RICHMOND—For private property rights advocates in Virginia, the wait is almost over.
An amendment to the state constitution approved by voters on Nov. 6 will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
“We’ve placed property rights where they belong, and that’s in the Constitution of Virginia,” said Trey Davis, assistant director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
Farm Bureau was an active supporter of the amendment, which is intended to prevent the abuse of eminent domain in taking privately owned land. The amendment has four components, the most significant of which is an assurance that private property cannot be taken unless it is for a legitimate public use.
“It can’t be just to increase tax revenue or for economic development,” Davis said.
The amendment also ensures that land cannot be taken without just compensation to the owner, and that no more property is taken than is necessary.
Farm Bureau worked with a coalition of landowner rights and private property rights advocates to promote the amendment to state lawmakers and then to voters. On Nov. 27, Gov. Bob McDonnell toasted Farm Bureau producer members with Virginia sparkling cider at the VFBF annual convention to celebrate the amendment’s approval.
“I don’t think it would have happened without the efforts of Farm Bureau,” McDonnell said.
Contact Davis at 804-290-1117.