Governor Rell

Institute for Justice Urges Connecticut Legislature To Adopt REAL Eminent Domain Reform

CONTACT: John Kramer; Lisa Knepper
(703) 682-9320
February 8, 2007

Arlington, Va.—Even if the Connecticut Legislature passes Governor Rell’s proposed eminent domain reforms, property owners across the state will still not be protected from eminent domain abuse warned the Institute for Justice, which defended the New London homeowners in their fight up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Thankfully, the Governor’s bill [HB 1054] would remove ‘deteriorating’ from the definition of blight and would require efforts to integrate existing property owners into new developments,” said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice.  “But these are only the first steps of what must be done to protect the rights of Connecticut property owners.  Nowhere in the Governor’s recommendations does she eliminate eminent domain for economic development.  Most of her reforms would require more paperwork to be produced by city officials, which is hardly raising the bar.  More central planning is no solution to eminent domain abuse, and it will not prevent the use of eminent domain for private commercial development.  The proposed reform should really be labeled the Full Employment for Planners Act.”

“Connecticut has the most sweeping law in the country authorizing eminent domain for private business development, and, unfortunately for anyone who owns a piece of property in Connecticut, under Gov. Rell’s proposal, that authorization remains intact,” said Bullock.  “While the proposed legislation offers some new protections, it falls far short of the mark in protecting Connecticut citizens from eminent domain abuse.”

Bullock said he would be happy to work with Gov. Rell and her staff to create legislation that will truly put an end to this government practice that is despised by citizens across the state.

Bullock’s testimony that he offered before the Legislature is available online.

IJ’s model legislation for Connecticut is available online.