Updated – BEST & WORST of 2016; Anti-Eminent Domain Bill Among Best


April 4, 2016

Private Property Rights Protected by Bill to Eliminate Eminent Domain for Econ Dev Purposes

Providence, RI — With property rights under assault by RhodeMapRI and RI Innovates, posing as economic development plans, a Senate bill (S2409) that would protect private property owners from government abuse of eminent domain, is among the best bills yet to be voted on according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, which today updated its list of the BEST and WORST bills of the 2016 General Assembly session.

Sponsored by Senator Mark Cote (D, Woonsocket), S2409 would limit use of the controversial governmental power to seize the property of private citizens and hand it over to insider, crony developers. The bill, rated a (+3) on the Center’s Freedom Index, would eliminate exceptions for private-private eminent domain for economic development purposes. In America, inpidual rights should supersede almost any argued common good.

On a broader level, once again General Assembly lawmakers in 2016 are on track to continue a multi-year, negative trend of public policy that will reduce economic justice for Rhode Islanders. This according to the 2016 General Assembly Freedom Index, an interactive, live tool published by the nonpartisan Center.

Also of note, 14 inpidual lawmakers currently have scores above zero, while in 2015 not a single Representative or Senator earned a positive score.

Lawmakers and the public are encouraged to visit the “Legislation” tab on the 2016 Freedom Index to determine the bill rankings for the majority of bills that have been rated, but not yet voted on. The “Summary” tab displays inpidual lawmaker scores.

Summary: As of April 1, of the bills that qualify for a rating:

  • 174 bills are rated negatively, with only 62 bills receiving a positive score, and 3 yet to receive a rating
  • The negative bills would total a (-272) cumulative score, if all were to be voted on, while the positive bills would produce a +90 score, resulting in a net (-182) overall General Assembly rating
  • Led by Representative Jared Nunes (D, Coventry) only 14 of 113 lawmakers can currently boast a positive inpidual score, consisting of 2 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and 2 Independents; with 3 in the Senate and 11 in the House (see Summary tab)

Although not all 2016 bills have received final ratings, it is clear that the few positive pieces of legislation are massively outweighed by the much greater number of negative bills, resulting in a net negative impact, as has occurred in prior years. The Center notes that not all bills have received final reviews and that the public should check back regularly for updated bill ratings and legislator rankings.

Additional resources are available on the main RI Freedom Index page, including a number of online and interactive tools and information for users, with links to scores from prior years:

Media Contact:

Mike Stenhouse, CEO

401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org

About the Center

The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The nonprofit Center is funded entirely by private tax-deductible donations and never accepts public funding. The mission of the 501-C-3 organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting inpidual freedoms.