Eminent Domain: A letter to Senator Frist
"Americans remain vulnerable to government's ability to snap up a family's home or church today and turn it into a mansion tomorrow."
--Scott A. LaGanga, executive director, Property Rights Alliance
Today 53 national and state property rights organizations sent a message to Senate majority leader Bill Frist according to U.S. Newswire. They're asking that the Senate Judiciary Committee to pick up the pace and schedule a hearing on H.R. 4128, the "Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2005" which was passed by the House last November. The bill has languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Download the letter. Perhaps this letter will inspire Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
LaGanga visited New Jersey on March 13 when he spoke at the Assembly Commerce & Economic Development Committee's hearing on eminent domain as a guest of Assemblyman Guy Gregg (R-Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon). "There is no circumstance under which government should take property that is up-to code from a taxpayer simply to boost economic development plans," said Gregg. "Property ownership is one of our fundamental constitutional rights. An individual should be able to own property without fear that the government will seize that property without just compensation."
"There are numerous other ways to encourage economic growth and redevelopment without the takings of an individual's or business owner's property," LaGanga said at the hearing. "Economic development districts, tax incentives, tax increment financing, infrastructure
improvements and relaxed or expedited permitting are just a few ways in which to remedy the situation."
Your readers might like to take a look at this article, a shorter version of which will appear in the November 2006, Stetson Law Review:
Ryskamp, John Henry, "The New Constitution: The Eminent Domain Revolt and Its Consequences" (December 29, 2005). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=562521 or DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.562521