Rhode Island 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.

Rhode Island Castle Coalition letter grade of

Rhode Island Property Rights



The state of Rhode Island failed to pass any significant legislative reform since Kelo v. City of New London.
In 2008 a bill reforming some eminent domain laws passed the Rhode Island legislature.  SB 2728A was signed by Gov. Don Carcieri on July 2, 2008, however this law does little more than offer local governments a roadmap for using eminent domain for private economic development.  A provision which requires property owners to receive at least 150% of fair market value in compensation is the most substantial aspect of reform in this law. The state needs to see a more narrow definition of blight and public use, which would immensely help curb eminent domain abuse against property owners.


Without  legislative reform of significance, the state has ceased to assist property owners in the fight against eminent domain abuse.

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