senate Bill S1925

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Creates a temporary commission on eminent domain; appropriation

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 21, 2012 committed to rules
Jun 04, 2012 advanced to third reading
May 31, 2012 2nd report cal.
May 30, 2012 1st report cal.950
Jan 04, 2012 referred to finance
Jan 14, 2011 referred to finance

Votes

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May 30, 2012 - Finance committee Vote

S1925
27
1
committee
27
Aye
1
Nay
5
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
2
Excused
0
Abstained
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S1925 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Appropriations
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S795

S1925 - Bill Texts

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Creates a temporary commission on eminent domain reform to examine, evaluate and make recommendations concerning the scope and effectiveness of eminent domain procedure laws and the use of such power by public entities; makes a $100,000 appropriation to fund such temporary commission.

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BILL NUMBER:S1925

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to
provide for the creation of a
temporary state commission to examine eminent domain laws and make
recommendations for further reforms;
and making an appropriation
therefor

PURPOSE:
The intent of this legislation is to establish a temporary commission
on eminent domain reform to examine, evaluate, and make
recommendations concerning the scope and effectiveness of the eminent
domain procedure law.

SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION:
Section 1.
1. A temporary commission on eminent domain reform is hereby created
to examine, evaluate, and make recommendations concerning the scope
and effectiveness of the eminent domain procedure law.

2. Defines specifics that the commission shall examine at least the
following: (a) the appropriate constitutional standard for
condemnation proceedings for economic development purposes; (b) the
procedural fairness of the eminent domain procedure laws, including
statutory definitions thereunder; (c) the need for the creation of an
eminent domain ombudsman to serve as an independent office to
safeguard the rights of property owners and provide information
regarding the eminent domain procedure law; and (d) just compensation
provided to affected property owners.

3. The commission shall consist of thirteen members. Seven members
will be appointed by the governor, three shall be representatives of
local governments and three shall be property rights advocates to be
appointed by and with the advice and consent of the senate; two
members to be appointed by the temporary president of the senate; two
members to be appointed by the speaker of the assembly; one member to
be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; one member to be
appointed by the minority leader of the assembly.

4. The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for
their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary
expenses incurred in the performance of their duties there under.

5. The commission shall begin to act ninety days after the effective
date of this act. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members
of the commission entitled to vote on the matter under consideration.

Approval of any matter shall require the affirmative vote of a
majority of the members voting thereon.

6. The commission may employ and at pleasure remove such personnel as
it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions and fix
their compensation within the amounts made available therefore.


7. The commission may meet within and without the state, shall hold
public hearings, and shall have all the powers of a legislative
committee pursuant to the legislative law.

8. The commission shall submit its findings and recommendations in a
report to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, and
the speaker of the assembly not later than one year after it first
convenes.

Section 2. Appropriates a minimum sum of one hundred thousand dollars
to the commission to pay the costs incurred in carrying out its duties.
Such moneys shall be payable out of the state treasury in the general
fund to the credit of the state purposes account after audit by and
on the warrant of the comptroller upon vouchers certified or approved
by the chairperson or vice-chairperson of the commission as
prescribed by law.

Section 3. Effective date.

EXISTING LAW:
None.

JUSTIFICATION:
The United States Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. The City of New
London, enabled the City of New London to condemn and take private
property by the use of eminent domain and transfer ownership to a
private developer to further an economic development plan for the
city. This decision has raised questions on whether legislative
action should be taken in New York State to address to the Supreme
Court's ruling.

In response to these questions and concerns, the Senate Committee on
Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business in conjunction
with the Senate Committee on Local Governments held hearings
throughout the State on the issue of eminent domain. The statewide
hearings were designed to assess the benefits and shortcomings of our
current system with an eye towards a comprehensive eminent domain
package that would balance the need to preserve a limited power of
eminent domain for local governments with the demand to secure the
rights of property owners.

Although each geographic region highlighted different concerns, two
themes were consistent throughout the State. First, New York's
eminent domain law is not significantly affected by the Supreme Court
decision. Second, the State and its citizens would benefit from a
more intensive evaluation of the technical issues within the eminent
domain law to determine whether modifications are necessary.

This legislation addresses these issues by creating a temporary
commission on eminent domain reform. The temporary commission on
eminent
domain reform will consist of experts familiar to both sides of the
eminent domain issue, The commission will examine, evaluate, and make
recommendations concerning the Scope and effectiveness of the eminent
domain procedure law. Particularly, this commission will further
study issues that may require adjustment such as the definitions of
"blight" and "public use," These issues are severely technical in


nature. Therefore, it is important that experts in this field
carefully define key terms in order to prevent unintended consequences.

Economic development improves the lives of all New Yorkers by
increasing the tax base, creating new jobs and improving the economy
as a whole.
Although eminent domain is a valuable economic development tool,
protections are necessary to ensure that individuals are not stripped
of their inalienable right to own property. Thus, this legislation
makes some necessary changes to the compensation afforded to
displaced property owners to assure a greater degree of fairness in
the condemnation process. By creating a commission on eminent domain
reform, this legislation carefully evaluates the eminent domain issue
so that proper technical adjustments can be made in the future. We,
as a State, have spent a great deal of time and resources making New
York a better place to live and do business. We cannot act hastily
with such an intricate and important issue. That is why, this
legislation takes a pragmatic, but necessary, approach towards the
overall goal of balancing the needs of our local governments with the
rights of our citizens to own property.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2005-06: S.8390 - Passed Senate.
2007-08: Passed Senate.
2009: Referred to Finance
2010: Discharged from Finance; Committed to
Corporations, Authorities and Commissions

