Eminent Domain

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Alabama is expected to join a growing statehouse backlash against the US Supreme Court's eminent domain decision when the Legislature convenes in special session this evening (Tuesday).

Governor Bob Riley said he has a severe problem with the Supreme
Court's five-to-four ruling last month on the issue. Justices ruled cities have broad powers to condemn people's homes through eminent domain to make way for shopping centers or other private development to generate tax money for the cities.

In addition to offering a state General Fund budget, Riley's office announced yesterday that he's preparing legislation that would prohibit city and county governments from using eminent domain to take property for commercial, retail, office or residential development.

Eminent domain law allows governments to acquire private land for public use from people who don't want to sell their property, but the owners must receive "just compensation."

The bill would still allow property to be taken for traditional eminent domain projects, such as public roads and schools.