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Nevada restricts eminent domain, Ohio recognizes private property water rights

[JURIST] Voters in Nevada Tuesday approved [unofficial results] a ballot initiative that would restrict the state's ability to use eminent domain law to acquire private property. The initiative [Question 2 text, PDF] includes amendments to the Nevada State Constitution [text] which provides that all property rights are fundamentally constitutional, that property transfers between private parties is not public use, that property must be valued at the use which yield the highest value, and other provisions which deal with the process of taking and valuing property for eminent domain. The ballot measure was originally voted on in 2006 [JURIST report] in the wake of the US Supreme Court 2005 ruling in Kelo v. New London [opinion text; JURIST report] that private redevelopment conferring economic benefits on a community qualifies as a "public use" allowing local governments to expropriate private property under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. In Nevada's system for approving ballot measures an initiative must be approved in two consecutive elections in order for it to be enacted.

Meanwhile in Ohio, voters Tuesday approved [unofficial results] a ballot initiative [Issue 3 text, PDF] approving an amendment to the Ohio Constitution [text] explicitly saying that a private property owner has a property right in the reasonable use of the ground water underneath such property owner's land, and in the reasonable use of lakes or watercourses located on or flowing through such property owner's land. The amendment is set to take effect on December 1, 2008.

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