The College Republicans at ETSU announced their endorsement of State Representative Matthew Hill tonight, in the presence of candidate for Circuit Court Clerk, Mark Jones, and incumbent District Attorney General, Joe Crumley. Rep. Hill spoke to the CR’s tonight about problems in Nashville, as well as legislation that is going to be decided upon in the coming weeks. I’ll be outlining Matthew’s plans for the future, as well as his disappointments with the behavior of liberals in Nashville, over the next few months. To begin:

Matthew spoke passionately tonight about legislation that would limit Tennessee’s use of eminent domain. Matthew presented six “common sense” reforms that Republicans in Nashville are pushing as they consider an eminent domain bill:
1. Landowners should be given more than five days notice before the government takes their property. Matthew believes that 30 days is a more reasonable time for these property owners to exert their rights.
2. There should be input by locally elected officials before a taking. This just passed in Utah, where they are known for their strong eminent domain bill.
3. Those who have their property taken against their wishes and then the government later puts it up for sale should have “right of first refusal” to buy it back if they so choose.
4. If property is taken it should be appraised at its “highest and best use” so that property owners would get the true value of the property. Some property owners in other areas of the state were actually paid less than what they paid taxes on.
5. There should be more protections in court for property owners. If the property owners win the dispute, they should be able to recover appraisal and other expenses and attorney’s fees. They should be compensated for business interruption, and it should be required that money should be placed in escrow so that property owners who have their land taken have funds available to more or find other housing.
6. Finally, there should be no private-to-private transfers – “public use” must be more strictly defined.

Democrats have vowed to kill this bill, just as they have killed more than 60 other eminent domain bills in the house thus far.

While some Republicans sell out to the liberals in Nashville, Matthew has held strong and represented the conservative principles we sent him to Nashville to fight for. I’ll keep you posted with his statements as his campaign progresses…