Saying he was alarmed by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding the use of eminent domain, Sen. Clark Jolley plans to introduce a legislation giving greater protection to private property owners in Oklahoma.
The court decision expands the right of local governments to seize private property not only for public projects, such as the construction of roads or schools, but also for private economic development.
“The decision by the Supreme Court in the City of New London case is frightening. It further expands the power of the government to take from its citizens and should be curtailed to whatever extent possible by the various state legislatures,” said Jolley, R-Edmond.
Critics of the decision were quick to point out that the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the taking of property by government except for “public use.” Jolley said he’s already heard from constituents who are horrified that local governments now have even wider reign when it comes to property seizures.
“At this point, I intend to introduce the Oklahoma Private Property Owners Protection Act in the next session of the Legislature. Starting at this moment, I will be hard at work to study the impact of the City of New London case to determine exactly the extent the legislature needs to act and will include those provisions in the bill to protect Oklahoma property owners.”
Jolley said there are already at least eight states, including Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, South Carolina and Washington that forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development unless it is to eliminate blight.
“I expect that in light of this Supreme Court Decision, you will see many states join Oklahoma in working to pass legislation to ensure greater protection for private property owners.”