The Buckeye State is one of the major malefactors in the ongoing saga of eminent domain abuse.
After the U.S. Supreme Court's odious Kelo decision gave governments the greenlight on basically all sorts of development programs and after the Ohio state Supreme Court ruled in the opposite direction last summer, the state legislature is pushing ahead on reforming the law. The Cincinnati Enquirer weighs in on whether the House or Senate bill deserves to prevail:
The Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, 90 percent of a group of properties designated for eminent domain must be deemed "blighted" for them to be taken; in the House version, only 50 percent must be blighted.
The House, whose bill follows more closely the recommendations of last year's state task force on eminent domain, also needs to consider the Senate's companion measure, which would put a constitutional amendment before voters this fall to prevent cities from ignoring the reforms by claiming home-rule status.
The Senate's approach, which offers greater protection for private property owners in its public meeting and notice requirements, compensation and other features, deserves to prevail….
Governments should retain the power to take parcels of private property for legitimate reasons—to build roads, bridges, schools and other public projects, and to effect urban renewal in areas that are clearly decayed. But they cross the line when, as in the case of Norwood's proposed Rookwood Exchange complex, they act essentially as agents for private developers, taking still-viable neighborhoods for private projects with the aim of boosting their tax revenues.
Will the Ohio reform be a real one or one of the phony ones detailed recently at Reason Online by Ilya Somin? We'll find out, one way or another.