- Property taken by eminent domain cannot be transferred to a private entity for a period of 10 years after its acquisition.
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Sponsored by: citizen initiative
Status: Approved by voters on November 8, 2011.
The 2006 legislative session saw two strong bills in the constitutional amendment of House Resolution 10 and the statutory reform of House Bill 100. Unfortunately, the bills were gutted through the committee process and during debate, resulting in bills not worth passing.
The legislature made even less progress in the 2007 session.
In 2009 a strong bill passed both houses with overwhelming bipartisan support. H.B. 803, the first piece of meaningful reform to pass the Mississippi Legislature since Kelo, passed the house 119-3 and the Senate unanimously. The House was able to override Governor Haley Barbour’s veto, but the Senate balked.
After elected officials failed two times to pass reform, citizens took the matter into their hands. On November 8, 2011, Mississippians rejected Kelo by passing Initiative 31 with 73 percent of the vote. Even the fight to keep the initiative on the ballot was hard won—opponents of eminent domain reform sued to prevent citizens from voting on the issue, and will likely sue again to prevent the new law from going into effect.
Initiative 31 amends the Mississippi Constitution to prohibit the government from transferring private property seized by eminent domain to another private entity for a period of 10 years after its acquisition. This restriction discourages the forced transfer of property from one private owner to another private owner under the guise of “economic development” and will protect the vast majority of property owners in Mississippi.