Property Rights Amendment Passes Senate

Good afternoon. My name is Trey Davis, and I have been fortunate enough to work this year and last on a constitutional amendment to protect your property rights in Virginia’s constitution. With bipartisan support from the 2011 and 2012 Sessions of the General Assembly, we are closer to achieving this goal than ever.

Thanks to your hard work this fall with the Stand Our Ground: Property Rights postcard campaign, we achieved a major victory yesterday, getting the property rights constitutional amendment through the Senate on a 23-17 vote and through the House of Delegates on a vote of 80-18. SB437 (Obenshain) and HB1035 (Joannou), the companion legislation to define lost profits and lost access in regards to eminent domain takings, have passed their respective houses as well.

Here are a few reactions from our Attorney General and Senator Mark Obenshain, the chief patron on the Senate side:

From Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli:

“It has been seven long years of effort, but with today’s vote, 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,” Cuccinelli said in a prepared statement. “I have fought every year since the 2005 Kelo decision [by the Supreme Court] 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.”

From Sen. Mark Obenshain:

“The passage of this is a great victory for property owners in Virginia.  This has been a long and arduous path, but this fall – Good Lord willing – the voters of Virginia will be given a chance to vote on adding these protections to the Constitution, where they belong.  Respect for private property is a foundational principle of free government,” said Obenshain. “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 economic development or the pet projects of government officials.” 

Things are looking good for getting the amendment on the ballot in November, but the battle isn’t over yet. Thanks so much for all the hard work you have already done–collecting postcards, sending emails, making phone calls and visitng your legislators on this issue. This constitutional amendment would not have gotten through without the support of Virginia’s farmers and your activism within Virginia Farm Bureau.

Now the real work begins. We need to educate Virginians about property rights and eminent domain abuse, so they are well-informed when they visit the polls in November. We will be asking for your help in the next few months to help us accomplish this.

Again, thanks for all that you do, and keep reading the blog as well as your Capitol Connections Action Alerts for updates on this issue and other critical Farm Bureau issues.

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