The Idaho Senate recently passed a bill which would prevent the use of the power of eminent domain to create hiking trails, bike paths or greenways. The bill, SB 1044, passed the Senate 20-13. It bans the use of condemnation “for trails, paths, greenways or other ways for walking, running, hiking, bicycling or equestrian use, unless adjacent to a highway, road or street.”
Critics of the bill argued that it could prevent cities from creating greenways or even to create safe walking routes to school for kids.
Sen. Jim Guthrie, the bill’s sponsor, compared the power of eminent domain to his sister once being robbed at gunpoint at the family’s grocery store. “Even though he didn’t fire the gun, there’s no question in my mind that he used it,” Guthrie said. “How fair is it, when at the beginning of the negotiation process the other party has something in their tool bag, as the cities put it, that you don’t?”
The bill now goes to the State House of Representatives.