House overrides Barbour's veto on eminent domain - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 03/24/09

House overrides Barbour's veto on eminent domain

By Jon Kalahar

A bill passed overwhelmingly by state lawmakers to limit the taking of public property through eminent domain was vetoed by governor Haley Barbour this morning.

He says it puts the state at a disadvantage to create new jobs and economic growth. But the bill still has a chance to pass.

A full gallery greeted state representatives as they debated whether to override Governor Haley Barbour's veto of a bill to restrict eminent domain. One onlooker was J-B Brown.

"My people were here early on, the land is sacred to us," said J.B. Brown, Stone County land owner.

Brown agrees the government's ability to take or buy private property should be limited to certain projects.

"We believe in the public good, yes, bridges, schools, roads as we always have been. Stennis was created through eminent domain because it was for the public good," said Brown.

Governor Haley Barbour vetoed the bill because he believes it will keep big job creation and economic impact projects like Nissan and Toyota from choosing Mississippi.

In his veto statement Barbour says quote:

"If a legislator wants to hurt job creation in Mississippi during this recession and forever after, a vote to override this veto is the best way to achieve that terrible outcome."

Most state lawmakers believe otherwise.

"Now if you want to tell me about Stennis and we'll never be able to do Stennis again and we'll never be able to do Tombigbee that's just not true," said Rep. Mark Baker, (R) Brandon.

"Now I don't want Walmart's rear end on my place under any circumstances, period. Certainly not by taking, certainly not by eminent domain," said Rep. Steve Holland, (D) Plantersville.

The House voted to override the Governor's veto by a vote of 99 in favor to twenty against. I'm told the Senate is expected to take up the override later this week. The Senate passed the bill the first time with no votes against House Bill 803.

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