- Attempts at substantial reform have failed, while passed reform measures leave plenty of loopholes for continued abuse
- The state’s abusive redevelopment statutes continue to leave nearly all property owners at risk
Even though Connecticut is the state that gave us the Kelo case, the General Assembly was the 42nd state to pass eminent domain reform—and the legislation was not worth the wait.
In 2006 the legislature managed to pass a bill that merely creates a property rights ombudsman, and then failed to fill the position for a year. At the end of the 2007 session, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 167 with nearly unanimous support. The bill was easy to agree on because it does almost nothing to curb eminent domain abuse in Connecticut. The bill purports to stop condemnations “primarily” for increased tax revenue and requires municipalities to pass approval by a “super-majority.”
Unfortunately, SB 167 offers no substantive property rights protections because when cities are determined to see a project approved, they can easily assert an alternative “primary purpose” for a condemnation and are usually of one mind when it comes to voting. Without stronger eminent domain reform, Connecticut continues to have some of the most broad and easily abused eminent domain laws in the nation.