Senator Kissel Encouraged with Legislative Progress on Eminent Domain Issue

July 15, 2005

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) is encouraged with talks between Republican and Democratic lawmakers regarding potential informational hearings on eminent domain. The issue has been brought to the forefront of both the state and national scenes following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the case of Kelo v. The City of New London , where the Court’s ruling allowed the City of New London to seize public property for use in a privately-owned economic development project. Legislators are hoping to schedule informational hearings on the issue in front of the members of both the Judiciary Committee and the Planning and Development Committee for the week of July.

“I am highly encouraged by the conversations I have had thus far with my Democratic colleagues,” said
Senator Kissel, who serves as Ranking Senator on the Judiciary Committee. “I am confident that both Republicans and Democrats are prepared to draft necessary adjustments to the state’s eminent domain laws once the issue has be properly studied.”

The informational hearing, as currently contemplated, may include several panels that will each provide legislators with a variety of perspectives on eminent domain. One panel’s aim would be to clarify the New London case while another would consist of local municipal officials from towns that have already acted on this issue. A potential third panel would include perspectives from developers as well as town and city planners.

“I anticipate the informational hearings to provide us with the necessary background so that we as legislators can then craft several comprehensive proposals on this issue,” explained Senator Kissel.

“After the public has time to read and analyze the various legislative proposals, a public hearing is anticipated to be held where citizens from across the state as well as state officials can offer their thoughts and perspectives regarding the direction the state should take. This is a fair and open process and is the best way for the state to sufficiently address eminent domain.”

Senator Kissel is a Deputy Minority Leader and is serving his seventh term representing East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.