The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Michigan Governor Signs Bills to Protect Property Rights

Posted by thelamp on September 28, 2006

Property owners and church congregations in Michigan have more reason to be thankful: their Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, signed legislation last week that will strengthen landowners’ rights when government wants to take their property for economic development. This is a move the Center for Moral Clarity encourages other states to emulate.

The new legislation places the burden of proof on the government to show property has a public use, restricts the state’s ability to designate property as blighted and requires the government to pay property owners at least 125 percent of the fair market value of land taken by eminent domain. Eminent domain typically is used to clear space for highways, airports or schools. Governments also use the power for economic development projects that may attract jobs and tax dollars, which means the allure of money generated by a mall could be motivation for displacing houses of worship as well as a family’s home.

Parts of the Michigan legislation will take effect in December, with other parts contingent on passage of a constitutional amendment known at Proposal 4. That issue will be on the state ballot Nov. 7. Now that the governor has done her part, Michigan voters must do theirs. If you live in Michigan and value private property, your vote is needed in November. Don’t stop reading just because you don’t live in Michigan.

Eleven states are giving voters their first chance this fall to counter last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. New London, Conn., which allows local governments seeking more tax revenue to seize private property and give it to developers. The high court’s decision was dangerous and undermines justice. That’s why it raised a public outcry. Since June 2005, 30 state legislatures have passed laws or constitutional amendments to negate or limit the ruling’s effect in their states.

The Center for Moral Clarity applauds those citizens who refuse to sit idly by while the one of their core freedoms are taken from them.

“The purpose of government is to protect American’s rights, not erode them,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, the Center’s founder and president.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, momentum is building and most of the ballot measures could pass.



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