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Take That, Eminent Domain

By Alicia Dorr in News on Apr 20, 2006 8:16PM

With their hero capes waving behind them in the sparse Springfield wind, Illinois lawmakers made a startling move to trounce one form of evil-doage.

It was the House that voted, in an extreme majority (85-6), to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s lead and firmly censure the rights of municipalities to take land from the landowner and give it to developers in the name of eminent domain. The Senate will see this more sweeping legislation again, because they had already approved lesser measures last month.

In the House’s newer version, the city actually has to give a good reason for taking away the land, and argue it and all those kind of details. Then, if the government is able to meet the demand of proving the public needs the land, the landowner is entitled to more money than in the past, as well as more for relocation expenses.EminentDomainNOsign.jpg

It seems that Illinois is one of the first states to take the U.S. Supreme Court up on their offer to let individual states decide exactly what they want to allow their little headstrong cities do, but others are apparently “scrambling.”

It’s not really that states think the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong when they allowed houses in a small Connecticut town to be torn down for redevelopment, so much as the court was just not right. It’s not big public works that the Illinois legislature is targeting—in fact, those will still be an easier sell. It’s, you know, tearing down houses or farmland to put up highways to nowhere and suburbdivisions.

The Senate won’t be voting on the new measures right away, but, (apparently) never fear, the House is here.

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