Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives approved H.R. 1944, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, by a vote of 353-65. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) introduced the Private Property Rights Protection Act to protect Americans from eminent domain abuse and to disincentivize state and local governments from using eminent domain to seize the homes of hardworking Americans only to give the property to other private interests.
The Private Property Rights Protection Act was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, which gives state and local governments broad authority to seize private property under the guise of economic development to generate tax revenue. This legislation limits the negative impact of the Supreme Court’s decision and ensures that federal economic development funds will not be spent on projects that misuse eminent domain power to seize property for private economic development. As eminent domain abuse continues to be a serious problem for private property owners across the country, this legislation is needed to provide protections to private property owners in every state.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), chief sponsor of the Private Property Rights Protection Act, praised today’s vote by the House of Representatives.
Chairman Goodlatte: “In the name of private development and expansion, Americans have been forced by state and local governments to give up their homes, small businesses and family farms; churches have been forced to shut their doors after government seizure. It is simply wrong for government to seize Americans’ private property simply because it thinks another private party can better use it. The Supreme Court decision in the Kelo v. City of New London case jeopardized the fundamental rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution to protect private property from government seizure. The Private Property Rights Protection Act limits the negative impact of this damaging Supreme Court decision and restores the rights embodied in the Constitution to Americans. It effectively disincentivizes state and local governments from seizing hardworking Americans’ private property and reforms the use and abuse of eminent domain.”
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “As part of ‘Stop Government Abuse Week,’ I am pleased that the House once again voted to protect Americans’ private property rights and curtail the abuse of eminent domain. While most Americans oppose the taking of private property for private uses, in Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that ‘economic development’ can be a ‘public use’ under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause – giving the government the authority to transfer property from individuals with fewer resources to those with more. This disproportionately affects the poor, churches, religious institutions, non-profit organizations and farmers. The Private Property Rights Protection Act would rightfully restore the rights the Supreme Court took away.”