Though it has not received the same amount of publicity, Mississippi went through the same sort of political kerfuffle as Texas. The legislature passed a bill reforming the state eminent domain laws to provide geater protection to property owners whose land is coveted for private economic development, but Governor Hailey Barbour vetoed it. Now, the Y’all Politics blog reports as follows:
“For three years, Farm Bureau has urged legislators to protect homeowners and landowners from confiscation of their private property by eminent domain, but to no avail,” said MFBF President David Waide. “The 2009 Legislature passed H.B. 803, which prohibited the taking of private property under the guise of economic development for private development or business. Both House and Senate passed the bill, but the Governor vetoed it.”
Now, Farm Bureau has launched a petition drive to put this initiative on the November 2011 ballot. If this initiative passes, it will greatly discourage government entities from taking private property for economic development purposes by prohibiting its use for those purposes for ten years.
Follow up. For a progress report on how the Mississippi initiative is coming along, see Elizabeth Crisp, Petitions Push Land Rights, Clarionledger.com, April 4, 2010. It appears that the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation has taken a strong leadership role in promoting this initiative. See http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20100404/NEWS/4040352/1001/Petitions-push-land-rights