October 28, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia voters will decide Nov. 6 whether government limits on the taking of private property should be an amendment to the state Constitution.
Question 1 on the ballot is part of a national groundswell that occurred since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that government has the authority to seize private property for economic development projects.
Forty-four states have changed their laws or their constitutions to counter the Supreme Court ruling since then, according to the nonprofit Institute for Justice. Virginia is counted among the 44 because it legislatively outlawed the practice in 2007.
Opponents say that's one reason a constitutional amendment is not necessary.
Proponents argue a fundamental right such as property ownership should be enshrined in the Constitution rather than be subject to the whim of legislators.