Since the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London many states across the country have taken measures to help protect the rights of private ownership. The controversial Kelo decision held that a local government can take the private property of one person and give it to another private entity. While the Court’s ruling was seen by many as a serious blow to citizen’s constitutionally protected rights of private property ownership, the decision prompted a number of states to initiate legislative reform to help curb eminent domain abuse.
The Castle Coalition has released a report, grading each of the states based on their efforts to protect private property owners and their rights based on changes in their respective state laws. The Castle Coalition is the Institute for Justice’s nationwide grassroots property rights activism project that teaches home and small business owners how to protect themselves and stand up to abuse by governments and developers who seek to use eminent domain to take private property for their own gain. Stated below is the letter grade, as given by the Castle Coalition, along with a description of the changes that have occurred since Kelo v. City of New London.
The state of Michigan rates extremely high since the Kelo v. City of New London case because of the multiple steps the legislature has taken in order to protect property owners. One amendment passed was Senate Joint Resolution E, which prohibits the taking of private property for economic development or tax revenues. In addition to prohibiting the taking of private property for economic development, this resolution changed the definition of “blighted areas”, and now requires the state to determine blighted property on a parcel by parcel basis. The same bill also required the state to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that a parcel indeed satisfies the definition of blight.
Several additional bills were passed, including House Bills 5818, 5819, 6638 and 6639, all of which address the condemnation process and procedure, moving expenses for individuals, and more. The state also saw a large change with House Bill 5060 and Senate Bill 639, which adjusted the language of a proposed constitutional amendment to exclude economic development from the state’s definition of “public use”.
Michigan has an extremely high rating because of an abundance of positive legislation reform that has passed since the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London, which has helped the property owner in multiple ways. Not only was the definition of blighted tightened, the definition now includes evaluation on a parcel by parcel basis. Click to visit the Michigan Legislature page to read about House Bill 5060, just one of the several bills that have been passed recently.