What follows are a couple emails on property rights in the order I received them on July 16th.
I received the following from Senator Mark Obenshain.
Virginia Property Rights Amendment Update
This morning, I joined Governor Bob McDonnell for an eminent domain reform signing ceremony, where the Governor signed into law the bills putting the Virginia Property Rights Amendment on the ballot this fall.
For the past seven years I’ve fought for Virginians’ property rights. After the Supreme Court decided the infamous Kelo case in 2005, I partnered with then-Senator Ken Cuccinelli to pass statutory changes to protect property rights here in Virginia.
But statutes don’t have the permanence of a constitutional amendment, and something as important as property rights belongs in the Constitution of Virginia, which is why I patroned the Virginia Property Rights Amendment. It has taken seven years since the Kelo decision, but that amendment finally passed and will go before the voters this November.
The Property Rights Amendment will secure property rights against the whims of state and local governments, ensuring that private property can only be taken for legitimate public uses — not for shopping centers or transfer to another private property owner in the name of economic development. And it will guarantee that when the government does take property, it actually provides “just compensation,” taking into account lost profits and loss access.
You and I both know that it’s just plain wrong for government to tell property owners that they are going to take their property and then transfer it to someone else who they believe has a “better” way to use it. If I want to continue to farm my property, my county shouldn’t be able to take it and convey it to a shopping center developer just because that will generate more tax revenue. The Property Rights Amendment will stop these practices, but it will not prevent the taking or condemnation of property for real public uses like schools and roads.
(For more information about the amendment and the lost profits and access definitions bill, please click here.)
I was honored to stand with our Governor today as we take another step closer to enshrining the Virginia Property Rights Amendment in our constitution. But I’m really looking forward to Election Day, when each of us will have the opportunity to cast our vote to ratify the amendment!
With best regards,
Mark D. Obenshain
Virginia State Senator
I received the following from Delegate Rob Bell.
McDonnell Sends Property Rights Amendment to Voters
Today Governor McDonnell signed my bill and others to place the Property Rights Constitutional Amendment on the ballot in the 2012 election. This is the last step before the measure comes before the voters in November.
The Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution states that private property can only be taken for “public use,” like a road. However, as with the Obamacare decision, the Supreme Court has not upheld this Constitutional protection, and in the infamous Kelo decision, authorized government to take property for a wide variety of other purposes. We tried unsuccessfully 2007, 2009, and 2010 to get a Constitutional Amendment to the voters, but were finally able to pass this year’s Amendment, which I was proud to patron. It is now up to the citizens to defend their Constitutional rights.
Opposition Builds to Norfolk Abuse of Eminent Domain
Meanwhile, as described in previous e-mail, support continues to build for Bob Wilson, whose property is being threatened by city officials in Norfolk.
Fox News has now focused national attention on this abusive effort to use eminent domain to take Wilson’ successful business for so-called “economic development.” Our Virginia Constitutional Amendment will help stop this in the future, but will come too late for Wilson; if you want to help, contact Norfolk City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Bell Delegate, 58th District