California legislators are considering two laws that relate to eminent domain seizure of private property, in the wake of the controversial 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Kelo v. New London) in June that backed the authority of a municipality to buy up and tear down homes to make way for a redevelopment project. One of the bills, Assembly Bill 590, was first proposed in February as a housing-discrimination measure but was radically amended in July as primarily a bill relating to eminent domain laws. This bill provides that, while eminent domain may be exercised to acquire property only for a public use, "In the exercise of eminent domain, 'public use' does not include the taking or damaging of property for private use, including, but not limited to, the condemnation of non-blighted property for private business development." On Aug. 15 the bill was re-referred for consideration by a Housing and Community Development committee. The other bill, Senate Constitutional Amendment 15,...
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