Old law means eminent domain rights for sugar beet
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Nevada's eminent domain law is proving to be antiquated, with protection included for the sugar beet industry, which hasn't operated in the state in more than 40 years.
The law that outlines when one party can legally take land from someone else says eminent domain can be used for "pipelines to conduct any liquids connected with the manufacture of beet sugar."
Nevada farmers haven't grown sugar beets since 1966, when they produced 7,900 tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Former state archivist Guy Rocha says the provision shows Legislative malpractice favoring a special interest.
"You tell me how ... sugar beets should even have been included in the law," Rocha said.
Historical references say the Nevada Sugar Co. plant opened in 1911 in Fallon -- the same year lawmakers changed the law to favor sugar beets.
Legislative Counsel Bureau Research Director Don Williams said he doesn't know why the industry was included in the law.
When the Nevada law was adopted, the sugar beet industry was strong next-door in Utah because the Mormon Church had built a beet business. The church wound up with a controlling stake in the Nevada factory in 1917, but the factory closed after a poor season that year.
The Legislative Counsel Bureau, which recommends outdated laws for the Legislature to get rid of, is having its staff look at the sugar beet provision.
It's too late for the bureau to recommend the law be ditched during the next session, but Director Lorne Malkiewich said it's possible the provision could be eliminated by 2013, or earlier if the Legislature considers the statute on its own.
"Sometimes things are put into the law where there's no good explanation for it," Williams said. "The sugar beet could be in that category."
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com
Copyright 2010 The AP.