Federal Eminent Domain Reform Introduced Once Again

In an era of tense partisanship, what issue brings together a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat? That’s right: eminent domain reform.

Yesterday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced H.R. 1855, the Private Property Protection Act of 2009. The bill would prohibit the federal government or any authority of the federal government from using eminent domain for economic development. Also, under the bill, states or municipalities that use eminent domain for economic development would not be eligible for federal economic development funds for a period of two years.

Reps. Sensenbrenner and Waters have proposed similar legislation in the past. Only HR 4128, the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2005, ever made it to the floor for a vote. HR 4128 passed overwhelmingly, 376-38, but never made it any further.

The full press release from Rep. Waters’ office is here.