[Vision2020] Risch Says No on Prop 2

Mark Solomon msolomon at moscow.com
Sat Sep 30 07:29:00 PDT 2006

Risch comes out against property-rights initiative

of the Lewiston Tribune

Idaho's governor said a property-rights initiative will have a 
"chilling effect" on government and is not needed to protect property 
owners from eminent domain abuses.

"I suspect probably there are people who want to see this chilling 
effect," Risch told the Lewiston Tribune Friday.

Proposition 2 has two components.

First, the initiative forbids use of eminent domain to take private 
property and turn it over to private interests. Second, the 
initiative requires governments to pay owners when regulations limit 
a property's value.

The eminent domain portion is unneeded, Risch said.

"The Legislature already did that," he said, noting House Bill 555 
passed this year.

The bill responded to a controversial 2005 U.S. Supreme Court 
decision that allowed a Connecticut city to condemn homes and turn 
the land over to private interests.

Proposition 2 merely copies portions of that law.

But the second part has sparked outcries from county and city governments.

"This new language is going to lead to a lot of litigation," Risch 
said. "I have serious reservations about that."

The initiative reads: "If an owner's ability to use, possess, sell, 
or divide private real property is limited or prohibited by the 
enactment or enforcement of any land-use law after the date of 
acquisition by the owner of the property in a manner that reduces the 
fair-market value of the property, the owner shall be entitled to 
just compensation."

Officials worry they will either have to abandon attempts to regulate 
growth or repeatedly pay big money to landowners who oppose planning 
and zoning regulations.

If zoning regulations forbid putting a junkyard next to your house, 
the city or county may have to pay the junkyard owner or repeal the 
ordinance, according to an analysis from the Idaho Association of 

So, either the junkyard goes in or the taxpayers pay to keep it out.

Opponents of the initiative point to Oregon where Measure 37, a 
similar initiative, passed in 2004.

Despite letting most landowners ignore land-use regulations, the 
state faces more than 3,000 claims totaling in the neighborhood of 
$4.5 billion.

The Idaho initiative earned a spot on the November ballot after 
conservative activist Laird Maxwell launched a $330,000 campaign to 
pay signature gatherers. New York libertarian activist Howard Rich 
has been identified as the source of much of the Idaho money and 
initiatives in other states. Similar initiatives are on the ballots 
in Washington, Montana, Nevada, Arizona and California.

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