I want to share how impressed I am with Rep. Jim Neely, who took a stand last Wednesday to support a group of farmers and landowners who gathered in Jefferson City for a lobby day to oppose Eminent Domain abuse. About 40 of us went to the Capitol to support Rep. Nate Walker’s HB 640 and HB 795, bills that would protect the rights of property owners in Missouri. Representative Neely came out and addressed the crowd and made clear his support of our cause.
House Bill 640 would protect Missouri’s agricultural land. This bill would demand responsible routing of utilities along property lines, boundary lines or section lines to minimize land damage. It also limits the amount of PSI exerted on our soil to save our land from being permanently compacted.
House Bill 795 would discourage redundant infrastructure built only to satisfy corporate greed. The bill would require utilities to upgrade their existing infrastructure before taking any of our land to build replacements. It protects Missouri citizens from eminent domain abuse, and requires a condemner to acquire 60 percent of easements voluntarily before eminent domain can be used. This would ensure that routing is responsible and doesn’t destroy our fields and farms.
Currently, our neighboring states have stronger property rights protection than we do, and that encourages out-of-state corporations to try and take advantage of us. These bills would protect us. As we all know, our land is more than just a yard - it’s our heritage, our small businesses and often times our retirement plans. We’re glad that Representative Jim Neely is standing up to protect all we’ve worked so hard to build and preserve.