Louisiana Voters Limit Eminent Domain


Over the weekend, Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment that limits the eminent domain powers of state and local governments. With some exceptions, the amendment prohibits the forcible transfer of land from one private owner to another and the taking of land "for predominant use by any private person or entity." It says neither economic development nor increased tax revenue amount to a "public purpose" under the state constitution's eminent domain clause, and it allows takings as a remedy for blight only when the property poses "a threat to public health or safety." It requires that "just compensation" include "the appraised value of the property and all costs of relocation, inconvenience, and any other damages actually incurred by the owner because of the expropriation."

Louisiana is the first of a dozen states where voters this year will consider responses to the Supreme Court's ruling in Kelo v. New London, which opened the door wide for takings aimed at economic development. The other measures will be on the ballot in November.

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  1. Yes! Victory!
    I actually saw no publicity on this amendment before the election.

  2. Oooh, this is dweadfuw! [E Fudd voice]

    How will they ever rebuild New Orleans, now?
    Whatever you do, don’t tell j o e…

  3. But the same voters also approved a constitutional amendment that reduces the amount of compensation paid for private property taken for hurricane protection and mitigation.

    So you win some and you lose some.

  4. One of the few things Louisiana has done right in the past century.

  5. “How will they ever rebuild New Orleans, now?”

    Maybe by using that ‘and it allows takings as a remedy for blight only when the property poses “a threat to public health or safety.”‘

    You don’t even need to RTFA; you can’t even RTF post? Jeez…

  6. I’d like to see how they value inconvenience myself. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that a good deal of the redevelopment issues that people try to solve with eminent domain could be solved in a much better way by totally de-zoning. Someone’s gonna wanna build something on that land.

  7. Aw, joe- you’re so easy

  8. Herrick, damnit, if you de-zoned everything, you’d put a lot of people outta work and there might be two or more different kinds of buildings or businesses or what-have-you right next to each other!

    It just wouldn’t look right. To stereotype, I’m surprised that a gay man wouldn’t be aware of the fact that things need to look “right”. Fashionable, if you will. 😉

    (My apologies, joe, if I completely mischaracterise zoning issues.)

  9. Not the issues, Lowdog, just the stances.

    Planners are the ones pushing mixed zoning. It’s the public, especially those members of the public that live in single-family-only, suburban zoning districts, that oppose this.

  10. So joe,

    If the power of the government to zone at all were eliminated, that would guarantee “mixed zoning”, right? So would you support removing this power from government?

  11. joe – Ok, we know how people will use the power of government to limit the freedom of others…that’s a big reason I’m a libertarian.

    So if it’s people living in single-family homes that are trying to homogenise things throught zoning laws, wouldn’t it follow that we should get rid of the zoning laws? Couldn’t individuals such as yourself work for private entities and instruct them on better ways to mix zones?

  12. I support the use of Eminent Domain in New Orleans. I’m all behind transferring a below-sea-level city surrounded by levies back to the swamp. It serves a public purpose.

  13. I know this won’t be a popular thing to say here, but. . .

    Look at communities that have strong zoning laws, and look at communities that have weak zoning, and ask yourself which set you’d rather live in. The world is full of exceptions, but it’s also full of general patterns and trends. One of these trends is that cities with strong planing tend to become more livable – and by extension, more valuable – than communities that invite in walmart and allow massive apartment complexes to be built on overloaded roads.

  14. Max Hats
    Atherton, Woodside, Palo Alto vis East Palo Alto?

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