We're grateful that two major newspapers are saying nice things about our dual proposals to rein in the abuses of our eminent domain laws. In an editorial titled State should set higher standard for property seizure, the Seattle Times says:
Senate Bill 6199, sponsored by Sen. Rosa Franklin, D-Tacoma, and House Bill 2423, sponsored by Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, rewrite the community-renewal law to plug this loophole. These bills require that "blight" be determined for each property — by proving a threat to public health, for example.
Another set of bills, SB 6200, sponsored by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, and HB 2425, sponsored by Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, would prohibit government from taking property for purposes of private economic development.
These are reasonable bills. They restore the rights our state constitution says we already have, and they leave plenty of room for government to take property for uses really public.
In the Jan. 21 editorial, Bills walk delicate line of eminent domain, The Olympian notices the bipartisan appeal of these bills:
The bills have the support of legislators from both sides of the aisle, state Attorney General Rob McKenna and property owners threatened by government land grabs that don’t meet the true test of eminent domain, which is, to take private property — with compensation — for public use such as road construction.
The bills strike the balance between private property rights and appropriate use of the powers of eminent domain.