As the proposed constitutional amendment to further strengthen Virginia’s private property rights moves toward its first legislative hearings of the session, it looks like Congress, too, is taking up the cudgels. Lost amidst the flurry of State of the Union activity, the House Judiciary committee on Tuesday approved HR 1433, the “Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2011.” This measure would, according to a press release from one of the measure’s co-sponsors, Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R):
…prevent [state and local] governments from taking property from one private entity and giving it to another private entity. When abuses occur, this legislation will prohibit localities and states from receiving federal economic assistance on all economic development projects, not just those upon which abuses occur, for two years for each violation.
While this legislation cracks down hard on private-private transfers, it would not prohibit the use of eminent domain for traditional, purely public purposes.
Virginia’s proposed amendment would go further than this bill, but it is still interesting to see Congress get into the property rights act. This bill passed committee 23-5, so it’s support really is bipartisan. Looking down the list of co-sponsors, we see not only Mr. Goodlatte, but Rep. Randy Forbes and … Democrat Maxine Waters.
That shouldn’t be a complete surprise (though it is amusing). Those whose property rights are most frequently abused aren’t the wealthy and connected, but the poor and marginalized. They rarely, if ever, have the ability to fight condemnation proceedings and thus are perceived as easy targets.
[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]
Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.