House Approves HCS HB 527 to Strengthen Private Property Protections for Family Farms

By Staff – February 26, 2021

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House today passed HCS HB 527, giving final approval to critical legislation to safeguard and strengthen private property protections for Missouri’s family farms. Sponsored by Representative Mike Haffner (R-Pleasant Hill), lawmakers passed the bill with a vote of 123-33, which will now move to the Missouri Senate for consideration.

“This bill is a major step toward ensuring private, for-profit companies, will no longer be able to abuse eminent domain laws for private gain,” Rep. Haffner said, “I am proud to lead this fight for our family farmers by sponsoring this critical legislation to strengthen our constitutional private property rights.”

HCS HB 527 seeks specifically to prevent harmful abuses of private companies taking private land for private gain, and strengthens private property laws by ensuring merchant transmission lines do not get the power of eminent domain. This bill specifies that entities who seek approval for a merchant line must first provide the PSC with a resolution of support passed by the county commission in each county through which the merchant line will be built. The restriction does not apply to any rural electric cooperatives or any electrical corporation operating under a cooperative business plan.

The bill is a top legislative priority of Missouri’s leading agriculture organizations, including the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Corn Growers Association, and Missouri Pork Association.

“There are valid uses of eminent domain for legitimate infrastructure purposes that serve the public good, but we should not allow our state to become an energy super-highway for powering the East Coast or line the pockets of private for-profit companies. Agriculture is our state’s number one industry and today’s vote sends a powerful message that our Missouri family farms and constitutional private property rights always come first,” Rep. Haffner said.

The full bill summary for HCS HB 527 may be found here. The senate version, Senate Bill 508, is sponsored by Sen. Jason Bean (R-Holcomb).