Signed Legislation Puts Constitutional Amendment on Nov. 6 Ballot

RICHMOND — Four pieces of legislation to protect the property rights of Virginia citizens were ceremonially signed today. HB5 (R. Bell) and its companion SB240 (Obenshain) provide for a referendum for a constitutional amendment to protect private property rights on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot. HB1035 (Joannou) and SB437 (Obenshain) provide clear definitions for the terms “lost profits” and “lost access” and how to determine the amount of just compensation.

Question 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot will read: “Shall Section 11 of Article I (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended (i) to require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and, except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance, not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; (ii) to define what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property; and (iii) to prohibit the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use?”

Voters will be asked to choose “Yes” or “No.”

Governor McDonnell commented on the issue saying, “This legislation is an important step toward including necessary private property protections in Virginia’s constitution. Protecting the liberty and property of its citizens is a fundamental role of government, and this constitutional amendment makes those protections stronger in Virginia. The amendment that will be before Virginia voters this Nov. 6, sets clear boundaries on the ability of government to seize their property and will help ensure that when property is taken for a true public use, that the property owner will be fully compensated. I encourage our citizens to make their voices heard this November and support this important constitutional protection.”

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who helped to write the amendment, added, “It has been seven long years of effort, but with the passage of the property rights amendment, our citizens are one step closer to enshrining in the Constitution of Virginia the protections they deserve from overzealous governments and the developers who use them to take away Virginians’ homes, farms, and small businesses. We have fought every year since the 2005 Kelo decision to strengthen property rights in the commonwealth through various bills and three attempts at a constitutional amendment. A property rights amendment to Virginia’s constitution is the ultimate protection. Virginians need, and voters will finally have a property rights amendment to vote on in the November ballot.”

The Bills Signed Today Include:

HB5 (R. Bell)/SB240 (Obenshain) Eminent Domain Voter Referendum
·         Provides for a referendum at the Nov. 6, 2012, election to approve or reject an amendment that revises the prohibition on the enactment by the General Assembly of laws whereby private property may be taken or damaged without just compensation
·         The constitutional amendment
o   Requires that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and, except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance
§  Not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development
o   Defines what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property
o   And prohibits the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use

HB1035 (Joannou)/SB437 (Obenshain) Eminent Domain Define Lost Access and Lost Profits
·         Provides definitions for the terms “lost profits” and “lost access” and how to determine the amount of just compensation, which includes lost profits and lost access resulting from the taking, that must be paid for property taken by eminent domain
·         The bill has a contingent effective date of January 1, 2013, provided that the voters approve an amendment to Section 11 of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia at the November 2012 election

Comments

  1. SupremeDictator says:

    This should not have to be written… but thanks to our Supremely Idiotic court rulings of late, has to be spelled out. Eminent Domain was only ever legal for public use issues, but the SC thought they knew better…. tell me again, how do we remove incompetent SC judges… oh, we can’t.

    I’m glad this will be put into clear and concise terms so no hotel can simply take my property for their gain.

  2. Another View says:

    SupremeDictator is exactly right. If government–including the COURTS–had not become so corrupt, grabbing more power for itself in violation of the Constitution, this need not ever be written. As it is, it is indeed important, at least to keep the Virginia government in check. Hopefully we will find a way to reign in the lawless federal government as well.

  3. Bob Brawley says:

    Government corruptions is the cost of doing business. You don’t want government corruption get private enterprise , They can do a creditable job in the corruption department.. When the American people clamor for less taxes and the Government acts on it, that cuts them to the bone so they got to figure out how to bring in the bacon with out it being called taxes. So they use eniment domain to take the property of low production land to give it to Private Enterprise to make high production land. So quit the Tea Pary let the Government have some money and eniment domain can get back to where it used to be. Roadway construction not Shopping Center development.