Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, July 13, 2007

Institute for Justice: New Ohio eminent domain law is weak

IJ attorney Bert Gall, one of the lead attorneys representing the holdons in the Norwood case, had this to say in response to our email seeking comment on the eminent domain law Gov. Strickland signed earlier this week: “Unfortunately, the new Ohio bill just isn't very good. For Ohioans to get real eminent domain protection, there's probably going to need to be some citizen-driven initiative.” He also sent a 6/29/07 press release that analyzes some of the measure's fundamental weaknesses from the prospective of Steven Anderson of the IJ’s Castle Coalition. Mr. Anderson testified before last year’s Eminent Domain Task Force as well as before both the House and Senate committees this year.

Text of 6/29/07 press release:

Arlington, Va.— The Ohio Legislature could have protected property owners across the state. Instead, they passed some of the weakest eminent domain reform in the nation.

On Wednesday, June 27, the Ohio Senate passed a weakened version of Senate Bill 7. The legislation originally offered substantial eminent domain reform to home and small business owners across the state, but the House removed all of the significant protections. A companion measure, Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would have applied SB 7 to all local governments in Ohio, earlier failed to pass the House. SB 7 now awaits the governor’s signature.

“There was a real chance for reform this year, but in the end, very little will change for home and small business owners in Ohio should SB 7 become law,” said Steven Anderson, director of the Institute for Justice’s Castle Coalition, a national grassroots advocacy group committed to ending the private-to-private transfer of property using eminent domain. The Institute for Justice successfully defended homeowners in Norwood and Lakewood, Ohio, from eminent domain abuse. Anderson testified before last year’s Eminent Domain Task Force and committees in both the Senate and House this session.

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