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August 04, 2005   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 04, 2005

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby, front right, joins Gov. Bob Riley for the signing of a new law limiting the use of eminent domain as Rep. Mac Gipson, R-Prattville and Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery, look on.
MONTGOMERY-- Governor Bob Riley signed a law Aug. 3 that gives Alabamians the strongest private property rights in the nation.

In a ceremony in the State Capitol's historic Old House Chamber, the governor called the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling on property rights "misguided" and a "threat to all property owners."

"In response, a property rights revolt is sweeping the nation and Alabama is leading it," Riley said, noting that press reports say Alabama is the first state in the nation to pass a new law in response to the high court's June 23 decision in Kelo vs. City of New London. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that local governments could seize homes for private development.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby and other Federation leaders joined Riley for the signing, as did key legislators who shepherded the bill through the House and Senate. A much stronger bill than was originally introduced passed the Legislature after a organized grassroots effort initiated by the Federation. Newby called on the governor to support a constitutional amendment in the near future that would further protect private property rights.

At least eight other states had already passed laws before the court's ruling that forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development unless it is to eliminate blight.

"Alabamians can rest assured that their homes, their farms, their businesses and other private property are safe from being seized by government for a shopping center or a factory, an office building or new residential development. With this new landmark law on the books, Alabamians will have the strongest property protections in America," said Riley.

"What our new law does is restore the level of protection that existed prior to the Supreme Court's ruling in June," Riley said. "That ruling is a reminder of the awesome power that activist judges have, and unfortunately use, to rewrite our Constitution. What Alabama is doing with this new law I just signed counteracts that ruling."

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