- Property cannot be condemned for private commercial development and a majority of individual properties must be blighted before an area can be condemned.
- Nondilapidated buildings in a blighted area cannot be seized by eminent domain unless there is no possible way to address blight without doing so.
- Exemptions for previously existing TIF districts have now expired.
- After initial restrictions on use of eminent domain in 2006, the following year the legislature specifically allowed for eminent domain to be used to acquire property for Target Field, the Minnesota Twins’ new ballpark.
- In 2012, the legislature authorized the use of eminent domain to acquire property for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
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Senate File 2750 (House File 2846)
House Bill 2480
Sponsored by: State Representative Brad Finstad
Status: Signed into law on May 26, 2006.
House Bill 2958
Sponsored by: State Representative Morris Lanning
Status: Signed in law on May 14, 2012.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, an amazing and diverse coalition of civil rights groups, religious leaders, trade associations, concerned citizens, and officials from Minnesota’s major political parties worked together to reform the state’s eminent domain laws. The coalition included representatives from the Institute for Justice, NAACP, Urban League, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hmong Chamber of Commerce, Farmers Union, Farm Bureau, Teamsters, Minnesota Family Council, Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, National Federation of Independent Business, other trade associations, ministers from local black churches, former Independent Party gubernatorial candidate Tim Penny, and individuals who had been threatened with takings of their property.
Bipartisan legislative reform was introduced in the first week of the legislative session and on May 19, 2006, the governor signed into law Senate File 2750, legislation that protects homes, farms, and small businesses from eminent domain abuse. The law explicitly prohibits municipalities from using eminent domain to transfer property from one owner to another for private commercial development. It also requires that blighted properties be an actual danger to public health and safety to be condemned for private development. Non-blighted properties can be condemned only if they are in an area where the majority of properties are blighted and there is no feasible alternative to taking them to remediate the blighted properties.
The original law exempted many existing Tax Increment Financing districts from the new blight requirements, but those exemptions only lasted for five years and have now expired.
Although the reform legislation should cover all Minnesota properties, the legislature has since carved out two new exemptions for sports stadiums in downtown Minneapolis. One law, House Bill 2480, authorized Hennepin County to seize land to make way for Target Field, a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. The second exemption, House Bill 2958, deemed a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings a “public use,” and authorized the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to condemn and acquire property for the stadium.