Eminent domain law needs revision

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:53 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided eminent domain could be used to take property from one private party and give it to a second private party. This flew in the face of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and energized many state legislatures into passing bills limiting the use of eminent domain for private development. Unfortunately, Missouri’s law, HB 1944, offered only weak protection of private property rights. The Castle Coalition considered Missouri one of the worst states for eminent domain abuse and gave Missouri’s legislative attempt a D grade in a recent report.

Eminent domain abuse can only be prevented by amending Missouri’s Constitution. Missouri Citizens for Property Rights drafted two petitions to amend the state constitution to offer true protection of private property rights. The proposed constitutional language of these petitions can be viewed on that group’s Web site at Donations to support their cause can also be made via this Web site.

Missouri Libertarians, who believe that all rights flow from private property, are working with this group to inform voters of these petitions and collect signatures for its placement on the ballot in November 2008. I, or another local Libertarian, would be happy to speak to your civic group, school organization or other gathering about these petitions and to collect signatures. We are also seeking additional volunteers who wish to collect signatures for this worthy cause. I can be contacted at or 777-7908.

John Schultz is chair of the Boone County Libertarian Party.

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