On Monday, the Virginia General Assembly passed a landmark resolution affecting private property rights.  It paves the way for Virginians to vote on whether they would like their private property rights amended to the Virginia Constitution.  Later this year, on the same day we Virginians will vote for a US president and a new US senator—Tuesday, November 6—we will also be able to vote to protect our private property rights.

The author of this year’s resolution, Delegate Rob Bell, had some thoughts to share on the passage of the resolution:

Dear Friend:

Today the General Assembly endorsed my House Joint Resolution 3, which would place improved property rights protections into the Virginia Constitution.  The measure is intended to prevent abusive use of eminent domain.

HJR 3 passed the State Senate 24-16 and had previously passed the House of Delegates 80-18.  Along with a reciprocal measure, it will now be sent to the Virginia voters in referendum on Election Day, 2012.

HJR 3 would state that the government could only take private property for public use.  In addition, the government would be required to take no more property than necessary for the public use, and the Government would bear the burden of proving that the use was, in fact, public.

I am obviously very excited that the voters will have a chance to stand up for property rights.  I have been concerned about Constitutional protections for property rights since the Supreme Court’s infamous 2005 ruling Kelo v. New London, which held that a local government could use eminent domain to take private property from a homeowner and transfer it to a private company.  I believe property rights are fundamental, and need to be protected by the Constitution.

As a supporter of the Richmond Tea Party, we hope that you are excited that another Tea Party principle—limited government—has prevailed again.  The Board and leadership of the Richmond Tea Party also thank you for all the calls you made to the delegates and senators about this resolution.  It made a difference!