The Missouri House has given final approval to an eminent domain bill. The legislation, stemming from anger over a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Connecticut eminent domain case, would ban government from condemning property solely for purposes of economic development and increasing taxes. The legislation would allow so-called blighted neighborhoods to be part of eminent domain takeovers, but farmland would be excluded. In addition, courts could review whether a declaration of “blighted” would be an appropriate designation for certain properties. The legislation now moves to the State Senate. Outside the State Capitol, there are differences of opinion as to whether the bill is the right legislation for what’s needed. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce likes it. Chamber Tax Counsel Jeff Craver says this legislation allows for economic development while protecting private property. The Missouri Farm Bureau, meanwhile, says the House has bowed to the pressures of developers, utility companies, and other special interests and has watered down the initial eminent domain reform legislation.
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