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McKenna-Gregoire Eminent Domain Notice bill up for hearing t - 92 legislators sign on to bills in House and Senate

Jan. 25, 2007

News Release from Rob McKenna

OLYMPIA, WA – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear a bill providing landowners increased opportunity to protect their homes from condemnation today. The hearing will be live on TVW at 3:30 p.m.

The bill, requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna and Governor Chris Gregoire, and sponsored by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood and 36 other senators from both parties, is the first of two companion bills on eminent domain notice to be heard in the Legislature this year.

A total of 92 legislators from both chambers signed on in support of the bills, which require government bodies to notify homeowners when they are deciding on whether or not to condemn the homeowner’s property.

“It’s not asking too much to require that a $4.64 certified letter be sent to property owners who may have their property taken without their consent,” McKenna said. “Condemnations are critical decisions that can affect people’s homes and businesses, and this bill will ensure that property owners receive timely notice that such an important decision is being considered.”

“Washington families and business owners should be notified in a timely matter if their property may be condemned," Gregoire said. "We must act with compassion and respect when dealing with a situation like this that is personal and sensitive for families."

The joint-request bills require that a certified letter be sent to property owners and that a legal notice be published in a local newspaper of record, each describing when the agency’s governing body will be holding an open public meeting to consider the condemnation decision.

The bill is a response to the case of Sound Transit v. Miller from February of this year, where the state Supreme Court upheld Sound Transit’s argument that information on a web page was adequate to notify Mr. Miller that a decision to condemn his property was being considered by the Sound Transit Board.

“The Miller family lives in my district, but this bill isn't just for them,” Carrell said. “This bill is for all of those families who are living their lives and expecting the government will notify them before attempting to seize their property.  A lot of people, especially older people, don’t even own a computer, will not use a computer or simply don’t have the time.  How are they ever going to know if it was their property?  For all of us, particularly for the seniors of this state, we just can't let this stand."

SB 5444 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, in Senate Hearing Rm 1, J.A. Cherberg Building in Olympia.


Janelle Guthrie, Communications Director, Office of Attorney General Rob McKenna, 360-586-0725
Kristin Jacobsen, Deputy Press Secretary, Office of Governor Chris Gregoire, 360-902-4122



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