HB 261: Limiting Eminent Domain


(light upbeat xylophone music) – Hi, I’m Nichelle Aiden at the Capitol with Representative Lyman to talk about House Bill
261 about eminent domain. Can you tell us about your bill? – Well, a few years ago, the
Supreme Court made a decision that basically gave
almost unlimited powers to municipalities and states
to exercise eminent domain. So, a lot of states have responded with putting a little bit
of rails on that authority, the idea being that eminent
domain is a really powerful tool and so it should be used very responsibly, and this just gives some
guidelines for the state on how to use eminent domain
to take people’s property. – Perfect; okay, I was gonna ask, can you explain kind of in layman’s terms what eminent domain is? – Yeah. So, it falls under what
they call the takings, which is when the government decides that what they feel is important is more important than maybe
what the landowner has in mind, so they take a person’s property. Of course, they compensate ’em, and there’s lots of
nuances to eminent domain. Some people prefer to have their property transferred through an eminent domain or threat of eminent domain for tax purposes and things like that. So, it’s not all draconian or a tyrannical government taking things, but ultimately that’s
what it comes down to is that the government can take property if they feel it’s in the best interest of the public at large. – Okay. Why is this issue so important to you? Why do you have this bill this session? – Well, I heard from a
number of constituents, and I’m out in the rural area, so a lot of them are
dealing with big takings, power lines coming across their
property, things like that. And for me, it’s just a personal
property rights question. If I want something that belongs to you and you don’t want me to have it, I don’t have the authority to take it, so I can’t delegate that
authority in principle to a government to take it either. So, from a principle standpoint, it’s really important to me. The natural extension of that is things like with the Utah
Department of Transportation trying to get highway corridors. There are times, and I
acknowledge that there are times, when the government simply
needs to get something done, but that should be very rarely and done with absolute necessity. And certainly, what my bill does is it says we’re not gonna
use it for recreation, we’re not gonna use it for trails. And up here on the Wasatch Front, I find that that’s important
to a lotta people and I get it, but that just means that they can go out and negotiate for a fair-market price and buy access across people’s land. – Okay, perfect. For more information or to
contact your legislator, just click on the link
in the description below. – Thank you. (air whooshing)

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