Eminent domain threatens Washington State’s port land; Bill sponsored by ten Democrat legislators
By Lois Krafsky-Perry
Citizen Review (citizenreviewonline.org)
February 12, 2007
Ten Democrat Washington State legislators have submitted bills to the legislature to authorize port districts throughout the state, to condemn property for tourism development.
The Bills, which are still in committees, ask that any port district in this state, acting through its commission has power to extend moneys and conduct promotion of resources and facilities in the district or general area, by advertising publicizing, or otherwise distributing information to attract visitors and encourage tourism expansion.
Any port district is authorized either individually or jointly with any other municipality, or person, or any combination thereof, to acquire and to operate tourism-related facilities. [“Municipality” includes a port district]
Critics of the bills are concerned that the rights of eminent domain would apply to land within and without the boundaries of the state’s 75 public port districts, and state law requires municipalities to make just compensation for condemned property. They are concerned also that Washington state does not require payment of an added premium to discourage abuse of such power, as some other states do.
Senate Bill sponsors for SB 5339 are Derek Kilmer, Jim Kastama, Phil Rockefeller, and Marilyn Rasmussen.
Senate Bill 5339 --- An act relating to authorizing the acquisition and operation of tourism-related facilities by port districts; and amending RCW 53.08.255.
A public hearing, for the Senate bill was held in Olympia February 2, 2007. It was read for the first time January 17, 2007 and referred to Committees on Economic Develolpment, Trade & Management.
The accompanying House Bill 1372 is sponsored by Representatives Christine Rolfes, Sherry Appleton, Geoff Simpson, Kathy Haigh, Larry Seaquist, and Jeannie Darnell. A public hearing for the house bill was held in Olympia January 25, 2007. It remains in House Committee on local Government
To address these bills you may phone 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for your legislators.