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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 542         FILED ON: 1/16/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 783


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Richard J. Ross


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act requiring that eminent domain be for the public use and defining public use.






Richard J. Ross

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex

Bruce E. Tarr

First Essex and Middlesex

Robert L. Hedlund

Plymouth and Norfolk

Michael R. Knapik

Second Hampden and Hampshire

Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

20th Middlesex

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 542        FILED ON: 1/16/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 783

By Mr. Ross, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 783) of Richard J. Ross, Bruce E. Tarr, Robert L. Hedlund, Michael R. Knapik and other members of the General Court for legislation to require that eminent domain takings be for public use purposes and defining the term public use.  The Judiciary. 


SEE SENATE, NO. 856 OF 2011-2012.]

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts


In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act requiring that eminent domain be for the public use and defining public use.

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Chapter 79 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 1 the following new section:-

                            Section 1A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither this state nor any political subdivision thereof nor any other condemning entity shall use eminent domain unless it is necessary for a public use. Whenever property is condemned and will be used by a private party, the condemner must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the use of eminent domain complies with this section and is reasonably necessary.

              Public use: The term “public use” shall only mean: (1) the possession, occupation and enjoyment of the land by the general public, or by public agencies; (2) the use of land for the creation or functioning of public utilities or common carries; or (3) where the use of eminent domain (a)(i) removes a public nuisance, (ii) removes a structure that is beyond repair or unfit for human habitation or use, or (iii) is used to acquire abandoned property in its current condition. The public benefits of economic development, including an increase in tax base, tax revenues, employment and general economic health, shall not constitute a public use.

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