California Eminent Domain Reform is Now Prop. 98


by Timothy Sandefur

The California eminent domain reform initiative, which would give strong protections to California's home and business owners against the violation of their property rights, has been given a number and is now Proposition 98. You can read more about it at this site.

A group of government bureaucrats, however, who oppose eminent domain reform and want to keep Kelo-style takings in place, have also certified an initiative for the ballot. It is Proposition 99. You can see by reading it that it would actually provide no realistic protection to property owners in the state. Instead, it would apply only to "owner-occupied residences," (which are rarely targeted for eminent domain anyway) and not to the owners of small businesses, farms, churches, and apartment buildings that are by far the most common victims of eminent domain. And, as I explained about an earlier version of the same bill, it would allow government to condemn even owner-occupied homes for the creation of shopping centers that included some minor public aspect such as a community center surrounded by private shops.