“This legislation will confirm again our citizens’ clear voice in the Constitution that property rights are sacred in Mississippi,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said.

Last week, the Mississippi Senate introduced a resolution that would prohibit the state or local governments from taking private property through eminent domain. 

The rules were suspended to introduce SCR 583 which was co-authored by Senators Briggs Hopson, Dennis DeBar and Tyler McCaughn.

“This legislation will confirm again our citizens’ clear voice in the Constitution that property rights are sacred in Mississippi,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said.

The resolution specifically deals with Article 3, Section 17A of the Mississippi Constitution. The constitutional provision prohibits the state or local governments from taking private property through eminent domain and conveying it to private entities for a period of 10 years. Exemptions are provided for levee facilities, road, bridge, ports, airports, common carriers, drainage facilities and utilities.

Eminent Domain prohibitions were originally passed through a ballot initiative. Initiative 31 was proposed to voters during the 2011 general election when current Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann was serving as Secretary of State. The initiative passed and it was written into the state constitution.

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However, questions began on the validity of former ballot initiatives when the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against the most recent Initiative 65 regarding Medical Marijuana and the way in which it was certified for the ballot. Some groups that were supporters of the original medical marijuana program threatened lawsuits against other former initiatives if it was not upheld.

If SCR 583 passes in the House and Senate it will amend the state’s constitution to ensure if future lawsuits are brought against Initiative 31, eminent domain will remain.

The resolution was passed in the Senate unanimously. The House could suspend the rules and take it up anytime.