The Missouri General Assembly, like a number of other state legislatures, undertook to reform its statutes relating to eminent domain during the 2006 legislative session. This article is the story of that effort and an analysis of the result. I write from a personal perspective. I was fortunate to have been personally involved in many of the decisions that were made as the bill, House Bill 1944, made its was through the legislative process. This opportunity was, I think, fairly unusual for a law professor; in thirty-seven years of teaching property law, I had never previously been so closely engaged in the creation of legislation, and I suspect that few of my peers have done so. Hence, I propose to write about what I think was right and wrong about the process that House Bill 1944 underwent. There are no villains in this story, but there are heroes - those who turned a potential legislative debacle into a workable and, for the most part, beneficial statute. My hope is that this story, and my analysis of its results, will be of value to legislators, lobbyists, and interest groups in other states as they attack the issue of eminent domain reform in the future. Of course, every state is different; the forces that act on legislators and the personal and political agendas they follow vary over a wide range from state to state. However, I believe there are enough commonalities that this article about the Missouri experience can help to inform the process in other states. It may also be of value to the Missouri courts, and litigants before them, when they are called upon to interpret the impact of the 2006 amendments affecting eminent domain law in Missouri.
Dale A. Whitman,
Eminent Domain Reform in Missouri: A Legislative Memoir,
71 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol71/iss3/4