North Dakota Taking of Private Property, Measure 2 (2006)

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The North Dakota Taking of Private Property for Public Use Initiative, also known as Initiated Constitutional Measure 2, was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in North Dakota as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved.[1] This measure provided that the taking of private property for public use or purpose, also known as eminent domain, does not include public economic development benefits and that private property could not be taken for private benefit unless necessary for conducting a common carrier or utility business. The measure amended Section 16 of Article I of the North Dakota Constitution.[2]

The proposal was one of 12 eminent domain-related ballot measures throughout the country on the 2006 ballot.

Election results

North Dakota Initiated Constitutional Measure 2 (2006)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 137,660 67.49%
No66,30232.51%

Election results via: North Dakota Secretary of State, Official Vote of General Election, 2006

Text of measure

See also: North Dakota Constitution, Article I, Section 16

Ballot title

The language appeared on the ballot as:[3]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Initiated Constitutional Measure No. 2

This initiated constitutional measure would amend section 16 of Article I of the North Dakota Constitution.

This measure would provide that the taking of private property for public use or purpose does not include public economic development benefits and that private property could not be taken for private benefit unless necessary for conducting a common carrier or utility business.

YES – This means you approve the measure as summarized above.

NO – This means you reject the measure as summarized above.

Constitutional changes

The measure made the following amendments to Section 16 of Article I of the North Dakota Constitution with the underlined text being added:[4]

Section 16. Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation having been first made to, or paid into court for the owner, unless the owner chooses to accept annual payments as may be provided for by law. No right of way shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation until full compensation therefor be first made in money or ascertained and paid into court for the owner, unless the owner chooses annual payments as may be provided by law, irrespective of any benefit from any improvement proposed by such corporation. Compensation shall be ascertained by a jury, unless a jury be waived. When the state or any of its departments, agencies or political subdivisions seeks to acquire

right of way, it may take possession upon making an offer to purchase and by depositing the amount of such offer with the clerk of the district court of the county wherein the right of way is located. The clerk shall immediately notify the owner of such deposit. The owner may thereupon appeal to the court in the manner provided by law, and may have a jury trial, unless a jury be waived, to determine the damages, which damages the owner may choose to accept in annual payments as may be provided for by law. Annual payments shall not be subject to escalator clauses but may be supplemented by interest earned.

For purposes of this section, a public use or a public purpose does not include public benefits of economic development, including an increase in tax base, tax revenues, employment, or general economic health. Private property shall not be taken for the use of, or ownership by, any private individual or entity, unless that property is necessary for conducting a common carrier or utility business.

Support

A group called "Citizens to Restrict Eminent Domain" raised $13,325 for their campaign.

"This is great news for property owners and great news for what we believe to be the American way," Heitkamp said of the measure's success Tuesday.

"The eminent domain issue was a no-brainer," said Bob Hellekson, 72, of Bismarck. "Yes, all the way."[5]

Opposition

Jerald Hjelmstad, assistant director of the North Dakota League of Cities, said the eminent domain vote was "disappointing, but not surprising." He said his group opposed the eminent domain measure because it would hurt cities in efforts to clean up blighted areas.

"It was an uphill battle," he said. "Local governments will just have to adjust accordingly and try to keep the negative consequences to a minimum."[5]

Don Dabbert, Association of Builders President was against Measure 2, saying, "I encourage the people of North Dakota to look closely at Measure No. 2, which would restrict the use of eminent domain. If passed, this law would negatively affect citizens in our state. It reaches far beyond the question of using eminent domain for economic development purposes. It would discourage urban renewal projects and hamper community efforts to improve our neighborhoods."[6]

Path to the ballot

Constitutional Measure 2 was placed on the ballot by petitions circulated by a sponsoring committee.[2] The petition language was submitted to the North Dakota Secretary of State for review and approval for circulation on September 12, 2005. The Secretary of State supplied the Sponsoring Committee with the ballot title for petition along with a list of corrections for the petition's format on September 21, 2005. The Sponsoring Committee returned proof of petition to the Secretary of State for review on September 22, 2005. The Secretary of State approved the petition for circulation on September 23, 2005. The measure needed at least 25,688 signatures to be placed on the ballot.[7]

See also

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