As state lawmakers pondered a takings bill in 1992, Arizona's Tribune newspapers
"The bill will require the attorney general's office to analyze every rule and
regulation to see if it will 'affect' anyone's property. If it does, the state will have
to compensate that property owner.
"That means that not only will the state's attorneys have to spend massive amounts
of time--not to mention your money--making all these detailed determinations, [but] you
may well wind up pulling out your wallet to compensate property owners who have been
over-dumping pesticides (you made their property less valuable by forbidding that),
polluting the groundwater (same reason), polluting the air, etc."
While such logic was lost on Arizona's elected officials--the bill was approved and
signed, and is now the subject of a ballot referendum--most states have given thumbs-down
to takings initiatives.
More than 40 states have had takings bills introduced since 1992. Twenty-three have
denied approval, either voting outright to reject them or declining to take action.
Takings bills have passed in 11 sates. But Sierra Club leaders say most of these bills
were heavily amended during the legislative process to address environmental concerns.
Three state takings statutes--those approved in Arizona, Mississippi and Utah--are
regarded as potentially serious threats to the environment.
Despite environmentalists' success at the state level, Club leaders warn that takings
bills, once defeated, often return, and note that many elected officials continue to
evidence a desire to "do something about takings."
For example, in Florida, Oregon and Washington state--two of which have already turned
back takings bills--ballot initiatives are now circulating that seek either a takings
amendment to the state constitution or enactment of a takings law.
In Arizona, Sierra Club and other environmental activists succeeded in blocking
implementation of that state's takings bill by getting it placed on this November's
Thus far, the state scorecard is as follows:
Approved: Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah,
Virginia (study only), Washington, West Virginia.
Rejected: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas Louisiana,
Massachusetts, Maryland Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada,
Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Still under consideration: Alabama California, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, South Carolina.
"We need the help of Sierra Club members in every state to defeat these bills
every time they come up,"
said Paula Carrell, the Club's state program coordinator, "and to continue to educate
the public about the absurdity of the takings argument and the real intentions of its
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