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House Hears Eminent Domain Bill

March 14, 2006
By: Hillari Duthoo
State Capital Bureau

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The debate over eminent domain continued Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Hillari Duthoo (DOO-thoh) has that story from the state capitol.

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The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Tuesday from both sides of the eminent domain debate.

"Eminent domain doesn't make development possible, but it just-the temptation to use it, the attempt to use it occurs when development is already possible and neighborhoods are improving and people see the possibility of development, then they use eminent domain."

Jim Roos, a coordinator for Missouri Eminent Domain Abuse Coalition, says he supports Representative Steven Hobbs' bill that would prevent the use of eminent domain for economic purposes.

Over thirty years ago he began a real estate company and housing ministry that offers lower cost rental housing.

After losing 24 buildings in two years to eminent domain, Roos calls the law unjustand abusive.

Proponents of the law say allowing private development through eminent domain boosts the economy in poorer neighborhoods

From the Capitol, I'm Hillari Duthoo.

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ANCHOR INTRO:

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from both sides of the eminent domain debate Tuesday.

Hillari Duthoo (DOO-thoh) has more from Jefferson City.

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What is the "highest and best use" of your property?

Who makes that decision?

Those were just a few of the questions posed by St. Louis area Representative Michael Vogt in a hearing on eminent domain.

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"Who is the determiner of-I'll use an example from some testimony today, whether a power line is the best use or a couple hundred bushels of soy beans is the highest and best use. Who is the one that makes this ultimate determination?"

Attorney Greg Smith, who spoke in favor of eminent domain, says a jury of the land owner's peers should make that decision.

From the state capitol, I'm Hillari Duthoo.

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ANCHOR INTRO:

The Missouri House Judiciary Committee heard arguments Tuesday for and against new eminent domain legislation.

Hillari Duthoo (DOO-thoh) has more from the Capitol.

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Representative Steven Tilly of Perryville equated property value with baseball memorabilia in Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing on eminent domain.

"When Barry Bonds hits a homerun, we don't go and say this ball is worth what an average baseball is worth. It's not."

New legislation proposed by Representative Steve Hobbs would ban the use of eminent domain solely for economic development.

Those in favor of the law say taking private land for private development bolsters economically depressed neighborhoods.

The House will begin debate on this legislation after they return from spring break in two weeks.

From Jefferson City, I'm Hillari Duthoo.