In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Private Property Rights Protection Act (PRPA). . . again. And it again sits before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which has yet again failed to take action on this important legislation. The bill, H.R. 1944, is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Kelo decision, in which the Court ruled that private property can be taken for private development based on the mere promise of increased tax revenue or jobs. In the eyes of the Supreme Court, there is no difference between private and public use.
But the Supreme Court got it wrong. The U.S. Constitution clearly states that eminent domain is supposed to be used for public uses, things like roads and bridge—not private economic development. The Kelo decision opened the door to the massive abuse of eminent domain.
Following the decision, there was an unprecedented backlash at the state level. 44 states reformed their laws to restrict the power of eminent domain. In spite of this, Congress continues to give eminent domain abuse its stamp of approval, as federal funds can still be used on projects that abuse this power.
The Private Property Rights Protection Act would strip a city of federal economic development funding for two years if the city takes private property to give to someone else for their private use. This would provide a strong incentive for municipalities to respect private property rights and reject eminent domain abuse.
Contact your senators: Tell them to pass the Private Property Rights Protection Act.