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Mass. bill would limit public domain

UPI | August 10 2005

Massachusetts legislators are considering a bill that would limit the power of the local governments take private property.

The measure, like similar legislation across the country, follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that New London, Conn., could seize a non-blighted group of homes from their longtime owners to make way for a large development project to improve the local tax base.

In Massachusetts, local officials and their organizations oppose the law, which would limit the use of eminent domain to areas declared blighted.

"You have to feel for people who want to stay in their homes and like where they are," Geoff Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association told the Boston Globe. "But if an area has lost thousands of jobs and developing that area would create thousands of jobs and commerce in a community, there is a broader public interest.

Rep. Bradley H. Jones, the state House Republican leader, has introduced the measure as both a bill and an amendment to the state constitution.

''We had a revolution that started in Massachusetts a long time ago because we didn't want a sovereign making arbitrary decisions without our involvement," Jones said


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