The eminent-domain reform legislation recently signed into law by Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt was the result of extensive deliberation and debate. In the end, it included 16 out of 18 recommendations made by the nine-member eminent domain task force appointed by the governor last summer.
It reflected many, many hours and pages of public testimony and comments presented to the task force, legislative committees and individual policy-makers, many of whom have worked tirelessly with Missouri Farm Bureau to pass eminent domain reform legislation since 2002.
In its ruling on eminent domain last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly affirmed states’ authority to restrict the use of eminent domain to transfer private property from one owner to another. Missouri’s new law does this and more.
The new law cracks down on the abuse of blight in several ways, but Ron Calzone (7/21, As I See It) contends that only a constitutional amendment can effectively address blight. We respectfully disagree.
Unfortunately, not even a constitutional amendment would keep every public official from ever abusing the power to condemn blighted property. But this law makes it much more difficult.
Moreover, voters have the ultimate power to remove those who abuse power from office. In several communities where blight is an issue, voters have done just that.
Charles E. Kruse
President, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation