Missouri Eminent Domain Reform Initiatives (2010)

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Four Eminent Domain Reform Initiative are approved for signature circulation in Missouri, heading for the 2010 ballot. Each is a citizen-initiated ballot initiative, proposed as an initiated constitutional amendment to the Missouri Constitution.[1]

A petition sample form for Version 2 was approved for circulation by the Missouri Secretary of State's office on December 15, 2008. The official ballot title was certified on January 6, 2009.

A petition sample form for Version 3A was approved for circulation on December 30, 2008, with the official ballot title certified on January 21, 2009.

A petition sample form for Version 3B was approved for circulation on December 30, 2008, with the official ballot title certified on January 21, 2009.

A petition sample form for Version 3D was approved for circulation on December 30, 2008, with the official ballot title certified on January 21, 2009.

To qualify for the ballot, each initiative requires signatures from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

The sponsor of all four initiatives is:

Official ballot titles

Version 2

The official ballot title of Version 2 is:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the power of the General Assembly and constitutionally chartered cities or counties to:
  • Prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire and resell property found to be blighted, substandard or unsanitary for the purpose of clearance, redevelopment or rehabilitation; and
  • Allow them to require owners of property found to be a public nuisance to abate or clean up the nuisance and, if the property owner fails to do so in a reasonable time, allow the local government to pay for the abatement and impose a lien to recover the cost?

Fiscal impact estimate: According to the fiscal estimate produced by election officials, "The total cost or savings to state or local governmental entities is unknown. Most state governmental entities estimate no costs, however, some state governmental entities may have unknown or indirect costs. Estimated costs, if any, to local governmental entities will vary, but could be significant."

Version 3A

The official ballot title of Version 3A is:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to restrict the use of eminent domain by:
  • Allowing only government entities to use eminent domain;
  • Prohibiting its use for private purposes, with certain exceptions for utilities;
  • Requiring that any taking of property be necessary for a public use and that landowners receive just compensation;
  • Requiring that the intended public use be declared at the time of the taking; and
  • Permitting the original owners to repurchase the property if it is not so used within five years or if the property is offered to a private entity within 20 years?

Fiscal impact estimate: The total cost or savings to state or local governmental entities is unknown. Most state governmental entities estimate no costs, however, some state governmental entities may have indirect costs or unknown costs that may exceed $100,000. Estimated costs, if any, to local governmental entities could be significant.

Version 3B

The official ballot title of Version 3B is:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to restrict the use of eminent domain by:
* Allowing only government entities to use eminent domain;
* Prohibiting its use for private purposes, with certain exceptions for utilities;
* Requiring that any taking of property be necessary for a public use and that landowners receive just compensation;
* Requiring that the intended public use be declared at the time of the taking; and
* Permitting the original owners to repurchase the property if it is not so used within five years or if the property is offered to a private entity within 20 years?

Fiscal impact estimate: The total cost or savings to state or local governmental entities is unknown. Most state governmental entities estimate no costs, however, some state governmental entities may have indirect costs or unknown costs that may exceed $100,000. Estimated costs, if any, to local governmental entities could be significant.

Version 3D

The official ballot title of Version 3D is:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to restrict the use of eminent domain by:
* Allowing only government entities to use eminent domain;
* Prohibiting its use for private purposes, with certain exceptions for utilities;
* Requiring that any taking of property be necessary for a public use and that landowners receive just compensation;
* Requiring that the intended public use be declared at the time of the taking; and
* Permitting the original owners to repurchase the property if it is not so used within five years or if the property is offered to a private entity within 20 years?

Fiscal impact estimate: The total cost or savings to state or local governmental entities is unknown. Most state governmental entities estimate no costs, however, some state governmental entities may have indirect costs or unknown costs that may exceed $100,000. Estimated costs, if any, to local governmental entities could be significant.

Lawsuits

The Missouri Municipal League filed two lawsuits in January 2009 arguing that the fiscal impact statements prepared by the state auditor and the ballot language approved by the Missouri Secretary of State are misleading. In particular, the Missouri Municipal League believes that the fiscal note prepared by the state auditor is wrong because it underestimates the costs on cities.[2]

Because of the lawsuits, Missouri Citizens for Property Rights is holding off on collecting signatures.

Background

Two similar initiatives were circulated for the 2008 ballot, but did not collect sufficient signatures:

External links

References

  1. Kansas City Infozine, "Two Initiative Petitions Approved for Circulation for 2010 Missouri Ballot", January 9, 2009
  2. Springfield Business Journal Online, "Eminent domain petitions await court decisions", March 16, 2009