Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eminent domain bill doesn't go far enough

The eminent domain bill passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday is a non-starter that doesn't go nearly as far as it needs to.

The bill - HB3053, authored by Rep. Pat Ownbey - would allow owners of land taken by eminent domain the opportunity to buy back after 10 years the portion that hasn't beeen used for the purpose it was originally taken for - or some other public use. That's a lot of lee-way there. And the original bill called for 5 years, not 10 years.

I'm glad to see any restrictions placed on eminent domain, but this was a weak bill to begin with that has been watered down to make it even weaker. I can't help but wonder if it's just window dressing to appease the "property rights crowd".

Well, consider me one member of the "property rights crowd" who is not appeased. There is no such thing as a "legitimate use" of eminent domain and I wish some legislator had the guts to call for its abolition. Yes, I'm aware this would require amending both the state Constitution and the US Constitution. Where do I sign up?

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