....

South Dakota's been getting a lot of publicity lately, mostly unfavorable, for its recent restrictive abortion bill. Fair enough, but we also have to give them credit for standing up to the high court on a completely different issue: Kelo.

The latest blowback comes from South Dakota, whose Governor this month signed a law prohibiting the state from using its power of "eminent domain" to take private property for private economic development. No exceptions. No loopholes. The bill passed by unanimous vote in the state senate and 67-1 in the house.

Nice. And it's not just South Dakota. They were just first out of the gate but other states are getting in on the act as well.

In Michigan, the legislature decided not to leave so important an issue to the vagaries of future legislatures and approved an amendment to the state constitution outlawing the taking of private property for private use. The vote was 106-0 in the house and 31-6 in the senate; it goes to the voters in November. Constitutional amendments are also moving forward in Georgia, New Hampshire, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Alabama.

Initiatives are under way in Colorado, Missouri, California, Arizona, Nevada and Montana. In Washington, D.C., the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in November that would withhold economic development aid for two years from state or local governments that use private economic development as a rationale for eminent domain. The Senate will soon take up somewhat less sweeping legislation.

That's a lot of states, but hopefully we'll see the list grow to include all fifty. Given the margins we're seeing in some of these state legislatures, I'm pretty optimistic that that's a real possibility, and that the Kelo injustice will be effectively reversed.

When Red and Blue America are united like this, we usually get our way. That's what makes me think the UAE port deal is going to go belly-up as well.


I think you're overlooking Alabama, Barry, which passed the first such law this past Summer;

Alabama Limits Eminent Domain

By Donald Lambro
August 4, 2005


"Alabama yesterday became the first state to enact new protections against local-government seizure of property allowed under a Supreme Court ruling that has triggered an explosive grass-roots counteroffensive across the country.

"Republican Gov. Bob Riley signed a bill that was passed unanimously by a special session of the Alabama Legislature, which would prohibit governments from using their eminent-domain authority to take privately owned properties for the purpose of turning them over to retail, industrial, office or residential developers.

"Calling the high court's June 23 ruling "misguided" and a "threat to all property owners," Mr. Riley said, "A property rights revolt is sweeping the nation, and Alabama is leading it."

I am glad South Dakota passed a similar law. Hopefully most States will soon see the writing on the wall and do the same.

Post a comment