SALEM, Ohio – A piece of legislation that would have asked Ohioans to put eminent domain rights into the state constitution has been rejected.
The House of Representatives June 27 voted down Senate Joint Resolution 1, a measure that would have placed a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to stop local governments from taking land just for economic development.
Representatives voted 56-42, but 60 votes were needed to pass the bill.
Hypocrites. Republican Sen. Kevin Coughlin, who sponsored the resolution, blamed Democrats for the defeat, saying their nay votes “sends a message to Ohio voters that [Democrats] are not serious about protecting private property rights in the state.”
“To vote for SB 7 and then turn around and vote against SJR 1 is the difference between voting to protect property rights and merely looking like it,” he said.
“Hypocritically, the House and Senate Democrats have retreated from their support for those recommendations when it mattered most to the property owners of Ohio.”
Rep. Allan Sayre of Dover was one Democrat who voted against the amendment. His legislative aide, Mindy Kemplin, said Sayre said no to the amendment because he holds the Constitution to a high standard and feels an amendment wasn’t something to take lightly.
Kemplin said Sayre did vote yes on other eminent domain legislation.
Half the battle. The House did, however, pass Senate Bill 7, which governs the application of eminent domain statewide. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Timothy Grendell, R-Chesterland.
The bill’s language was the brainchild of a 25-member task force established through legislation during the 126th General Assembly.
The bill sets Ohio’s eminent domain standards, defines blight, and outlines conditions that must exist for the government to take private property.
Grendell’s bill would also provide more protections and rights for property owners during eminent domain disputes, and gives displaced landowners an opportunity to collect compensation.
Additions. Parts of House Bill 5, another eminent domain piece sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs of Holmes County, were added to the Senate bill, according to Emily Pettigrew, an aide for Gibbs.
Pettigrew said the legislation is now in the hands of Gov. Ted Strickland. He has 30 days to sign the legislation. If he signs, the bill becomes law 90 days later.
Strickland’s deputy communications director, Amanda Wurst, said the governor supports the bill and plans to sign it.
(Reporter Andrea Zippay welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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