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July 15th, 2010 — By — In News & Events

New Missouri law requires greater public notice concerning local government meetings on eminent domain and other issues

On Tuesday, July 13, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed into law Senate Bill 851 and House Bill 1444, which contain identical provisions that require local governmental bodies to provide at least four days’ public notice before meetings on eminent domain, tax increases or redevelopment plans financed with public funds can take place. Additionally, the new law prohibits voting on such items prior to allowing the public to comment on these items.

Missouri’s current law requires only 24-hour notice for such meetings or votes to take place. The new law requiring 4-days advance public notice goes into effect Aug. 28, 2010.

KY3 News reports here that some supporters of the bills argued that city officials sometimes give developers more notice than the general public when they consider development incentives. As a 24THSTATE blogger points out, with the additional 3 days notice, this law enables the public to participate in such governmental meetings on topics concerning tax increases, redevelopment plans and projects for which eminent domain would be utilized. With 4 days advance notice, Missouri’s citizens might have a chance to actually attend such meetings, speak out for or against the use of public funds for such projects and perhaps, be on a more level playing field with developers and others who might have a more direct contact with the local government officials.

Update: See also Alan Ackerman’s blog here – Alan points out the Due Process issue that arises when government entities and public agencies are not required to provide notice to an owner who’s property is slated to be taken by eminent domain. (Disclosure: Alan Ackerman is the Michigan Member of OCA.)