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Relating to the exercise of eminent domain by certain toll road corporations.
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
Eminent domain is an easily abused power that allows governments to confiscate private property against the wishes of an unwilling seller. Due to the coercive power involved with eminent domain, unwilling sellers rarely if ever receive fair market value for their confiscated property even though the law requires it.
Any time eminent domain is used, even in the rare legitimate cases where it is used to fulfill a public use, it is a violation of the rights of property owners. To the extent that such violations occur from time to time, the utmost care should be taken to ensure that unwilling sellers actually receive fair market value compensation for their property. For these reasons, it is generally problematic, and almost always ill-advised, for the legislature to grant eminent domain authority to a private business.
SB 444 is an excellent property rights protection bill that prohibits private toll road corporations from having eminent domain powers. The enactment of this policy would advance limited government, property rights, free markets, and individual liberty. We support SB 444.