HJ647: Constitutional amendment; taking or damaging of private property for public use (first reference).

Offered January 12, 2011
Prefiled January 12, 2011
Proposing an amendment to Section 11 of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia, relating to taking of private property.
Patrons-- Bell, Robert B., Cline and Janis

Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, a majority of the members elected to each house agreeing, That the following amendment to the Constitution of Virginia be, and the same hereby is, proposed and referred to the General Assembly at its first regular session held after the next general election of members of the House of Delegates for its concurrence in conformity with the provisions of Section 1 of Article XII of the Constitution of Virginia, namely:

Amend Section 11 of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia as follows:


Section 11. Due process of law; obligation of contracts; taking of private property; prohibited discrimination; jury trial in civil cases.

That no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts, nor any law whereby private property shall be taken or damaged for public uses, without just compensation, the term "public uses" to be defined by the General Assembly; and that the right to be free from any governmental discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction, race, color, sex, or national origin shall not be abridged, except that the mere separation of the sexes shall not be considered discrimination.

That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, trial by jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred. The General Assembly may limit the number of jurors for civil cases in courts of record to not less than five.

That the General Assembly shall not pass any law whereby private property, the right to which is fundamental, shall be taken or damaged except for public use, and only upon payment of just compensation to the owner thereof for the property taken or damaged and for damages to the residue caused by the taking. No more private property may be taken than that which is necessary to achieve the stated public use. Just compensation shall be no less than the value of the property taken or damaged, business goodwill, relocation expenses, loss of access and other economic loss proximately caused by the taking or damaging. A taking or damaging of private property is not for public use if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; except for the authorized provision of a public service company, public service corporation, or railroad service or for the elimination of a public nuisance existing on the property. The condemnor bears the burden of proving that the use is public without a presumption that it is.