Eminent Domain Amendment Clears First Hurdle in North Carolina

Date: February 28, 2017


North Carolina lawmakers are trying again—the fourth attempt in seven years—to pass a constitutional amendment that would limit the government’s ability to use eminent domain to seize private property. Last month, the House approved the measure 104-9, representing the first NFIB/NC victory vote of the session.

Under the bill, HB 3, the use of eminent domain would be restricted to public use—such as government facilities, roads, or utility infrastructure—and prohibited in instances where the government claims property and then sells it to a private developer. Property owners would also have the opportunity for a jury trial to determine a payment amount in the use of eminent domain. Rep. Chuck McGrady, the bill’s sponsor, said courts have sometimes expanded the use of eminent domain for public purpose or public benefit, and North Carolina is one of just a few states without constitutional limits on this practice, WRAL TV reported.

The bill now heads to the Senate, which in the past hasn’t held a vote on this proposal. There is, however, an identical Senate bill filed by Sen. Brent Jackson that has 16 Republican co-sponsors. If passed by the Senate, voters would weigh in on the amendment during the Nov. 2018 election.

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