50 State Report Card

Tracking Eminent Domain Reform Legislation Since Kelo

In the years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s now-infamous decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 44 states have passed new laws aimed at curbing the abuse of eminent domain for private use.

Given that significant reform on most issues takes years to accomplish, the horrible state of most eminent domain laws, and that the defenders of eminent domain abuse—cities, developers and planners—have flexed their considerable political muscle to preserve the status quo, this is a remarkable and historic response to the most reviled Supreme Court decision of our time.

Of course, more work remains to be done, in both state legislatures and Congress, to protect homes, businesses, churches, and farms. Indeed, because some states have not passed reforms, and because many reforms are incomplete, it is important to take a step back and evaluate the work that has been done and is left to do. Some states have passed model reforms that can serve as an example for others. Some states enacted nominal reform—possibly because of haste, oversight, or compromise—and need to know what is left to fix. And finally, there are those states that have failed to act altogether, leaving home, farm, and business owners threatened by Kelo-type takings and beyond.


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