IJ and Homeowners to Connecticut Legislators: Adopt Real Eminent Domain Reform

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · October 6, 2005

Download testimony and model legislation

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Institute for Justice, along with New London homeowners and other Connecticut citizens, will urge the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to adopt real rather than bogus eminent domain reform to protect home and small business owners.

“Connecticut has perhaps the most sweeping law in the country authorizing eminent domain for private business development, and it must be reformed to protect home and small business owners,” said Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, which represents the New London homeowners for free. “Unfortunately, most of the legislative proposals under consideration fall very far short of the mark in protecting Connecticut citizens from eminent domain abuse.”

Rather than ending eminent domain for private development, many of the draft proposals only revise planning procedures and make the government jump through a few more hoops before condemning property and handing it over to other private parties.

“Several of the proposals simply require that local governments and planning bodies produce more paperwork about a plan and its supposed economic benefits before condemning people’s homes and businesses,” Bullock noted. “The bills should be labeled Full Employment for Planners acts. More planning is no solution to eminent domain abuse, and it will not prevent the use of eminent domain for private commercial development.”

Upon invitation of the Committee, Bullock will submit model legislation and urge the committee to consider it. He also offered praise for another proposal before the committee (Proposal No. 33) that would eliminate the use of eminent domain solely for private business development. Bullock added that this proposal should be taken a step further to reform Connecticut’s urban renewal law to make sure it too is not used as a back-door way of taking ordinary neighborhoods for private business development.

The Judiciary Committee’s public hearing on eminent domain abuse begins at 2 p.m. today in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Bullock’s testimony is available at:

IJ’s model legislation for Connecticut is available at: