On Tuesday, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected a broad interpretation of eminent domain in the state.
While acknowledging the need for the state to have the right of eminent domain when building highways and public institutions, the Mississippi Farm Bureau lauded the vote count. “It is clear that Mississippians feel very strongly about protecting their private property rights,” said Farm Bureau President Randy Knight. “We’ve felt all along that the best way to promote economic development is with a willing buyer and a willing seller. The people of Mississippi obviously agree.”
In a recent report on the eminent domain scuffle, Hembree Brandon wrote “Mississippi was one of only a handful of states in the nation without such safeguards following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that opened the way for private property to be taken under eminent domain for private development.”
For more, see Mississippi vote upcoming on eminent domain reform.
The vote came only after several earlier attempts to strengthen the state’s private property right laws and a petition drive “spearheaded by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation,” according to Brandon. The drive “resulted in almost 120,000 signatures asking that the issue be included on the ballot. Only about 90,000 were needed to comply with voting regulations.”
A recent Delta Farm Press online poll foreshadowed the vote’s outcome.