State Question #2
Shall Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution be amended in order: to provide that the transfer of property from one private party to another private party is not considered a public use; to provide that property taken fro a public use must be valued at its highest and best use; to provide that fair market value in eminent domain proceedings be defined as the “highest price the property would bring on the open market;” and to make certain other changes related to eminent domain proceedings.
Question Two states if that the transfer of property from one private party to another is not considered public use and that if the government wants to purchase private land it must be purchased at the highest price the property would bring on the public market.
Dennis Johnson a Question 2 Proponent says the ballot question is passed will make government act more responsibly.
"The property must be used for a public purpose whether it is a street, a city building, a school house, a fire station; it is something for the public use."
Johnson says if passed Question Two would allow a property owner to fight eminent domain in court without having to pay the other sides' court fees if he doesn't prevail. It also forces the government to disclose all appraisals on the property to show it's acting in "good faith."
It's a provision Johnson says that will, in effect, keep the parties out of court because there will be no secrets.
"We give the property owner all the information they need to have to make a sound judgment. Chances are that if it is done the right way from the beginning, you are going to eliminate a lot of legal issues that do arise."
The Nevada Taxpayers Association Disagrees. They say Question 2 would mean more legal battles, and ultimately the taxpayer would end up paying.
"You only need to look at Oregon which has lived with that to see how the court cases accelerated how the costs accelerated," says Carole Villardo from the association.
Another provision in Question Two, if land taken by the government isn't used in five years, the previous owner can buy back the land at the price government paid him.
"The way you purchase back property is at much accelerated value than what you sold the property for. It’s even higher than giving interest against the property for the length of time."
Villardo says another problem with the five-year deadline, is it would prevent the completion of major construction projects like highways.
They often take decades, with the land purchase coming early in the process.