Montana Moving To Limit Eminent Domain

<p>The state legislature is moving to place explicit limits on local government's power to take private land in response to the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo ruling.</p>
March 15, 2007, 11am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Three bills are working their way through the Montana Legislature that would limit the circumstances under which government can take private property under eminent domain.

The bills, inspired by the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo ruling, have found widespread support in an otherwise divisive session.

"I'm touchy about government overreaching its authority, and to take someone else's land because someone else will pay more taxes (on it) on it is a heinous reason," Sen. Jim Elliott, D-Trout Creek, said earlier in the session.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2005's Kelo v. City of New London upheld a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that determined such "takings" were legal. In the case, Susette Kelo's home stood in good shape but city officials condemned it to allow the transnational drug company Pfizer to build a research branch, which the city said would boost the local economy.

Montana courts have tended to favor private landholders in cases involving eminent domain, but the senators say their bills are necessary regardless."

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Published on Thursday, March 15, 2007 in New West
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