Eminent Domain Bill Dies as Special Session Ends

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Mississippi lawmakers Thursday flip-flopped between their regular session and a special session called by Gov. Haley Barbour. The special session was over quickly, and the governor's top issue died. He had proposed putting restrictions on eminent domain, the government's taking of private land.

The politically powerful Mississippi Farm Bureau said Barbour's eminent domain plan was too weak.

Earlier this year, Barbour vetoed a separate eminent domain bill that Farm Bureau was pushing. Barbour said the first bill would've hurt the state's development efforts.

“When I vetoed a terribly flawed eminent domain bill that would have been catastrophic for job creation in Mississippi and the Senate sustained my veto, I said I would offer the Legislature an opportunity to pass an eminent domain bill that gives more protection to private property rights without killing job creation in our state," said Barbour. "I did that in (the) Special Session, and, unfortunately, the House leadership chose not to let it be considered.”

Meanwhile, Mississippi lawmakers haven't finished a budget, but they spent part of Thursday debating Republican-sponsored resolutions to support part of the U.S. Constitution.

The 10th Amendment says powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for states.

Opponents say the states' rights resolutions were either meaningless or part of a right-wing agenda to dismantle civil rights.

Supporters says the resolutions make a statement that the federal government is overstepping its authority.

Either way, many lawmakers say the resolutions were a waste of time. One passed the House after two hours of debate. The Senate debate stretched past one hour.

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