CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A bill that would increase transparency by providing longer notice and more public hearings before local governments can take private property using eminent domain cleared a House committee last week.
House Bill 1008, by state Rep. David Brumbaugh, is now pending before the full House.
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Brumbaugh said the measure is responsive to grass roots communications he has received about the “eminent domain” process. He said members of the Oklahoma Municipal League are supportive, and that the Center for Economic Development has indicated the measure would not gut local development efforts.
According to a summary provided by House staff, H.B. 1008 would modify the urban renewal plan notification process by requiring at least two public hearings before adoption of or amendment to an urban renewal plan.
The first public hearing would be for the municipality or county to provide information only to interested parties.
The second hearing would be for the purpose of allowing concerned or interested parties to express their views on the proposed plan or plan amendments.
“The goal is to provide greater transparency to the process for the public and allow more open discussion with an improved notice period and enhanced website posting,” said Rep. Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow.
The bill also modifies, within the existing statute, the definition of “blighted area.” The bill would remove from the definition the following considerations: “population overcrowding,” “inadequate parcel size,” and “arrested economic development.”
H.B. 1008 cleared the House County and Municipal Government Committee by a vote of 7-0 and appears well positioned for favorable consideration.
NOTE: Editor Pat McGuigan contributed to this report.