Legislation rarely goes in a straight line at the General Assembly, least of all when it concerns eminent domain. In 2007, the statute that eventually passed appeared completely dead at one point. Now we face a similar situation in getting a constitutional amendment passed. Late last week an excellent resolution for a state constitutional amendment (HJ 693) stunningly made it out of a Senate committee and to the floor for the first time after years of trying. However, there is fierce and determined opposition by very powerful interest groups, with great amounts of resources at their disposal. This opposition necessitated negotiations between them and their Senate allies with senators, who, like us, absolutely are committed to language that includes just compensation for victims whose property — personal and business — is taken through the power of eminent domain.
So, on Friday, Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest) asked that HJ 693 be "passed by for the day," while he works on substitute language that addresses the issues some have with the resolution while still protecting its substance.
Property rights are fundamental to ensuring family life, our jobs and businesses, and even our places of worship. Strong property protections limit government growth and intrusiveness. Because it is a fundamental aspect to our liberty, The Family Foundation remains committed to this issue and the most comprehensive property protections for families, farmers and their businesses.
The Senate again will attempt to vote on HJ 693 this afternoon. Senators read their e-mails and take into account calls up to the last minute. It is not too late to make your voice heard to counter the special interests. Contact your senator and insist he or she support the strongest language in HJ 693 to protect property rights and the just compensation for those whose property must be taken for a true public use.