Friday, February 11, 2011

Reason #3 to defeat Edd Houck: Property Rights (by Sen. Mark Obenshain)

Eminent Domain / Motion to Discharge
On Tuesday, I committed what some see as a cardinal sin in politics. I made a motion to require members of the Senate to actually cast vote on whether or not we should adopt a constitutional amendment to ban eminent domain abuse (SJ 307). Bear with me a minute, because this is something that has not happened for decades.

When Senator Janet Howell, Chairman of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, decided that she was going to disregard the Rules of the Senate in order to shield her colleagues from having to vote on controversial issues like eminent domain reform, Republicans had a choice. They could 'shut up and take it' or they could stand up do something about it.

Unfortunately, after being ignored and shot down by Senator Howell and the Democratic majority, at the end of the day only one option remained available to Senate Republics - a seldom-used procedural move to bring the bill directly to the floor and bypass any of the committees.

Such a motion has not been made for decades, and senators from both parties have always felt that it would be inappropriate to use that motion, since it undermines the orderly process rising from committee consideration of bills. Here, however, there was no committee consideration of the eminent domain bill and Republican Senators all (yes, all 18) agreed that they had no choice but to move to bring the eminent domain constitutional amendment to the floor.

On Tuesday I made the motion - the first of its kind in more than twenty years - to discharge the Committee on Privileges and Elections from further consideration of the constitutional amendment on eminent domain reform. I was pleased that Senator Tommy Norment, with whom I have not always agreed, promptly stood up and seconded my motion.

That led to a vote on the floor on the amendment-technically, a vote on whether to bring it to the floor, but the only real vote likely to occur on the bill all year. We fell short on a party-line vote, with 18 Republicans voting in favor of placing in the Constitution of Virginia a protection against eminent domain abuse, with 22 members of the Senate voting against the amendment.

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At February 11, 2011 at 5:30 PM , Blogger Eric Martin said...

This is OUTRAGEOUS! Who are the Democrats protecting by voting against this commonsense law? Certainly not the land owners! Our founding fathers are spinning in their graves right about now.

To think this topic would be a problem in Virginia of all places is akin to going back 350 years in progress!

Long live the King??? Is that what I'm supposed to say?


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