April 5, 2006

Mark Meeks Wins Over Stockbridge in Eminent Domain Abuse Case and Georgia Passes Law for Future Protection

by @ 4:38 pm. Filed under Property Rights Abuse

Stockbridge Florist and Gifts owner Mark Meeks has won a court battle to keep his store. With no help from the State Legislature, a judge ruled that the city cannot take their property. The judge mentioned that the plan the City of Stockbridge, Georgia has in mind is not related to public use.

Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue has signed a bill into law, that will make it harder for such abuses in the future. So the City of Stockbridge will have a much harder time if they try and take Mr. Meeks’ property again. Mrs. Meeks mentioned that construction equipment came so close to their property, that some fragile items had fallen from their walls.

While the new legislation protects from future abuses, a grandfather clause was removed from the bill that would have offered protection to the Meeks even if they lost their court case. So while people are happy the bill is finally law, there is some anger that protection for the Meeks was taken out. Since the issues the Meeks endured helped push the legislation in the first place. The Henry County NAACP, that stood with the Meeks expressed disappointment that the Meeks were not protected by a grandfather clause.

You can watch a video report here from Atlanta’s CBS 46 news.

Gov. Perdue Signs Eminent Domain Laws

ATLANTA (AP) — Governor Perdue has signed into law a pair of bills aimed at making it harder for the government to seize private property.

One bill sets up a constitutional amendment, which will appear before voters on ballots in November. That measure would take the power of “eminent domain” away from unelected housing and development authorities, requiring officials who must face a vote of the public to make the decision to take property.

The other bill bans the use of eminent domain for economic development or to boost tax revenues. It would give private property owners more negotiating rights when a government wants to take their property and places the burden of proof on the government to show that taking the property is legal.

Democrats called Perdue’s stance an about-face. They said he and other Republicans aggressively pushed efforts in last year’s Legislature that would have made it easier, not harder, for governments to take private property.

The Democrats are right. Perdue and the Republicans did do a total about-face on this issue and did previously try to make it easier for developers to work with government to take property. Although to my knowledge, the Democrats never showed that they ever proposed anything to better protect private property.

So in total everything ends well on this issue in Georgia and the folks who don’t like Purdue or Republicans (Democrats and NAACP) found something to toss mud about.

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