Jackson businessman wants Eminent Domain off Nov. ballot - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson businessman wants Eminent Domain off Nov. ballot

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Leland Speed Leland Speed
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The issue of eminent domain will soon be debated in the courts.

A Jackson businessman is fighting to prevent the initiative from appearing on the November ballot.

Leland Speed has filed suit in Hinds County Circuit Court to keep the Eminent Domain Initiative off the November 8th ballot.

Speed, who is also Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said he is acting as a private citizen.

"We don't have a problem," Speed said. "We don't have victims."

The business leader said the unconstitutional measure will be detrimental to future economic development projects like the Nissan and Toyota plants.

"When you look at the implications of what we're talking about and the fact that we have a system in Mississippi to prevent that as it presently exists, it worked," Speed said. "We've got it right in Mississippi."

Eminent Domain allows government to take possession of private land for use in projects like industrial development to road construction.

Last September, the Mississippi Farm Bureau spear headed an effort that gathered more than 119,000 signatures to propose an amendment to the constitution that would only permit Eminent Domain for roads, schools and waterways.

"While some citizens may think this is irrelevant, other citizens think it's very important, 120,000 do," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. "I think it's a good process to go through to have the citizens address specific concerns, put them on the ballot and have citizens decide."

In March of 2009, Governor Haley Barbour's veto of an Eminent Domain bill narrowly avoided an override by senators.

Governor Barbour said the measure would have severely limited job creation and the prospects of landing large manufacturing projects.

The hearing is scheduled for July 25th.

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