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Eminent Domain Reforms.....


Well-known member
Some of you know that I keep an eye on what the anti-airboating crowd is up to. One of my resources for this is I'm on a mailing list put out by a group of lawyers who defend property rights. There is not much anti-airboat activity with them, but some of the anti's I watch also watch this newsletter, so I do as well.

Often, there is interesting reading from the newsletter. This is one such case....

CPR Newsletter":3vrrxy1e said:
Florida Legislature Passes Eminent Domain Reforms

May 5, 2006

On Thursday, both Houses of the Florida Legislature united to send a resounding message that eminent domain abuse will not be tolerated in Florida.

HB1567/SB2168 passed unanimously in the House (113-0) and by an overwhelming margin in the Senate (37-3).

The final legislation provides a comprehensive set of restrictions on the use of eminent domain and specifically states that the prevention or elimination of a slum area or blighted area is not purpose for which private property may be taken.

Both Houses also passed HB1567/SJR626 which proposes a Constitutional Amendment to be placed on the November 2006 General Election Ballot which will give Florida voters the opportunity to place another layer of long-term protection into the Florida Constitution.

Florida property owners owe Senate President Tom Lee and House Speaker Allan Bense a debt of gratitude. They have just helped to reverse the Supreme Court's ruling on eminent domain in our State.

As soon as Governor Bush signs this legislation, Florida will have the strongest protections against eminent domain abuse in the nation.

A key issue in the final hours of debate was the issue of effective date. Seeing their window of opportunity closing, lobbyists for the municipalities (paid by our tax dollars) argued fiercely to amend the bill and to extend the effective date which would have allowed them to continue their legalized theft for 6-9 more months. Thankfully, the amendment was dismissed by Legislative leadership and the bill will become law immediately upon signature of the Governor.

In addition to the leadership of President Tom Lee and Speaker Allan Bense, several other legislators deserve special commendation for the vital roles they played in passing such strong legislation. Incoming Speaker, Representative Marco Rubio, Chair of the House Select Committee to Protect Private Property Rights, and Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee were the two leaders in each house whose individual commitment to property rights ensured the final text provided comprehensive protections.

Representative Everett Rice and Senator Burt Saunders were the primary sponsors and champions of the Constitutional Amendment. Representative Dean Cannon was another critical player in negotiating the merger of drafts between both Houses. A host of other legislators provided important input, supporting committee votes, and all who voted for the passage of this legislation deserve our thanks.

CPR (Coalition for Property Rights) would also like to take the opportunity to recognize several individuals and organizations which helped to present a united front and worked to educate legislative staff and decision-makers on specific bill language. Attorney Andy Brigham and his partners at the Brigham Moore law firm played an invaluable role in detailing specific cases of eminent domain taking place in Florida and the practical, courtroom impacts of deficiencies in existing law. Andy was also a tireless advocate for provision on effective date which would have assisted property owners who currently litigating or appealing active condemnation cases. Attorney Wade Hopping of Hopping Green & Sams law firm and Butch Calhoun of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association represented a Tallahassee-based lobbying confederation known as the Property Rights Coalition. Dana Berliner of the Institute for Justice which represented Susette Kelo, also made several trips from Washington, D.C. to provide testimony on specific bill drafts and information regarding what other states had done. Valerie Fernandez of the Pacific Legal Foundation's Atlantic Center and Bob McClure of the James Madison Institute also assisted in educating lawmakers regarding the context and impact of the Kelo decision. Members of other organizations, such as National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Florida Chamber, FreedomWorks, and the Republican Liberty Caucus also added additional muscle to this collective effort.

The impact of testimony and contacts by property owners whose homes and businesses have already been condemned or targeted for condemnation, including David Mach of Hollywood, Peter Colt of Daytona Beach, and Martha Babson of Riviera Beach, and Reverend E.J. Maddox of Boynton Beach which traveled to Tallahassee, had a tremendous impact in showing lawmakers that real Floridians were being victimized under existing law.

Perhaps most important in the process, were the tens of thousands of citizens who could not travel to Tallahassee, but were critical in passing this legislation. A special thanks to each Floridian who took the time to add volume to our collective voice by calling, writing or emailing the legislative leaders. Your actions helped to change Florida law and every citizen who stepped up should take personal pride in having influenced the passage of this legislation. And to the unsung heroes, the Legislative staffers (T.H., K.C., E.M., N.L., J.I., C.S.) who worked tirelessly to write, rewrite, analyze and re-analyze every line of every draft proposed, CPR (Coalition for Property Rights) extends our heartful appreciation for your service.