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately; provided further that the
temporary state Commission established pursuant to subsection one of
this act shall expire and be terminated on the first day next
succeeding the date of the submission of its report as provided in
subsection eight of section one of this act; and provided further,
however that the chairperson of the temporary commission on eminent
domain reform shall notify the legislative bill drafting commission
upon the submission of its report as provided for in subsection eight
of section one of this act in order that the commission may maintain
an accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of
the laws of the state of New York in furtherance of effecting the
provisions of section 44 of the legislative law and section 70-b of
the public officers law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1925

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 14, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  ALESI  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance

AN ACT to provide for the creation of a temporary  state  commission  to
  examine  eminent  domain  laws  and  make  recommendations for further
  reforms; and making an appropriation therefor

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  A temporary commission on eminent domain reform is hereby
created to examine, evaluate, and make  recommendations  concerning  the
scope and effectiveness of the eminent domain procedure law.
  1.  Legislative  findings and intent. The legislature hereby finds and
declares that eminent domain is an important tool for government to move
forward on important public projects. However, there needs to be a thor-
ough examination of the eminent domain procedure law to determine if any
changes need to be made to current law to clarify the rights of property
owners.  There needs to be a balance between the needs  of  society  and
the  constitutional  power  of government to exercise its eminent domain
powers, and the  constitutional  liberty  and  property  rights  of  the
people.
  2.  A  temporary  state  commission,  to be known as the commission on
eminent domain reform, hereinafter referred to  as  the  commission,  is
hereby created to examine, evaluate, and make recommendations concerning
the  scope and effectiveness of the eminent domain procedure law and the
legislature's grant to certain public and other entities to exercise the
power of eminent domain. Specifically the commission  shall  examine  at
least the following:
  (a)   the   appropriate   constitutional   standard  for  condemnation
proceedings used for economic development purposes;
  (b) the procedural fairness of  the  eminent  domain  procedure  laws,
including statutory definitions thereunder;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06832-01-1

S. 1925                             2

  (c)  the need for the creation of an eminent domain ombudsman to serve
as an independent office to safeguard the rights of property owners  and
provide information regarding the eminent domain procedure law; and
  (d) just compensation provided to affected property owners.
  3.  The  commission shall consist of thirteen members, to be appointed
as follows: seven members to be appointed  by  the  governor;  three  of
which  shall  be representatives of local governments and three shall be
property rights advocates to be appointed by and  with  the  advice  and
consent  of  the  senate;  two  members to be appointed by the temporary
president of the senate; two members to be appointed by the  speaker  of
the  assembly;  one member to be appointed by the minority leader of the
senate; one member to be appointed by the minority leader of the  assem-
bly.    The appointees shall have demonstrated expertise in the field of
eminent domain law. The governor shall  designate  the  chairperson  and
vice-chairperson  of  the commission. Vacancies in the membership of the
commission and among its officers shall be filled in the manner provided
for original appointments or designations.  The legislative leaders  and
the  governor  shall  make  his or her appointments no later than ninety
days after the effective date of this act. If any  such  appointment  is
not  made  by such date, the appointing officer may make the appointment
after such date, but the vacant appointment shall not count  for  calcu-
lation of a quorum until it is filled. Vacancies in the commission shall
be filled in the same manner as the member whose vacancy is being filled
was appointed.
  4.  The  members  of  the commission shall receive no compensation for
their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses
incurred in the performance of their duties hereunder.  To  the  maximum
extent feasible, the commission shall be entitled to request and receive
and  shall  utilize and be provided with such facilities, resources, and
data of any court, department, division, board, bureau,  commission,  or
agency  of  the  state  or any political subdivision thereof as it deems
necessary or desirable to carry out properly its powers and duties here-
under.
  5.  The commission shall begin to act ninety days after the  effective
date of this act. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members of
the  commission  entitled  to  vote  on  the matter under consideration.
Approval of any matter shall require the affirmative vote of a  majority
of the members voting thereon.
  6.  The commission may employ and at pleasure remove such personnel as
it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions and fix their
compensation within the amounts made available therefor.
  7. The commission may meet within and without the  state,  shall  hold
public  hearings, and shall have all the powers of a legislative commit-
tee pursuant to the legislative law.
  8. The commission shall submit its findings and recommendations  in  a
report  to  the governor, the temporary president of the senate, and the
speaker of the assembly not later than one year after it first convenes.
  S 2. The sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000),  or  so  much
thereof  as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated to pay the expenses
incurred, including personal service, in carrying out the provisions  of
subdivision six of section one of this act. Such moneys shall be payable
out of the state treasury in the general fund to the credit of the state
purposes  account  after  audit by and on the warrant of the comptroller
upon vouchers certified or approved by the chairperson or vice-chairper-
son of the commission as prescribed by law.

S. 1925                             3

  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately; provided further that the
temporary state commission established pursuant to section one  of  this
act  shall expire and be terminated on the first day next succeeding the
date of the submission of its report as provided in subdivision eight of
section  one  of this act; and provided further, however that the chair-
person of the temporary commission on eminent domain reform shall notify
the legislative bill drafting commission  upon  the  submission  of  its
report  as  provided for in subdivision eight of section one of this act
in order that the commission may maintain an accurate and timely  effec-
tive data base of the official text of the laws of the state of New York
in furtherance of effecting the provisions of section 44 of the legisla-
tive law and section 70-b of the public officers law.

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