The Missouri Farm Bureau has blasted the latest version of Rep. Hobbs's eminent domain legislation, which was passed out of the House last week:
We are extremely disappointed with this version of the bill. Compared to the legislation as introduced by Representative Steve Hobbs, this bill does not clearly answer the call of Missourians to stop governmental and private entities from abusing their powers in the taking of private property from unwilling sellers.
In testimony last year before Governor Blunt's task force on eminent domain reform, Missourians reacted angrily to the Kelo decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow private developers to gain financially by taking private property from unwilling sellers. In addition to addressing this issue, Missourians called upon the legislature to require advanced landowner notification of developments that involve eminent domain authority, to require fair compensation to property owners, to require negotiation for additional damages for expanded use of easements, to require the return of abandoned easements, and more.
We are unfortunately finding that the pledge by some legislative leaders to work for passage of comprehensive eminent domain reform has not produced the necessary results. We in Missouri Farm Bureau will now turn our attention to our state Senators with the hope that they will be more responsive to the public's concerns and Missourians' call for meaningful eminent domain reform.
MEDAC was less than satisfied with the initial version of the Hobbs bill, which left open several major loopholes for eminent domain abuse. But the latest version is much worse. At MEDAC's eminent domain rally in January, Rep. Hobbs, Governor Blunt, and other elected officials in Jefferson City promised us that they would pass legislation to restore property owners' rights.
If this legislation makes it to the governor's desk and he signs it, they will all have broken their promise. If that happens, MEDAC intends to make sure that every Missouri voter knows it.