Unconstitutional acts and ultra vires enforcement by localities; remedies. (HB1219)

Introduced By

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) with support from co-patron Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Unconstitutional acts and ultra vires enforcement by localities. Provides that any zoning ordinance of a locality that violates or unreasonably restricts the free exercise of rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution or the Constitution of Virginia shall be null and void and shall constitute a violation. Any enforcement by a locality of such ordinance shall be deemed a violation. In any litigation in which the constitutionality of a zoning ordinance or its enforcement is at issue, the ordinance shall not be given a presumption of constitutionality or presumption of validity. In any litigation involving a challenge under this statute, the burden of establishing compliance with the statute shall be on the locality. Any locality that violates the statute shall be liable to aggrieved persons in amounts equal to the fines and penalties that the locality seeks to impose on such aggrieved persons, plus actual damages including reasonable attorney fees. Any locality that willfully violates this statute, or whose interpretation or enforcement of ordinances willfully operates in violation of this statute, shall be liable to the aggrieved person for treble damages, plus reasonable attorney fees. Any official or employee of a locality that willfully violates this statute, or whose interpretation or enforcement of duties willfully operates in violation of the statute, may be personally liable to aggrieved persons in the amount equal to the fines and penalties that such official or employee seeks or sought to impose on such aggrieved persons plus actual damages and attorney fees. The Attorney General of Virginia shall establish a procedure whereby persons, including officials and employees of localities, may report violations. No locality may take disciplinary action against any official or employee for reporting such violations. The Attorney General (i) shall have authority to institute legal proceedings in the courts of the respective locality and (ii) may intervene in any proceeding to enforce this statute against any locality. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/17/2014Presented and ordered printed 14103146D
01/17/2014Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/28/2014Impact statement from DHCD (HB1219)
01/30/2014Impact statement from DPB (HB1219)
02/04/2014Assigned Courts sub: Constitutional Law
02/12/2014Left in Courts of Justice


Steve White writes:


This is a situation where the landowner was cited by his county in Virginia for allowing a friend to camp sometimes in one RV trailer on his 86 acre farm while hunting from out of town. They said he had to pay $1,350 for a conditional use permit as a "campground" or face prosecution. The man is suing the county this month. See the link. This bill would make that lawsuit pay for itself.

Jeff P. writes:

If it wasn't for the guy that actually wrote the language, I would support it. This is crony legislation at its worst, and a show bill to boot that will go nowhere. There are over 2000 bills put forward this session, and yet this delegate will waste the committees time on it anyway. When will he be held accountable for waste and abuse? Hopefully at the polls next election cycle.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

This bill is a laughable, absurd overreach. Its patron must well know that it'll be killed in subcommittee, when it's barely seen the light of day. This is political theater, at taxpayers' expense. People who don't know better will think that Marshall is a bold defender of rights, not realizing that this bill is just a little performance for them.

Shaun Kenney writes:

This bill is OUTSTANDING. Finally, a remedy for bureaucratic overreach that does not put working class Virginia under the thumb of well-financed government apparatchiks who have all day to knuckle under good people.

If government wants to plan, then plan to be challenged when the overreach begins. Property rights ought to be sacrosanct... and I think we can all point to instances where county and city planners have had far too much control over what goes where on private property.


Peyton Knight writes:

This is long, long overdue and should be supported by every elected official who truly has his constituents' best interests at heart. Private property rights are the cornerstone of our liberty. Allowing non-elected bureaucrats to trample these rights on a whim -- with virtually zero possibility of the slightest repercussion -- has resulted in far too many tragic injustices all across our Commonwealth. GREAT bill. Let's work to pass it!

Carolyn Worssam writes:

A great bill. Delegate Marshall looks out for the rights of Virginia Citizens. Support this bill. As Mr Knight says LET'S WORK TO PASS THIS BILL!

Mark Fitzgibbons writes:

Counties must have consequences -- just like citizens have consequences -- for failing to abide by the law. This bill even protects county employees who act as whistleblowers, so it is directed only at the bad actors. It discourages overreaching by zoning administrators, and therefore will actually help prevent the need for litigation. It's about time that we had this as law.

Sam writes:

I hear what you are saying Mr. Fitgibbons, but you need to understand that this bill is so badly written, that it actually violates the law itself instead of remedying anything. It violates the 10th Amendment. Our elected representatives need to be fighting for good legislation, not this manure. This stands out as one of the worst bills this session.

Mark Fitzgibbons writes:

Sam, That's not a serious comment. The bill doesn't violate the 10th Amendment or any law. It's extremely well written, and based in lots of sound precedent.