Washington, D.C. — The House of Representatives today approved by voice vote a bill that provides important limits on the government’s ability to seize private property using eminent domain, the Private Property Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1689). House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s House approval of the bill in the statement below.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Our nation’s founders would be dismayed at how eminent domain operates in present day America. Without this legislation, governments and municipalities could take over homes, farms, and small businesses to make way for shopping malls or other developments without legal repercussions. This legislation supports individual liberty by removing financial incentives for governments to inappropriately abuse eminent domain by taking property from one private person just to give it over to another private company and grants landowners legal remedies to protect their rights.”
Background: This legislation incorporates aspects of the STOPP Act, introduced by Chairman Goodlatte during the 109th Congress. The Private Property Rights Protection Act has passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan fashion three times previously.
Summary of the Private Property Rights Protection Act: This bipartisan bill – introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) – deters a state or political subdivision of a state from using its eminent domain power to transfer private property to other private parties for the purpose of economic development. If a state does so, it will be ineligible for federal economic funds for two fiscal years following a judicial determination that the law has been violated. This bill also prohibits the federal government from using eminent domain for economic development purposes.