A bill to restrict the use of eminent domain to take private property for economic development has breezed to first-round approval in the House. The bill also beefs up the compensation due property owners whose property is seized. The bill restricts eminent domain’s use and increases the compensation due property owners whose property is condemned. Special provisions were added during House debate that protect established churches and heritage farms. The authority that condemns the property would have to pay for the appraisal if the property is worth at least $10,000. The biggest debate centered on the use of eminent domain for economic development. An attempt to tighten the restrictions by prohibiting eminent domain from being used primarily for economic development was defeated in favor of prohibiting eminent domain that is used solely for economic development.
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