Wednesday, October 25, 2006

California Property Rights

Prop. 90 is an initiative measure on the California ballot. It is partly addressed to the "public use" issue raised in the Supreme Court's Kelo decision. It also makes a variety of other changes in eminent domain law.

More significantly, Prop. 90 also addresses regulatory takings. It requires compensation whenever a government action significantly decreases property value, subject to some exceptions. One of the exceptions is a grandfather clause for existing rules; another allows regulation for public health or safety.

Prop. 90 is remarkably ambiguous and vague. Thus, if it is adopted, its effect on environmental regulation in California is difficult to predict. If given broad sweep by the California courts, it could make certain kinds of environmental regulation substantially more difficult. At the very least, Prop. 90 will be a fertile source of litigation, keeping lawyers busy and well paid for years to come.

To find out more about Prop. 90, you might want to look at the white paper (here) issued by the California Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CCELP).

1 Comments:

Anonymous Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

I've grown rather weary of the number of ballot initiatives that appear every election, and am not too fond of legislation by the initiative process; after all, presumably we've elected others to craft the necessary legislation and resort to initiatives should therefore be relatively rare, constrained by appropriate conditions. Voters often lack the expertise and time to make appropriate decisions on ballot initiatives.

In short, I agree with your remarks, and believe Prop. 90 is symptomatic of a larger problem (and an even larger problem: a penchant for populism).

10/25/2006 11:52 AM  

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