Virginia Eminent Domain Amendment, Question 1 (2012)
|Eminent Domain Amendment|
|Referred by:||Virginia General Assembly|
|Status:||On the ballot|
The measure would prohibit eminent domain from being used for private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue generation or economic development, thereby restricting it to only being invoked to take private land for public use. Specifically, it would update a 2007 law which states that private property can be taken only when the public interest dominates the private gain. It is sponsored by Delegate Rob Bell.
- See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
Election results will be posted here throughout the day on November 7 and in the days to come as additional votes are counted.
|Virginia Question 1|
2562 out of 2588 precincts reporting
Results via the Virginia Secretary of State.
Text of measure
The official ballot text reads as follows:
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 enterprise, 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?
- Cuccinelli said that local governments "despise the notion of individual rights that may ever impede anything they want to do. They're exactly the ones that need to be reined in."
- In late November 2011, at their annual convention, the Virginia Farm Bureau discussed plans to lobby the 2012 General Assembly in favor of the amendment. According to the bureau's president, Wayne F. Pryor, the amendment would more narrowly define what exactly public use is defined as and would ensure "more land is not taken than is necessary."
- The Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties have both approved 2012 legislative agendas that oppose the proposed measure.
- The Virginia Municipal League said, "The amendment is unnecessary and will harm Virginia's citizens by severely limiting the ability of local governments and the state to carry out projects that help improve life for the commonwealth's population, due to the amendment's language on lost access, lost profits and the loss of eminent domain where economic development, increasing jobs and increasing taxes are involved."
- The Virginia Association of Counties said they "opposes a constitutional amendment or legislation that will severely limit the use and increase the expense of eminent domain."
- Spotsylvania County opposes the measure. The county said they want to preserve eminent domain for public purposes, such as schools, parks and roads, and also wants to ensure the amounts that localities pay private landowners for taken property are "reasonable and do not include speculative measures of damages."
Media editorial positions
- The Washington Post said, "Virginia lawmakers, in thrall to special interests, are asking voters to approve a state constitutional amendment that would cost state and local governments and taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually in giveaways to private landowners and businesses. This staggering act of corporate welfare — as proposed in Question 1 on the ballot Virginia voters will cast Nov. 6 — would go far beyond current law in any other state. Virginians should vote no on Question 1."
Path to the ballot
A majority vote was required (in two successive sessions) of the Virginia General Assembly. According to reports, the measure was approved in the 2011 legislative session and is scheduled to be introduced in the 2012 session.
- Virginia 2012 ballot measures
- 2012 ballot measures
- Virginia Legislature
- List of Virginia ballot measures
- Washington Post "McDonnell signs off on property rights referendum," April 6, 2012
- Associated Press "Va. Farm Bureau seeks eminent domain limits," November 28, 2011
- Martinsville Bulletin,"Legislators warn of battle on property issue," November 27, 2011
- The Washington Times,"Local resistance building on Virginia’s eminent domain change," November 24, 2011
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
Cite error: Invalid
- Fredericksburg.com,"Localities challenge state amendment," November 30, 2011
- Washington Post,"Post’s endorsement: Vote no on Ballot Question 1 in Va.," November 1, 2012
- Smith Mountain Eagle, "Va. eminent domain legislation clears another hurdle", February 2, 2012
- Washington Post "Property rights amendment to Va. Constitution heading for ballot," February 13, 2012