April 25, 2006

Suspect Eminent Domain Bill Voted Down

It appears a "backdoor" amendment would have allowed municipalities to continue to use eminent domain to clear "blighted" properties, thus reducing the efficacy of the proposal:
DENVER -- Lawmakers killed a plan Monday that would have asked voters to limit the government's power to condemn private property, with the sponsor saying he hoped the issue would be put on the November ballot some other way.

Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, said an amendment would have allowed municipalities to continue using eminent domain to condemn property to eliminate blight. White said that would still allow local governments to seize property for economic development, which he and others consider an abuse.

White compared his bill to Old Yeller, the doomed dog of book and movie fame: "It's been bitten by a rabid skunk and I've got to put it down. I can't let this dog out of the courtyard and let it bite somebody else," he told colleagues.

The House voted 60-4 to kill the bill by postponing it until a day after the Legislature adjourns. White said he now supports an initiative being prepared by citizen groups for the November ballot that would imposes strict limits on the power of eminent domain.

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