Eminent Domain Law Making Progress

We started a new segment earlier this month and encouraged you to email ideas for the men and women proposing and voting on new laws for our state.

Now one of those "There Oughta be a Law" suggestions is close to becoming just thata new law.

Seth Thomas is a disabled Iraqi war vet who contacted us about a situation in which his land was taken so a developer could have another road in and out of a Saline County subdivision.

State Representative Kim Hammer of Benton regrets that he can't help Thomaswhat's done is done.

"Seth was very happy that we went through this effort because while he realized it was too late to do anything for him he didn't want anybody else to have the same kind of experience they had," says Rep. Hammer.

The experience Hammer refers to is the taking of a small section of Thomas family land by a neighboring Property Owner's Improvement District in order to build an access road for emergency vehicles.

"And there were other options that they could exercise," says Rep. Hammer. "This was just the cheapest one. And that's not right."

In this case the developers of these phases of Hurricane Lake subdivision did nothing illegal. They had the right to exercise eminent domainand did.

But Representative Hammer believes only government entities should have that powerand that is what he bill seeks to ensure.

"What this bill does is do away with the Property Owner Improvement District's ability to be able to exercise eminent domain over their neighbor for the purpose of putting a road or an easement into their property," says Rep. Hammer.

Representative Hammer's bill cleared a Senate committee today. It has already cleared a House committee and a vote of the full House of Representatives.

No one has spoken against his bill. Hammer says that as much as anything is proof this is a loophole in the law that needs to be closed in order to better protect private property owners.

Air date: February 27th, 2013