June 2008

Proposition 99 Passes; Proposition 98 Fails

With 62.5% of the vote, Proposition 99 was passed by California voters. Proposition 99 was a state initiative to limit the use of eminent domain by local governments, including redevelopment agencies. A competing state initiative, Proposition 98, was rejected by 61% of California voters.

Proposition 99 (known as the "Homeowners and Private Property Protection Act") amends the California Constitution to prohibit local governments from using eminent domain to acquire an owner-occupied residence for the purpose of conveying it to a private person or business entity, such as a developer. "Local government" includes any city, county, redevelopment agency, special district, school district, or other political subdivision of California. "Owner-occupied residence" includes a single-family residence, such as a detached home, condominium or townhouse, that is the owner's principal place of residence for at least one year prior a local government's initial written offer to purchase the property.

A local government may, however, continue to use eminent domain to acquire an owner-occupied residence for public purposes, such as a public works project, protecting public health and safety or remedying environmental contamination. Proposition 99 also does not prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire non-residential property.

Proposition 99 takes immediate effect (June 4, 2008). Proposition 99 does not apply to an acquisition of an owner-occupied residence by eminent domain if: (1) the initial written offer to purchase the home was made on or before June 4, 2008, and (2) a resolution of necessity to acquire the home by eminent domain was adopted on or before 180 days after June 4, 2008.

To read the text of Proposition 99, click here. For more information about Proposition 99, click here to read the analysis by the California Legislative Analyst.