Eminent Domain Roll Call: H.R. 4128
Voting 376 for and 38 against, members of the House of Representatives passed the Property Rights Protection Act on November 3, 2005. Under the House bill, federal funds would be denied to the states or political subdivisions to acquire property for economic development. Download the text of H.R.4128.
The bill gives any aggrieved property owner the right to bring an action to enforce the provisions of the Act in the appropriate Federal or State court. The law puts the burden of proof on the defendant to show by clear and convincing evidence that the taking is not for economic development.
The Act further provides that a prevailing plaintiff shall be allowed reasonable attorney’s fees as part of cost of the action including expert fees as part of the attorney’s fee.
The bill now goes to the Senate for approval where Senator John Cornyn has proposed legislation.
It’s show time in New Jersey!
Both gubernatorial candidates Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester have said they will take steps if elected to protect New Jersey’s home owners from eminent domain. The Star Ledger gives us the essence of the candidates in its Perspectives section:
Corzine: The state must strengthen its laws to guarantee homeowners are protected.
Forrester: Would create a task force to study possible remedies to the current system.
Acting Governor Codey, soon to relegate to Senate President Codey, does not have eminent domain reform on his agenda. Codey’s position is of paramount importance if any eminent domain reform legislation is going to be considered by the New Jersey State Senate.
Don't you think that this goes a bit too far? Some areas are truly blighted and dilapidated and the redevelopment should proceed for the benefit of all; even if, in the final analysis, the basis is economic redevelopment. Such eminent-domain redevelopment is simply basic urban redevelopment and probably the only way to assemble the necessary parcels to permit a clean-up. Shopping centers and multi-family residentials benefit the greater community as they provide amenities to the greater community. Should we really stop all of this simply because some are abusive in their gentrification policies?
The only real question is when will legislation be passed to protect homeowners? The governor is saying the right things, so is the House. But when will there be help for people in New Jersey who are under fire right now?
Stop federal funds for proposed projects which take property through eminent domain! Our founding fathers did not have private/commercial use in mind when they wrote the Fifth Amendment. This is one of the only ways to curb the potential abuse from local officials: Cut out the money! If a town has a problem area that needs redevelopment, I think the town needs to reassess its members on the council who let the area get that way. Have all the towns cut the budget so much, that they can not have enough enforcement of building inspectors and law enforcement to curb their blighted areas? We must not forget when all else fails, you can vote your council member OUT.