SC governor Sanford signs eminent domain legislation

By: Lynnsey Gardner
By: Lynnsey Gardner

If the government wants to take your land, it may be harder for them to do it--at least in South Carolina.

Governor Mark Sanford visited Aiken Monday, June 26 to sign a new bill on eminent domain.

The Supreme Court says the government can take your land any time it wants to. But South Carolina's Governor Sanford and Senator Ryberg are taking a strong stand against the high court's decision.

Sanford and Ryberg spoke briefly at a press conference Monday morning. Both talked about the need to protect the rights of individuals after a controversial decision by the high court last year.

That judicial decision gave government vast power in the area of eminent domain, meaning the seizure of private land for public use.

Sanford believes the state should make the guidelines far narrower. The new South Carolina law creates a study committee to research eminent domain and the scope of these powers at the local government level.

"We ought to very carefully define eminent domain. Number one, who can take property. Two, when they can take it. And three, why they can take it. All three remain undefined in South Carolina," Sanford said.

The Supreme Court's controversial decision has been a hot topic in many state legislatures. Currently, 35 other states are working to strengthen their eminent domain statutes. Alabama and Texas both called a special legislative session to deal with this particular issue.


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