Senate Property Rights Vote Delayed; Contact Your Senator If You Already Haven't!Feb 17, 2011
I was hoping to write about a smashing, never-in-a-million-years-possible victory on property rights protection tonight; about how we were one step closer to enshrinement that fundamental right into the Virginia Constitution. However, the Senate delayed the vote on HJ 693 (Delegate Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth) until tomorrow. This one day delay gives you another chance to contact your senator, if you have not already done so, and ask him or her to vote to ensure this basic, fundamental right: To own property — for family, business or farm, or any legal reason — and not fear the government's power of eminent domain, where it can take it and hand it over to a corporation because it can produce more tax revenue than your house or business. The right to own property, and be justly compensated for it if a true public need requires a government taking, is a requisite tool to preserve individual liberty and curb the growth and intrusiveness of government. It also is a matter of basic fairness: Some localities in the past have taken entire neighborhoods on the pretext that one or two houses were "blighted" and sold to developers for huge amounts of money.
We strongly urge you to contact your senator now. It will be a close, but winnable vote. This is historic — the Virginia Senate has not taken up such a measure in recent memory. People who believe that government has become too big in size and scope now must take only a few moments to click below and make their voices heard to their elected representatives. This is our moment. If this vote fails, we will have to wait at least three more years for the opportunity to vote at the ballot box for a state constitutional amendment to guarantee this precious and God-given right.
We cannot let this opportunity to get meaningful protections fail. For the longest time the Virginia Senate has been a roadblock, but tonight we are on the doorstep of a historic victory. Securing private property rights ensures stable families, jobs, farms and even the right to worship freely. Let's beat back the special interests and local governments once and for all and ask your senator to represent you, not government.
Politicians come and go. The courts are unpredictable. The only permanent protections of our rights are those in the Virginia and U.S. Constitutions. Please act to ensure them now.