Eminent Domain Overview
The National Conference of State Legislatures is tracking state eminent domain legislation and ballot measures in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on June 23, 2005, in the case of Kelo v. New London. While upholding eminent domain for economic development purposes as a "public use" under Connecticut's statute, the court emphasized that "nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power."
Forty-two states have enacted legislation or passed ballot measures during 2005 - 2011 in response to the Kelo decision. The laws and ballot measures generally fall into the following categories:
- Restricting the use of eminent domain for economic development, enhancing tax revenue or transferring private property to another private entity (or primarily for those purposes).
- Defining what constitutes public use.
- Establishing additional criteria for designating blighted areas subject to eminent domain.
- Strengthening public notice, public hearing and landowner negotiation criteria, and requiring local government approval before condemning property.
- Requiring compensaton at greater than fair market value.