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.