In response to the Kelo decision and inequities in the present New Jersey eminent domain law, several New Jersey state senators have introduced legislation that (1) further defines a condemning authority’s obligation to enter into bona fide negotiations for the purchase of property prior to filing a condemnation action, and (2) for the first time, would require a business owner to be compensated for the lose of his or her business, not just the real property. (Senate, No. 177 – PDF) Under existing law, a business owner is only entitled to be compensated for the value of the real estate and certain relocation expenses (ie. moving expenses, cost to hook-up equipment being moved, ect). However, the actual loss of one’s business is not part of the “just compensation” to be paid to a property owner. Under the proposed legislation, the definition of “Property” now includes any business that is conducted on the property being taken. The private business must be separately valued and be part of the just compensation offered to a property owner. However, the proposed legislation does not apply to cases filed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. This is a good and fair proposal. If a business is forced to close, what shouldn’t the government pay the full value of the land and business? Just compensation must be read to include “full and fair” compensation of everything that is being taken, including the business.