President Bush recently signed an [executive order]: “Protecting the Property Rights of the American People.” I’m glad to see property rights re-affirmed, but I wonder if it will have any real meaning or effect. As far as I can understand what I’m reading, it’s meant to make sure property is not taken “merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken,” which is very good, but that’s not really the state of the debate anymore.
The debate has shifted away from “public use” to “public good” and saying that public good can be the benefit the public can gain from increased property taxes available to a city if land is redeveloped. This topic became a big deal nationally in the Supreme Court’s “Kelo v. New London, Conn.” decision, which allowed such a taking, but also reinforced a state’s right to be more restrictive in what’s allowed.
This prompted many states including Minnesota to reform their eminent domain laws. This reform was helped along by a surprisingly diverse coalition of people and political groups called [Minnesotans for Eminent Domain Reform]. And [reform] was passed this year on May 15th.
All that said, I just wonder what’s behind an Executive Order on the topic. Maybe it’s the explicit instruction to the Attorney General to pursue it? Anyway, it just caught my eye as we had seen that Vadnais Heights willing to consider using eminent domain to acquire some family property recently. Have you ever had to deal with eminent domain?
**Update:** Oh great. It appears that my state Senator Mee Moua (District 67) **and** my state Representative Sheldon Johnson (District 67B) **both** voted against it. Sigh. And here I was giving the needle to “What’s Left of Maplewood” for actually *being* left of Maplewood. Look at me, the lonely conservative on Saint Paul’s East Side. Is there an [emoticon] for self pity?
I’m going to write them both to ask why they opposed it.