Eminent domain will be on November ballots

JACKSON, MS (AP) - A judge has ruled that an initiative to restrict eminent domain can go on the Mississippi ballot this November. In a decision released late Friday, Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd said the proposal does not conflict with the state constitution's bill of rights.

It was not immediately clear whether Jackson businessman Leland Speed will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Speed is head of the Mississippi Development Authority, but was acting as a private citizen when he filed a lawsuit seeking to block the proposed amendment to the state constitution. He says it would hurt job creation. Governments use eminent domain to take private land.

The initiative, pushed by the Mississippi Farm Bureau, says state or local government could not take land for private economic development projects.

Farm Bureau president Randy Knight reacted to the decision by saying, "More than 120,000 Mississippians signed the petition to get this initiative on the ballot.  It isn't right for one person to try to stop it.  Mississippians need to go to the polls on November 8 and vote YES on Initiative 31 to stop eminent domain abuse."

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