Governor Doyle dropped his recurring “Dr. No” persona long enough to sign Assembly Bill 657 into law, establishing property rights protection destroyed by the abysmally bad Kelo vs. New London US Supreme Court Decision in June 2005. After defining the term “blighted” the essential sentence reads as follows:
2005 Wisconsin Act 233: Property that is not blighted property may not be acquired by condemnation by an entity authorized to condemn property under s. 32.02 (1) or (11) if the condemnor intends to convey or lease the acquired property to a private entity.The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, fresh from their attempt to use government power to take consumer freedom of choice from Wisconsin residents, are rejoicing now that Wisconsin farmland can not be taken by the government and given to Biotech Research Park developers, New Urbanist high density condo builders, or Wal-Mart Super Centers.
New Law Will Protect Against Government Taking: Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Connecticut law condemning private property and turning that property to another private owner for economic development was constitutional. “That ruling showed that Wisconsin needed to change our condemnation law to protect private property from being taken by governments,” said Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director of Governmental Relations with the Farm Bureau. “No one should be forced by government to give up their private property just for the sake of economic development.”Before the farmers get to hopped up on ethanol fueled celebration it should be pointed out that if Kathleen Falk or the DNR decide they want a piece of "ecologically sensitive" private land, they may well be able to manipulate a seizure of ownership. This updating of the statues is a good and necessary step, but this is just one small skirmish in the eternal struggle between the right of the greater power to take assets and the right of the individual to say “no”.