It is now up to Governor Jeb Bush to put pen to paper as soon as possible and when he does, our collective efforts will have effectively ended this glaring form of eminent domain abuse in our state.


Sounds good to me! Way to go! The Government is becoming less of an enemy with MANY people by this action. And a repeat of the questionable Shady Oaks property on Lake Kissimmee may be more difficult to slip thru in the future.

To join the mailing list where I got this, go to http://www.proprights.com/home/ and add yourself to their mailing list. They send out some interesting stuff about our rights as property owners, as well as sometimes our rights as stewards of public owned lands.

The anti's may think this stuff is useful for their side, but it is equally useful for the airboater's side as well.


This is good news! You remember my house? Just two weeks ago the county here knew this was comin and took my neighbors, (and several other hundred peoples) property across the street for a 4-lane road in the near future.

Collier County, (and Florida in general) has had the worst record of eminent domain for decades now and had to stop!

Good work!

Well, it's not as good for your neighbor as you may think, Jeff. What this one does is to make it difficult for a city or county to condem a property, grab it using Eminent Domain, then sell it for a profit to a private developer.

Roads, utilities, and stuff like that are pretty much left out of this deal. And really, roads are not so much a bad thing in the big picture. Seems we all bitch about traffic from time to time.

You can read the bill here.

The nutshell says it pretty good...
Eminent Domain; restricts certain transfers of property taken by eminent domain to certain natural persons or private entities; clarifies burden of proof for petition of condemnation; preempts power of eminent domain to state except as otherwise delegated by general law or special act; provides that prevention & elimination of slums & blight does not satisfy requirement under State Constitution that taking be for public purpose, etc. Amends FS. EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/01/2006 except as otherwise provided.

In the bill text, it says that if a city/county/state takes a property, they must own it for at least 10 years before they can sell it to a "natural person" or "private entity". This would not stop a road project, but (for example) would have prevented the City of Daytona Beach taking the businesses & property along their beach pier, and immediately selling it to a developer, purely so the city could gain more money in taxes from the higher property value.

This happens a lot in a slum or blighted area.

Here is the interesting part... I wonder if next time around, or someday in the future, we could turn Bondo loose in Tallahassee to get the word "wetlands" added there after "slums". It might keep the state from grabbing stuff like the Shady Oaks deal, where a developer may be putting upscale homes there on the shores of Lake Kissimmee.

Just a thought.

Eminent Domain is still there, but this law seems to take some of the power away from it when it comes to a developer paying off a local gov't - teasing them with the lure that they'll get higher tax revenue out of the "improved" property... Or at least makes it more of a slow-motion deal because the agency grabbing the land by using E. D. must own it for at least 10 years before they can pull off that scam.

What would be MOST interesting is to know and make public the 3 who voted AGAINST the bill !

Do we have any names for these honors??? Ballot time is time for paybacks !

I'm not 100% positive on this Scotty - Navigating thru some of those legal documents & Senate Journals is confusing TO SAY THE LEAST!!! But I think I have the info about who voted against the Eminent Domain Reform Bill

(BTW... Thanks BONDO, for showing me some of the tools I needed to teach myself on finding some of this info. If I'm wrong about these names, please guide me - it's not good to falsely accuse someone.)


The 3 who voted Nay are:

Dawson, M. Mandy :thefinger: District 29 Democrat Consists of parts of Broward, and Palm Beach counties

Siplin, Gary :thefinger: District 19 Democrat Consists of parts of Orange, and Osceola counties

Wilson, Frederica S. :thefinger: District 33 Democrat Consists of part of Miami-Dade County


I'm fortunate enough to be able to vote AGAINST Sen. Siplin... AGAIN. I've voted against him in the past. Somehow, he has a pretty good grip on the Orlando area.

It's pretty ballsy to be one of these three. Between the house & senate, it was 150 to 3. Who knows.... maybe some developer's hired thugs were gonna break their kneecaps with a baseball bat if they did not get the vote they bought. :wink:


These are the three,
Senators Dawson of Ft. Lauderdale, Siplin of Orlando, & Wilson of Miami