Delaware’s second eminent domain effort S.B. 245 sits before Gov. Ruth Ann Minner of Delaware. She has until Saturday to decide what to do with the bill. The bill passed the Senate and House easily a couple of weeks ago.
IJ is encouraging Gov. Minner to sign the bill because of its real reforms and protections for Delaware property owners:
S.B. 245 makes several critical changes to current law that will better protect property owners from eminent domain abuse. The bill specifically prohibits using eminent domain for private development because it is not a public use. It re-establishes the traditional definition of public use–roads, schools, parks and police stations–for projects the public will own and use rather than the possible trickledown benefits on the promise of more taxes. The “public use” definition also allows for the acquisition of property for utilities like water, sewer and telecommunications. Government and select private entities retain the power to provide the public goods they have always delivered. Most important, S.B. 245 makes certain that property that sits in a so-called slum or blighted area or is unfit for habitation or abandoned can be taken by eminent domain only when it is a direct threat to public health and safety in its current condition. Local governments retain the tools to obtain problem properties under S.B. 245, but they now have to use objective criteria, returning the slum clearance and urban renewal laws to their traditional bounds.