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HB 1166: Hubbel Takes Away Individual Property Rights

Not satisfied with criminalizing enforcement of federal law, Rep. Lora Hubbel (R-11/Sioux Falls) decides she needs to take away some of your property rights. Hubbel has floated House Bill 1166, which says you can't sell your land to the federal government... at least not in chunks of 30 acres or more, and not without permission of your county commission.

I take it this bill has some intent to poke a finger in the federal government's eye and perhaps block true environmentalists from creating a permanent conservation zone by transferring their land U.S. Fish and Wildlife or the National Park Service. Hubbel probably thinks she is striking some grand anti-government stand here. Instead, her bill degrades individual rights. Check out this disturbing Kelo-style language in Section 4 of HB 1166:

Section 4. At the public meeting, the board of county commissioners shall solicit and consider any relevant testimony concerning whether or not the transfer of the parcel of real property is in the best interest of the people of the county and surrounding affected areas including:

  1. Whether the property is to be used for its best and highest purpose;
  2. Whether the property transfer is likely to adversely impact the economy, environment, or tax base;
  3. Whether the parties to the property transfer are open to expressions of public concern and are responsive to such of those public concerns as may be reasonably, economically, and effectively addressed; and
  4. Whether the property transfer is in the broader public interest.

The board of county commissioners is entitled to consider the failure of either party to the property transfer to appear at the public hearing as evidence that the transfer is not in the public interest. and highest purpose... adversely impact the tax base... those are the kind of words that the Supreme Court used to justify taking away Suzette Kelo's house and handing it to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, just because Pfizer promised to use the land to make more money (a promise the corporation failed to fulfill after destroying the neighborhood).

Hubbel's bill appears to violate the Commerce Clause, which one would think would permit landowners to sell their land to whomever they want, including the federal government. HB 1166 also creates a strange appeal system: if you wanted to sell your back forty to Fish & Wildlife and the county commission said no, and if you wanted to appeal, you wouldn't take the county commission to court; Hubbel would have you bring your appeal to her and the rest of the Legislature, which would have to pass a bill to grant your sale over the objection of your county commission. Once again, Hubbel is confusing the duties of the legislative branch with the duties of the judicial branch.

HB 1166, just like HB 1165, demonstrates that Rep. Lora Hubbel does not understand the Constitution. Next crackerbarrel, District 11 neighbors, be sure to bring copies of the Constitution for Rep. Hubbel's enlightenment.

One Comment

  1. Thad Wasson 2011.01.26

    This bill is aimed at Sen. Adelstein. He has property in the Black Hills that he sold to the government, not to the feds but to South Dakota.

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