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Floyd wants to bring back eminent domain bill in 2015

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By Randy Patrick

RANDY PATRICK

rpatrick@kystandard.com

State Rep. David Floyd, a Bardstown Republican, was disappointed this week that his bill to protect landowners from the threat of condemnation of their property for the planned Bluegrass Pipeline didn’t pass in the 2014 session of the legislature.

But he thinks it can be brought back next year.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled last month that the companies acquiring property for the natural gas liquids pipeline, Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, do not have the right to use eminent domain to take people’s land because the project is not a “public service.”

The bill passed the House but didn’t make it through the Senate, Floyd said, because the companies have said they intend to appeal the court’s ruling, and some senators don’t want to get involved in the issue while there’s an ongoing court case.

However, by the time the legislature reconvenes in regular session in January 2015, the appeal should be ended, and legislators should “codify” the court’s decision, he said.

Even if the appellate courts don’t uphold the ruling, the legislature is “a separate branch of government,” he said, so he doesn’t agree with the notion that it shouldn’t decide on something that’s being litigated.

“I think it’s certainly our right if not our responsibility to act,” he said.

Floyd was also disappointed that his bill to abolish the death penalty didn’t pass, but abolition is getting more support.

“We did it in a bigger way this time,” he said, involving the Kentucky Catholic Conference and other groups in a bipartisan effort.

“It’s a long process,” he remarked.