"Public Policy Leadership in the Virginia Tradition"
The Virginia Institute for Public Policy is an independent, nonpartisan, education and research organization committed to the goals of individual opportunity and economic growth. Through research, policy recommendations, and symposia, the Institute works ahead of the political process to lay the intellectual foundation for a society dedicated to individual liberty, free enterprise, private property, the rule of law, and constitutionally limited government.
Left to right: John Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy; Jeremy P. Hopkins, Esq., eminent domain attorney nonpareil and author of the Virginia Institute study, The Real Story of Eminent Domain in Virginia: The Rise, Fall, and Undetermined Future of Private Property Rights in the Commonwealth; and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
July 16, 2012 – In a ceremony on the portico of the Virginia Capitol, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, on behalf of the Virginia Property Rights Coalition, presented John Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, with the John Marshall Award for “outstanding leadership in the advancement of property rights.”
In 2006, the Virginia Institute published a policy report, The Real Story of Eminent Domain in Virginia: The Rise, Fall, and Undetermined Future of Private Policy Rights in the Commonwealth, that served as the impetus for the passage of a 2007 statute that only allows property to be taken where: “(a) the public interest dominates the private gain and (b) the primary purpose is not private financial gain, private benefit, an increase in the tax base or tax revenues, or an increase in employment.” Furthermore, under the 2007 statute, “no more private property may be taken than that which is necessary to achieve the stated public use.” And finally, if property is taken for the elimination of blight, the property itself must be blighted, not just property in the immediate area.
Since 2007, however, forces in Virginia antagonistic to property rights have sought to weaken the eminent domain reform statute.
Therefore the decision was made that a constitutional amendment had to be passed that could not be changed without a vote of the people. In 2011, the Virginia legislature passed a constitutional amendment for the first time reforming the use of eminent domain in Virginia. In 2012, the General Assembly passed the constitutional amendment for the required second time.
The amendment will be on the November ballot this year for approval by the voters of Virginia as the final step in the process.
Virginia Institute for Public Policy