From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 40 - December 29, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Bill would impose eminent domain moratorium

by Cat Urbigkit

As the Wyoming Legislature prepares to reconvene inF ebruary, legislators have been busy working with Legislative Service Office staff in having bills drafted and prefiled. Although there are only a handful of prefiled bills at this time, they address controversial issues that have been in the news recently.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, in which the court ruled that governments have broad authority to seize private property, legislation has been proposed in both the House and Senate.

Senate Bill 26 would create a moratorium on eminent domain actions, effective immediately. Proposed by the Joint Agriculture, Public Landsand Water Resources Interim Committee, the bill would prohibit any entity authorized to use eminent domain from initiating or pursuing "condemnation or eviction actions ... when the taking will result in the property being owned or controlled by a private party."

House Bill 26 takes a different tact. Proposed by the same committee as its senate counterpart, the bill proposes to define "public use" under the eminent domain law to mean "the possession, occupation and enjoyment of the land by the general public or by a public entity." The bill prohibits the taking of private property by a governmental entity for the benefit of another private individual or private entity.

Several bills have been prefiled that deal with wildlife issues. The Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources InterimC ommittee has proposed HB30, which would prohibit the "intentional andn egligent feeding of big and trophy game animals." Violation of the law would constitute a fifth-degree misdemeanor.

Senator John Hanes and Representative Pete Illoway, both of Cheyenne, proposed SF30, which would prohibit payment for damages by big game animals unless hunting access is allowed free of charge.

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