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If Virginia voters approve the proposed amendment, then the state Constitution will be changed to incorporate the new language and rein in eminent-domain abuse that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
By voting "yes", you will be making sure that:
Private property may be taken for a true "public use" only, and not taken and then given to another private landowner.
In the unfortunate circumstance where your property is taken by eminent domain, you will be correctly paid for the loss of value to your property.
No more of your property may be taken than that which is absolutely necessary.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 2005 Kelo v. City of New London, Conn. decision, ruled that the U.S. Constitution allowed a person's property to be taken by the government and then sold or given to someone else who promised to use it to generate more jobs and taxes. This has happened
While the amendment described in Question 1 received bipartisan support in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly, the ultimate decision about its passage will be made by you, Virginia's voters.
Opponents of the amendment have said Virginia's law already provides protection against eminent domain abuse, but we don't believe it goes far enough. The amendment would tighten the state's definition of "public use," which is left to the discretion of the General Assembly. It will also make sure that if your farm, your home, or your business is taken by a legitimate use of eminent domain, you are paid for what your land and livelihood are worth.
For all property owners--current and future--I hope you will make time on Nov. 6 to protect your rights. It's been a long campaign to get the proposed amendment on this year's ballot, but the fight's not over until officials tally the votes.
Make yours count.
Mr. Jones is president of