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Legislature approves moratorium on use of eminent domain

Ban effective immediately

Governor Bob Taft says he expects to sign a bill passed by the Ohio General Assembly last week that would impose a moratorium on the use of eminent domain by state and local governments.

Senate Bill 167 imposes until December 31, 2006, an immediate moratorium on government takings of "unblighted" land for economic development purposes. The bill was prompted by a June decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that declared such takings constitutional to the extent state laws permit them.

That decision sparked legislatures all over the country to consider new restrictions on the use of the eminent domain power.

Under the bill, a task force is created to study the use of eminent domain in Ohio. The task force will include three members of the House and three Senators, as well as representatives of agriculture, commercial real estate, realtors, planners, labor, historic preservationists, attorneys, small business owners and the directors of the state departments of Transportation and Development.

The task force is required to submit a report to the General Assembly no later than April 1, 2006, regarding the impact that the use of eminent domain is having in Ohio. By August 1, the task force must submit a second report that recommends changes in state laws relating to the use of eminent domain.

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