Witnesses are asked to provide a written copy of their testimony at the time they testify. Depending on the number of people who want to testify, oral presentations may be limited to five or ten minutes per person to allow task force members the opportunity to hear from all parties represented. In addition, written testimony may be submitted at any time to Terry Jarrett, task force chair, in care of the governor's office.
Blunt formed the task force in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London that deals with eminent domain and the government's right to use eminent domain to acquire private property for public use. Blunt's executive order asks the group to:
Study the use of eminent domain, especially when the proposed public use of the property being acquired by eminent domain is not directly owned or primarily used by the general public.
Analyze current state and federal laws governing eminent domain and recommending any changes that would enhance the effectiveness of these laws.
Develop a definition of "public use" that allows state and local governments to use eminent domain when there is a clear and direct public purpose while at the same time ensuring that individual property rights are preserved.
Develop criteria to be applied by state and local governments when the use of eminent domain is being proposed.
Recommend specific eminent domain legislation for possible consideration by the Missouri General Assembly.
During their first meeting, the task force reviewed eminent domain law and procedure in Missouri, divided into four subgroups (urban, rural/suburban, legislative and procedure) and defined major areas for review (the definition of "blight"; the definition of "public use"; just compensation; and judicial review and procedures). The next task force meeting is Thursday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m., in House Hearing Room 7, at the Capitol.