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Louisiana Property Rights

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.

Louisiana Castle Coalition letter grade of

Louisiana Property Rights

 

 

 

Senate Bill 1 was passed in the state of Louisiana in 2006, and made significant positive changes for property owners, and was also signed as an amendment to the state’s constitution. The bill stated that condemning authorities are prohibited from condemning private property for tax purposes, tax generation or for the creation of jobs.

The definition of blighted was also tightened, ensuring that property can only be condemned if it is indeed a threat to public health or public safety, and property like that must be evaluated on a property by property basis. This amendment does not, however, include language that’s specific to municipalities that want to use eminent domain on industrial parks. The only language that protects the property owner concerning industrial parks states that a person’s home cannot be taken for the use of a public port facility.

In addition to Senate Bill 1, House Bill 707 was passed, which requires the government to offer all unused property (that was previously condemned) back to the original property owner before it can be sold to another private party or entity.

Summary

By tightening the state’s definition of blight and establishing guidelines for property condemnation, property owners in the state of Louisiana have seen an immense amount of protection since Kelo v. City of New London. The state still has room for improvement, which could be seen through solidifying the measures taken already by passing them as part of the state constitution. Click to read more about Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 707.

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