There's a possibility (although not a very strong one right now) of the state changing eminent domain laws in the wake of the Kelo v. New London decision released Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court:
Mrs. Rell, a Republican, issued a cautious response to the closely watched court ruling, one that found economic development, not just blight removal, an appropriate use of the government's power of eminent domain
"The governor said it is an issue the legislature ought to consider," said Dennis Schain, Mrs. Rell's spokesman. (Stowe)
Robert Ward, the House Minority Leader, was less cautious in his response:
Robert M. Ward, a Republican who is the House minority leader, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the court's ruling. Mr. Ward said he will introduce legislation in the next session of the General Assembly in February to protect property owners from losing their homes or businesses in the name of economic development.
Mr. Ward tried to get a similar bill adopted in the last legislative session. It would have removed the economic development provision from the state's eminent domain laws, allowing the government to seize only blighted property. He said Utah adopted a similar bill in March. The Connecticut bill died in committee. (Stowe)
This is a good idea and ought to be done as soon as possible. Using eminent domain to take private property for private economic development is an abuse of government power, and should not be classified as acting in the interest of the public.
Democratic leaders around the state have been eerily quiet about the decision, except for one:
On Thursday, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, first praised the court's decision as "vindicating long established eminent domain principles." He tempered his remarks on Friday, saying Connecticut's eminent domain law "deserves serious, critical scrutinizing" to ensure that it protects private property rights. (Stowe)
A masterful job of backpedaling. No word out of either the DeStefano or the Malloy campaigns about the decision, and the legislative leadership has also been mute. Why are state Democrats so quiet about this? They shouldn't be; they run the risk of being seen as against private property rights. Something like that could very well make Connecticut Republicans relevant again.
Stowe, Stacey. "Rell Seeks Legislative Review of Ruling on Eminent Domain." New York Times 25 June, 2005.