A small church in Sand Springs has become the rallying point for circulators of the state's eminent domain petition. A fund-raising letter implying the city of Sand Springs is using last year's Supreme Court decision to take three churches, several businesses, some small homes and a school is making the rounds to Oklahoma voters.

Oklahomans in Action, and partner group Americans for Limited Government, are raising money to help efforts to get a November statewide vote changing Oklahoma eminent domain laws. It would define "public use" in hopes of prohibiting governments from taking land that ultimately would be used for commercial purposes.

Petitioners delivered more than enough signatures to the state earlier this year. A statewide vote on SQ 729 has been called for November. Several business groups have asked the Supreme Court to throw out the petition. In addition, several Oklahoma lawmakers have filed bills spelling out what can and can't be done under Oklahoma's eminent domain laws.

The state Chamber of Commerce and Oklahoma City's Chamber of Commerce have taken a stand against the initiative petition. An OKC chamber vice president, quoted in a chamber press release, said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the New London, Conn., case is not relevant to Oklahoma.

"We strongly believe in protecting the individual rights of the property owner. But we also believe the current Oklahoma statutes dealing with eminent domain are just that," said David Rainbolt, the vice president.

Many legal experts have said Oklahoma's eminent domain laws are some of the strongest in the nation. Uses are clearly spelled out and the Constitution change is not necessary.

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you