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Montanans file initiative to reform eminent domain laws
HELENA, Montana: A grassroots coalition of property-holders and businesses in Montana, working under the name United Property Owners of Montana, have filed an initiated constitutional amendment initiative designed to ensure proper compensation for landowners regarding eminent domain takings. Eminent domain is the process by which the state may seize a citizen's private property in exchange for due monetary compensation. According to Chuck Denowh, the Montana group's policy director, current law is completely unfair and essentially says, "If your property is reduced by 100 percent, you get paid in full; if it's only reduced 95 percent, you get no compensation whatsoever. We should be treating every taxpayer the same. This amendment will ensure equality."
Toby Dahl, a board director of the group, gave a larger picture of what the initiative would accomplish, saying that it is intended to "make sure we're taking impacts on private property into account before we enact a new regulation." He went on to point out that under the current system, many times a small group is singled out to pay the bill for government regulation which is intended for the good of the greater public, which should be split evenly amongst all citizens. The proposed ballot measure must first clear reviews by state agencies, after which to qualify for the ballot, supporters must obtain roughly 50,000 signatures by mid-June of 2010.
- Procedures for qualifying an initiative in Montana
- Laws governing the initiative process in Montana
- Montana Eminent Domain Reform Amendment (2010)