“… and it is anticipated that they will continue to do so in the future.”
A few weeks ago, I pointed out that cities across the state were creating a war chest to try to prevent Missouri’s voters from ending the eminent domain abuse that currently threatens our right to keep what rightfully belongs to us. Shortly thereafter, the secretary of state ruled that, despite the hundreds of thousands of signatures turned in by Missouri Citizens for Property Rights (MO-CPR) in support of their proposed constitutional amendments, the issue would not be on the November ballot.
Last week, MO-CPR filed a lawsuit challenging the secretary of state’s decision and asking the court to allow citizens to have their say on the issue. And, yesterday, the Missouri Municipal League — an organization that collects taxpayer dollars and purports to advance the interests of Missouri’s local governments — moved to block MO-CPR’s lawsuit.
A few choice tidbits from the Municipal League’s filing should allow citizens to evaluate the merits of its “concerns”:
- The league’s members argue that they should be allowed to intervene because they “have exercised the power of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring private property for conveyance to private entities for commercial or other development to fight blight and other decay, and it is anticipated that they will continue to do so in the future.”
- The league opposes the amendments because they might require local governments to pay “just compensation for local land use regulations.” In other words, the cities would have to pay you if they passed a regulation that decreased the value of your property. While not included in their filing, a previous Municipal League analysis of the proposed amendments also worried that they would “significantly increase the amounts of condemnation awards” to citizens being dispossessed of their homes and businesses.
- The league is concerned that the amendments would require cities to get a court order before they destroyed or condemned property that they thought was a nuisance. While not mentioned in the league’s filing, the amendment would also require cities to give owners an opportunity to fix the problems themselves. I mean, why in the world should cities allow property owners the chance to remove the government’s pretext for giving their property to someone else? Honestly.
- The league doesn’t like that the amendments would “limit the use of eminent domain to the State or political subdivisions whose officials are directly responsible to elected officials.” This would, of course, allow voters to hold those responsible for using eminent domain accountable for their actions — a radical departure from current law, which allows many unelected, unaccountable organizations to take away private property.
- Despite justifying its involvement in part by complaining that confirming the number of proper signatures will be expensive, the league calls for the court to recount all 400,000+ signatures, not just the ones challenged by MO-CPR.
MO-CPR issued a press release in response to the Municipal League’s filing. Among the excellent points made in the release, my favorite is where Bevis Shock (a member of the Show-Me Institute’s board of directors) asks, “I wonder if the politicians who approved this legal action have considered how many residents of their cities signed our petition?”