Bill to enhance private property rights signed into law

March 18, 2020 — State Sen. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) authored Senate Bill 340, which ensure that Hoosier property owners are afforded due process and given ample opportunities to object in cases where authorities attempt to condemn private property.

“Owning private property is the foundation of freedom itself,” Senator Spartz said. “We must protect that freedom from all powers – especially any government attempt to seize a citizen’s property. It is incumbent upon us to provide due process and ensure transparency and ample time for a property owner to make a case. SB 340 does just that.”

SB 340 requires more transparent and easier to understand notice of eminent domain to property owners. Most property owners are probably not aware that they only have 30 days to object to the validity of eminent domain procedures. After 30 days, property owners can only challenge the payment amount. Also, this bill provides that if an eminent domain objection is approved by the court, the owner can recover attorney’s fees. This bill also adds a requirement to mail notice to an owner who is not a resident of a municipality instead of just publishing a notice in a local newspaper. Additionally, it would also afford longer appeal timeframes for property owners (30 days instead of 10 days) and allow property owners to appeal a decision of the court.

“Protecting private property rights was a core founding principle of our republic to secure liberties,” said Senator Spartz. “In the words of one of our Founding Fathers, John Adams, ‘The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.’ What Adams said two centuries ago is just as important now as it was then.”

SB 340 was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb.