Monday, January 7, 2013

The New Virginia Property Rights Amendment

Virginia is not the only state where this is an issue.
  With so much that stinks having passed this year in the United States, I thought I would bring some good legislative news to all of you, for a change.  Virginians, myself included, have been upset concerning recent abuses of eminent domain, which generally occur on the local level.   To me, when a local government wishes to place a road or something they feel constitutes progress and they do so by offering a ridiculously low amount for a property, and then condemning it, causing a family to lose their farm and possibly their life savings, this is concerning.  This had been a problem more and more in our state, particularly in the quasi rural Northwestern counties.  It has also become an issue in Central Virginia.
                 In November 2012, an amendment to the Commonwealth of Virginia's Constitution came up for vote. Virginians voted by a Although it is still possible for the government to take property under eminent domain "for the public good", it needs to meet much tighter guidelines.

1. Privately held Virginia lands cannot be taken unless it is taken for a "legitimate public use."

2. It ensures that only the amount of land which must be taken can be taken.

3. Local governments can no longer take entire farms when only a strip was needed.   They also must pay fair market whereas before they offered a small amount while threatening to condemn it, if the landowner did not agree to the terms.

Urban areas and businesses have also been adversely impacted by abuses of eminent domain.

              Now, county governments who have a Board of Supervisors member who wants to put a gas station somewhere, will no longer be able to take that land for a song, and line his own pockets by opening that station, unless of course, the owner of the property is willing, and sells it to him for this purpose. The landowner will no longer be forced out.   Of course, I don't think eminent domain should be legal at all, and I think the fact that the Farm Bureau and Gov. McDonnell spoke in favor of this bill shows how large a problem this was here.  To me, property rights are fundamental to our rights as Americans. Three quarters of Virginia citizens agreed with me and voted for Virginia Property Rights.  This went into effect here on January 1st, 2013.  This piece of legislation had a seven year journey before it was ratified here.

Learn more about this at:


Matt said...

Still amazing though that three fourths of voters got this right but yet so many of the other results were so messed up. Turning around and voting for BO shows how stupid the majority the voters were.

JaneofVirginia said...

It IS amazing Matt. I was thinking the same thing too.

Gorges Smythe said...

Now if we just had it in the OTHER 49 states.

Sandy said...

The local government is so good about snatching up land owners property, I seen alot of this while residing in Virginia. It's just ridicules that only three quarters of the citizens of Virginia voted on this issue. Shame on those who didn't vote and support property owners.

JaneofVirginia said...

I had actually considered not voting for this bill because I did not believe it went far ENOUGH in supporting property rights. However, my husband said that we need to support the bill in the right direction, at least. The bill was not particularly well written, and was not brought to the attention of the public well, which probably accounts for only a 3/4 vote in its favor.

JaneofVirginia said...

Gorges, I think a few of them have a near identical law or bills coming down the pike. This is a start, but it does not go far enough. A homeowner should not feel harassed or pressured to leave a family farm or home simply because the county wants it for some reason. I hear this story, particularly in the South, a great deal.