The right to private property is one of the foundations of our Republic and is clearly stated as a fundamental right in Virginia’s Constitution, but the Constitution is apparently not safe from bad court decisions. After the devastating US Supreme Court ruling, Kelo Vs. City Of New London, it became clear that Virginia needed to go an additional mile to protect our citizen’s property rights. No one should have their property taken from them for another’s personal gain, an increase in tax revenue or for an increase in employment.
During this past session we were able to get the law changed to make that abundantly clear. It was my privilege to play a key role in the success of that effort. However, statutory law can be changed with a simple majority vote so our property rights do not yet have the level of protection needed.
Our Constitution exists to protect our rights so that no majority can easily deny them. Accordingly, the existing constitutional language needs to be amended to address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling. Once that is done, it would take years of effort with multiple votes and the agreement of the voting public to ever reverse it. Though that effort failed by a close vote in this last session, I will continue to fight for this protection.