Question 1 on Virginia Ballot would Limit Eminent Domain

November 6, 2012

Virginia voters are deciding whether to limit government's powers to take private property through eminent domain.

Question 1 on the ballot Tuesday would amend the state Constitution to ensure that private property is taken only for a true "public use" and not given to another private landowner such as a developer. It would also compensate businesses for lost profits.

The proposed amendment is part of a national groundswell that followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 allowing private property to be seized for economic development projects.

Proponents argue that property ownership is a fundamental right and should be enshrined in the Constitution.

Opponents say a 2007 state law achieves the same ends and should be monitored to ensure it does the job it was intended to do.

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