Wednesday, July 20, 2005
On this day:

House and Senate Committees Act to Restrict Eminent Domain

Today, the legislature took important steps toward restricting the use of eminent domain by local governments, even though there were questions over whether the bills go far enough.

Several [House Committee on Municipal and County Government] members suggested the issue should have instead been dealt with as a constitutional amendment that would have to be approved by voters.

During a public hearing, several speakers said they felt the bill contains loopholes and does not go far enough to protect the homes and property of Alabamians...

The four-page [House] bill specifies that cities and counties can't "condemn property for retail, office, commercial or residential development."

Among the complaints Wednesday were that the bill did not prevent the state from using eminent domain and did not specifically say eminent domain could not be used for "industrial" development. Riley, however, says the bill covers "commercial" development and that includes industrial projects.