5/22/2006

Eminent domain question goes to voters: Boston (MA) Globe, 4/21/06

[New Hampshire] lawmakers say it's time to hear what the public thinks of eminent domain. Voters headed to the polls this November will be asked to decide whether the state constitution should be changed to make it harder for the government to seize land through eminent domain.

Measures proposing such a constitutional amendment already passed the House and Senate by 60 percent majorities. Now it goes to the voters, where it must win a two-thirds majority to pass.

The eminent domain question was sparked by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that supported an effort by New London, Conn., to seize private homes for a commercial development.

Legislators already have made changes to state law to prevent use of eminent domain to benefit private developers, but supporters of an amendment say it is needed to prevent the courts from changing the interpretation of the laws.

"Laws can be changed very easily, but a constitutional amendment once it's passed by the people is there for a long time," Senate President Ted Gatsas said. "I think the people have a right to be heard on this issue."


Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com