Unlike legislation, a constitutional amendment provides enduring protection, because the state legislature cannot change a constitutional amendment without voters’ consent. The amendment states that no more private property may be taken than is necessary to achieve the stated public use, and that the condemner has to prove the use is public. The language also ensures that just compensation be given to the property owner. Condemning entities would not be able to exercise eminent domain if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, tax revenue or economic development, Davis said. Jounnou’s amendment passed both bodies of the General Assembly this year, but it must pass again in 2012 with the same wording in order for it to be on the ballot for Virginia voters next November. Because farmers’ livelihoods are tied to land, Farm Bureau has a long-standing interest in ensuring that eminent domain is not abused at landowners’ expense.
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Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011
Published on Nov 16, 2011
Introduced in July 2008, Cultivate is published quarterly with a focus on safe, fresh and locally grown foods and the Virginia farms that pr...