Maine’s legislative Judiciary Committee has wrestled with a controversial bill (LD1810) that would have allowed property owners to sue the state if they felt a new state law reduced the value of their property by 50 percent. Such a measure might seem reasonable, but the proposal was written and advocated for by corporate lobbyists who appear to have missed the critical point that what one doesn’t own can’t be “taken.”
If the state regulates a land use action that unduly imposes upon neighbors or diminishes shared resources, is the state taking anything that actually “belonged” to the proponent in the first place?
If the rate at which you withdraw water from your well is regulated by the state to ensure your water use practices don’t dry up your neighbors’ wells, must the state pay you to use water more fairly?
After several amendments were considered, the majority of the committee (8-5) agreed to a reasonable bipartisan solution that addresses issues raised by the public, lobbyists, and the legislative study committee. Republicans, Democrats, and an independent on the committee supported an amendment put forth by Reps. Brad Moulton, R-York, and Charles Priest, D-Brunswick.
As has been demonstrated in other states, the minority report’s confusing proposal is certain to cause budgetary, legal, and policy problems for Maine.
I urge Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess, R-Cumberland, and Sen. Richard Woodbury, U-Yarmouth, to support the majority report version of LD 1810 when they vote on this bill.