Skip to comments.Perdue submits property deal ban (Georgia's Gov Sonny on our side)
Posted on 02/09/2006 6:38:45 AM PST by devane617
ATLANTA Local governments would be prohibited from condemning private property to put money in the pockets of developers under legislation unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Taking charge of a legislative debate that has spawned dozens of bills, the governor proposed both a constitutional amendment and a law banning eminent domain for economic development purposes.
The two measures also would allow only elected officials to make decisions on condemning private properties for any reason.
"The government's awesome power of eminent domain should be used sparingly and never be abused for private benefit," Perdue said during a news conference at the Capitol. "Government must always respect the property rights of its citizens."
An example of how eminent domain laws can affect people's lives is being played out in Albany.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital through its hospital authority, a non-elected board is attempting to acquire the rental home of 92-year-old Julia Lemon, a frail woman who walks with a cane.
The hospital wants the property so that it can expand its child care center, but Lemon's landlord, Julie Montgomery of Atlanta, has hired a lawyer to prevent it.
A court has already ruled that the hospital has a right to take the property. A trial began in Dougherty County Superior Court on Wednesday to determine the fair market value.
Attorney Eddy Meeks, who represents Montgomery and Lemon, said he plans to ask the Georgia Court of Appeals to block the acquisition once a jury determines the value. He contends Phoebe has no right to take the property because the child care center would not serve the public, only the children of hospital employees.
Also, if Perdue's package becomes law, the hospital authority wouldn't be able to acquire the property because eminent domain powers would be limited to local governments, not non-elected authorities.
"They can't condemn something and not open it to the public," Meeks said.
The hospital's attorney, Rick Langley, refused to comment.
Eminent domain has been shaping up for months to be one of the key issues debated by the General Assembly this winter.
The governor and legislative leaders have vowed to protect private property rights in Georgia since last June, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Connecticut city that had condemned older houses to make way for a luxury development expected to boost local tax revenues.
Georgia lawmakers have introduced more than three dozen bills addressing eminent domain.
Last week, the Senate approved a 120-day moratorium on the use of eminent domain for private development to allow lawmakers time to sift through the various proposals.
But Wednesday, legislative Republicans said from this point they would focus on the GOP governor's two proposals.
"This is the ultimate response," Perdue said.
Both measures would limit the use of eminent domain to projects that benefit the public, including schools, parks, roads, government buildings and utility rights of way.
Private property could be condemned for redevelopment purposes only in areas deemed so blighted that they are harming a community.
Democrats, too, appeared ready to support much of the governor's package.
Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon, said some of the provisions in Perdue's bill closely match elements of several bills introduced last month by Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, giving targeted property owners new due-process rights. Jones' district includes a portion of Henry County, the site of a highly publicized ongoing eminent domain battle between the city of Stockbridge and the owner of a flower shop.
"It sounds like the governor is following the leadership of Senator Jones," Brown said. "We welcome his support."
But Sen. David Adelman, D-Decatur, said the constitutional amendment might be too much of a good thing. He questioned the necessity of passing both a statute and a change to the Georgia Constitution.
"We know we can enact a sound statute," he said. "A constitutional amendment is not necessary. (It) appears to be an election-year gimmick."
With lawmakers from both parties expressing enthusiasm for clamping down on eminent domain, objections are expected to come mainly from representatives of city and county governments.
Amy Henderson of the Georgia Municipal Association, which represents cities, said there's general support for the idea of limiting decision-making authority over eminent domain to elected members of city councils and county commissions.
But she said other provisions in Perdue's package would make it more difficult for cities to redevelop blighted neighborhoods by requiring them to treat every property separately.
"You would have to go into an area and declare every piece of property blighted," she said. "It's going to be harder for cities."
"'This is the ultimate response,' Perdue said."Yes! And wise, sound REPUBLICANS like Perdue are the ultimate response to the LEFTISTS, DEMOCRATS, and ABUSIVE SUPREME COURT "JUSTICES" who support such outrageous affronts to everything the United States stands for.
"But Sen. David Adelman, D-Decatur..."NOTE: A DEMOCRAT!
"...said the constitutional amendment might be too much of a good thing. He questioned the necessity of passing both a statute and a change to the Georgia Constitution.So you say, David.
"'We know we can enact a sound statute,' he said. 'A constitutional amendment is not necessary. (It) appears to be an election-year gimmick.'"
The entire Supreme Court "eminent domain" decision is a gimmick to allow big government--and especially DEMOCRATS--seize the property of the American people and use it for their own selfish purposes--notably to get DEMOCRATS elected.
The entire "eminent domain" decision was nothing more than a gimmick for legalizing THEFT!
"It's going to be harder for cities."Yes. That's the point, Amy. It's going to be harder for cities to STEAL from the people.
Is this woman a moron?
Let's hear it for the people of Georgia for being wise enough to elect a REPUBLICAN governor and a REPUBLICAN state legislature.
GO, SONNY! YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB!