For the second time in the past two days, members of the Idaho House passed a bill to put additional restrictions on the use of eminent domain in the Gem State.
On Monday, representatives approved a bill prohibiting cities or counties from using eminent domain to establish bike and walking paths. Tuesday’s legislation, sponsored by Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, would limit taking private land for power lines.
Bedke’s bill would require that anyone wanting to run a power transmission line through the state of Idaho be able to prove that the line would “materially benefit” Gem State residents in some fashion. That means developers would need to prove that projects would either directly or indirectly serve the interests of Idahoans.
The legislation was brought forth to prevent a transmission line from being put through some farmers’ fields in south-central Idaho. Bedke told colleagues during hearings on the bill that the transmission line could go through federal land near the farms. However, he added that it is incredibly difficult to construct new projects there.
While he supports expanding and improving the energy grid in the country, he doesn’t want to see it done at the expense of private property rights. Bedke told colleagues that they cannot imagine, “how irritated it makes me that the path of least resistance is through your private ground.”
The measure passed on a 65-2 vote.