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Nevada 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.

Nevada Castle Coalition letter grade of

Nevada Property Rights

 

In 2007, Assembly Bill 102 was passed, which contained new language that tightened and standardized the definition of “public use”. The language in Assembly Bill 102 was brought to the legislature by a citizen initiation in 2006, when community members suggested that the phrase “public use” be addressed and positively established within the state constitution. The state of Nevada requires constitutional amendments to be approved in two consecutive general elections, and Assembly Bill 102 was passed in 2007 and in 2008. The language in the bill is of high significance for property owners because it effectively eliminates private to private property transfers.

The only drawback is that the language concerning property buy-back time was pushed from five years to fifteen years, meaning that up to fifteen years can pass without project planning or development initiatives taking place.

Additionally in 2007, Assembly Joint Resolution 3 was passed, which proposes the language of Assembly Bill 102 in a constitutional amendment. This passed again in the 2009 legislature, and voters will decide in 2010 whether to replace it in the state’s constitution.

Summary

Nevada citizens should be proud that a citizen action initiative in 2006 triggered significant reform for state since Kelo v. City of New London. The state has seen significant reform and the efforts have helped curb eminent domain on many levels. Although the state requires constitutional amendments to be passed in two consecutive terms, property owners should be optimistic based on the amount of reform already seen. Click to read more about Senate Joint Resolution 3 and Assembly Bill 102.

Recent Updates

In the November 2010 election, Nevada residents again voted in favor of the protections provided by Assembly Bill 102 by voting against ballot number 4 which sought to repeal these amendments to the constitution.  The state constitutional private protection statutes will now be replaced with the protections provided by Assembly Bill 102.

 

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