South Dakota

  • Complete prohibition of private-to-private transfers.


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50 State Report Card: Tracking Eminent Domain Reform Legislation since Kelo


Read: South Dakota Chapter
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Current Abuses    Bills
  House Bill 1080
Sponsored by: State Representative Larry Rhoden
Status: Signed into law on February 17, 2006.


While many state legislatures seemed uncertain about how to go about protecting their citizens’ property rights in the wake of Kelo, in early 2006 South Dakota became the first state to strike right at the heart of the problem with a well-crafted eminent domain reform bill.

House Bill 1080 prohibits government agencies from seizing private property by eminent domain “for transfer to any private person, nongovernmental entity, or other public-private business entity.” The act—which passed the House by a vote of 67-1 and the Senate unanimously—also stipulates that after seven years, if condemned land is not used for the purpose for which it was acquired, the original owner has right of first refusal to buy the property at current fair market price. By taking this approach, South Dakota lawmakers demonstrated their recognition that it is simply wrong for the government to take property from one person and give it to another private party.

Thanks to the state’s broad restriction on the use of eminent domain for private development—which was done without leaving any loopholes or exceptions—every home, business, and ranch in South Dakota should finally be safe from eminent domain abuse.