From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 40 - January 3, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Property rights advocate proposed

by Cat Urbigkit

Problems regarding governmental "takings" of private property and property rights have been increasingly in the news in the last few years and now it appears the Wyoming Legislature has an interest in helping out the underdog in proceedings involving government agencies.

The Wyoming Legislature is slated to consider a proposal relating to the Wyoming Regulatory Takings Act when it convenes later this month.

Under a bill sponsored by the Joint Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee, an official advocate for private property rights would be established in the governor's office.

The advocate office would be created to represent the interests of private-property owners in proceedings involving governmental action. The governor would appoint the advocate who would serve at the governor's pleasure.

The advocate would be authorized to research issues "that involve, relate to or may involve a taking," which is defined as "a taking of private property by a state agency or local governmental entity that diminishes the appraised value of the property."

The advocate would also be authorized to "prepare and present briefs and arguments, intervene or appear on behalf of private property owners in general or on behalf of specific private property owners in any judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or proceeding," as well as advise private-property owners on issues involving or relating to a taking.

The advocate would be limited in only representing the interests of record title owners of residential, small business and agricultural properties.

The legislation would also state, "The state agency or local entity shall compensate owners of private property for the property's diminished value for any taking by the state or local entity."

This legislation, officially filed as Senate File 23, appropriates $100,000 and the creation of two full-time positions to implement the program.

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