Bill Attempts to Regain Constitutional Private Property Rights; Vote Today

Many of you are familiar with the Kelo opinion, in which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a city to use its power of eminent domain to take private property and give it to a private developer, using the excuse that the new use of the property would generate more tax revenue for the city.  We will soon bring you up to date on another case with bearing on this subject recently argued before the Supreme Court.

But today, there is news that you can do something to help reclaim the rights private property owners thought were guaranteed in the Constitution but which have been allowed to slip away by the Supreme Court.

The American Land Rights Association (ALRA), a group that monitors these issues and from whom we’ve passed on alerts before in our e-mail newsletter (AFF Sentinel),  has sent out an alert that a House bill could be voted on Monday night.  The bill is designed to restore and protect private property rights from governments’ ravenous appetite for tax revenue and use of private property as a target of confiscation and a path to higher tax yields.

H.R. 1433, the “Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2122,” would prohibit any state or subdivision of a state to exercise its power of eminent domain to seize private property and use it for economic development within seven years, if that state or subdivision receives federal economic development funds.  Another section of the bill would further prohibit the federal government from the same action — using eminent domain powers just to boost economic development.  The bill defines “economic development” as any “commercial enterprise carried on for profit,” or “to increase tax revenue, tax base, employment or general economic health.”  Excepted from the legislation are uses which have generally been considered the proper venues for eminent domain powers, like a “road, hospital, airport or military base,” public transportation, pipeline or public utility.

The bill also includes a “Sense of Congress” section regarding rural America and the fundamental importance of property rights.  The section notes the Founders concern for property rights, the inclusion of the Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment and that “ownership rights” are fundamental building blocks for agriculture.  The section also addresses “the use of eminent domain to take farmland and other rural property…threatens liberty, rural economies and the economy of the United States.”

The ALRA said that today, Monday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business and will postpone votes until 6:30 p.m. (EST).  H.R. 1433 was scheduled to be considered.  Schedules can be changed but it would seem imperative to act now if you want to contact your Congressman.

If you would like to read this bill, click the link to get a copy: 
* H.R. 1433
* – Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2012 — Sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner – Judiciary Committee.

If you would like to support this bill, call your House member immediately to urge him or her to vote
for HR 1433.  The House switchboard: (202) 225-3121;  the House website is :  You can click on “Representatives” in upper left of the page or enter your zip code at upper right to find your member and send an e-mail.

Published in: on February 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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