Missouri Democrats Fight Eminent Domain
The fight comes on the same day the state's Eminent Domain Task Force heard testimony from concerned rural homeowners.
Democrats announced a bill to stop the state from taking private land for private economic development. At the same time, concerned homeowners climbed the capitol steps to keep developers from stepping on their property. Eminent domain makes way for projects to be placed on private property if they benefit the general public. It put new power lines in Patricia Redel's yard.
"We had thought we were going to take our grandkids fishing and who wants to go fishing when you have your pole and you're going to have the electric line right above your fishing pole?" said Redel, a Maries County Resident.
Utilities are a traditional use of eminent domain, but this summer's Supreme Court ruling allows the state to exercise the right to help developers build private projects like shopping malls. The Task Force is remaining open to all points of view.
"Right now we're just trying to be open and hear from all sides and then make a decision on that," said Terry Jarrett, Task Force Chairman.
However, rural Democrats say the Task Force supports big business and shuts them out.
"We weren't invited to be on that commission," said Representative Wayne Henke, D-Troy.
The democrats will file their own bill to stop the use of eminent domain for private developers. Redel's pulling for the bill until she sees one change.
"I'd like for them to listen to us a little better and understand our feelings on it," Redel said.
Governor Blunt formed the Task Force after the Supreme Court ruling. The group hopes to have recommendations for lawmakers by the end of the year. The nine member task force will meet again in two weeks.
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