Farm Bureau

Virginia Senate Trounces Your Constitutional Private Property Rights, Empowers Government At Your Expense!

Just a couple of hours ago, the Senate Finance Committee (see vote) trounced on your constitutional rights to just compensation in eminent domain cases. Actually, it's worse than that. It trounced on your rights simply to present evidence to juries in eminent domain cases! The following is the news release, just issued, by the patron of HB 652, Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville):

Senate Committee Kills Bill to Protect Landowners

~Armstrong vows to continue to fight for average citizens~

After passing the House with a 98-1 vote, Delegate Ward Armstrong’s “Landowner’s Rights Bill” (HB652) was killed in a Senate Finance Committee on a 10-3 vote Wednesday morning. Senators Reynolds, Watkins, and Hanger were the only members voting in favor of the legislation.

HB652 would have provided that any restriction, change, or loss of access to or from property taken under the power of eminent domain to be considered as an element in assessing damages for the purposes of determining just compensation.

"I’m very disappointed that the committee chose to side with government instead of the average citizen," said Armstrong. "The worst thing that a government can do to someone is deprive them of their liberty; the second worst thing is to deprive them of their property without just compensation. I intend to introduce the measure again next year."

The bill was supported by a variety of groups including: The VA Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Businesses, The VA Agribusiness Council, and The Family Foundation.

Eminent Domain Reform Bill In Sub-Committee Tomorrow Afternoon!

Okay, here's one that defines strange political bedfellows. The Family Foundation, the Farm Bureau, Tertium Quids and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, are backing a HB 562, patroned by House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville). The bill provides just compensation to those who have land rendered useless because of an eminent domain taking. Right now, people are compensated only for the land taken, not additional land that the taking has rendered unusable. The bill is a complement to the landmark 2007 eminent domain reform law which limits government abuse of people's property rights.  In other words, condemners want to take the land they need but not pay for all of it. This bill will allow the addition of the unusable land to be factored into the price of the compensation for the eminent domain taking. Very fair. Very needed. (For those who think the 2007 law solved all our problems, see this about the Burkholder's — a Roanoke couple and its small business, via FromOnHigh.)

The bill comes before the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee (click here for members)tomorrow afternoon. Contact the members and ask them to support property rights in Virginia. This bill will go a long way to restoring the rights of farmers, small businesses and home owners who work very hard for their property, only for government agencies to take it, or worse, play games with it with no fair compensation.