Thursday, May 31, 2007

Annexation limit bill stalls

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

Lawmakers wanting to limit city annexation powers acknowledged Wednesday their legislation likely would fail to clear the General Assembly this year.

But they will try to salvage the cause by submitting the issue for study.

Click for the rest of the article

Friday, May 25, 2007

Interesting coverage of the Eminent Domain Amendment

Click here for notes from Becki Gray's live coverage of the debate on HB 878. This is interesting.

Last-minute effort to spike eminent domain amendment fails

Under the Dome: Eminent Amendment Imminent?

Exciting News from Last Night

Growth Matters: A Good Day for Property Rights

Eminent Domain Amendment Passes NC House, Heads to NC Senate

From N.C. House Republican Leader Paul Stam:

Raleigh – Just in time to meet “crossover” requirements, the North Carolina House has given final approval to a state constitutional amendment protecting private property. House Bill 878 would place the amendment on the ballot for voter approval during the next statewide election and would protect owners from having private property condemned by state and local governments for anything other than a “public use.”

Pressure to add limitations on the state’s power of “Eminent Domain” reached a critical point in 2005 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. New London, Connecticut. In Kelo, the Court ruled the city of New London had the right to condemn private homes to resell to another private owner who offered economic development and a larger tax base. Kelo has inspired stronger protections nationwide for private property and also for a clear reading by the courts of the Fifth Amendment to United States Constitution, among the Bill of Rights, which reads in part: No person deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The bill has enjoyed strong bipartisan support, sponsored by Democratic former Speaker Dan Blue (D-Wake), House Republican Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake), Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Rep. Jim Harrell, III, (D-Allegheny), and was co-sponsored by 96 members of the North Carolina House. After surviving repeated attempts to gut the bill, the proposed constitutional referendum was approved by the House on a final vote of 104 to 15, Thursday.

The text of the proposed addition to North Carolina’s Constitution reads:

“Private property shall not be taken except for a public use, including preservation for that use. Public use does not include the taking of property for the purpose of thereafter conveying an interest in the property to a third party for economic development. This paragraph does not apply to the taking of blighted properties as defined by general law, nor to takings for access by the owner to property. As used in this paragraph, blight includes only the physical condition of the property taken. Just compensation shall be paid and, if demanded by the owner, shall be determined by a jury.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eminent Domain Amendment on House Calendar for Today!

We have good news to report: House Bill 878 (the eminent domain amendment) is on the House calendar for today!

Please contact your House member and tell them to support this important bill. According to the calendar the House is scheduled to convene at 1:45 p.m. today.

Click here to find out which House district you reside in

Contact info for N.C. House Members

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eminent Domain Amendment Finally on Committee's Calendar

This post from The Locker Room provides us with an update on the status of the eminent domain amendment. The entry, posted by Becki Gray, says the following:

"It (HB 878) was on the calendar for the House Judiciary Committee (after several days of input from many interested parties, including JLF, resulting in a newly drafted proposed committee substitute). The committee met for an hour, considered and voted on about eight other bills on the calendar. The committee adjourned before taking up the eminent domain bill. It has to pass the House before Thursday night at midnight. They will reconvene after.'" session to continue their work. Chairman Dan Blue (D-Wake) said at the end of the meeting, 'We may vote on anything between now and the cross over deadline.'"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jacksonville Daily News: We Need Eminent Domain Amendment

This editorial from Saturday's Jacksonville Daily News calls for an amendment to the state constitution to prevent eminent domain abuse.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

News Release: Eminent Domain Amendment Moved to Sponsor's Committee

The following is a news release from Rep. Paul Stam, minority leader in the N.C. House:

Raleigh - On Tuesday, May 15, the Eminent Domain Constitutional Amendment was finally re-referred to the House Judiciary II Committee, chaired by former Speaker Dan Blue (D-Wake), one of the primary sponsors.

Other primary sponsors are Reps. Paul Stam (R-Wake), Jim Harrell (D-Surry) and David Lewis (R-Harnett). As co-sponsors, 92 House members also signed onto the bill in March. Re-referral of the amendment from the Rules Committee to Blue's Judiciary II Committee brought hope to supporters of the proposal.

"It will finally receive a hearing and a vote before next Tuesday's Crossover Deadline," Stam said, the date when most legislation must pass either the House or Senate to be eligible for consideration in the other chamber.

If approved by the General Assembly and the voters in a statewide election November 6.

In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Kelo v. New London, Connecticut that local government could condemn private property and transfer it to someone else for economic development, and the hue and cry around the county spread like wildfire. Polls show 80 to 90 percent disapprove of the decision.

The constitutional amendment would reverse the infamous Kelo decision for North Carolina by disallowing condemnation in such case. It would require prompt payment of just compensation and a trial by jury in all condemnation actions as a matter of constitutional right.

The proposed amendment reads:

"Private property shall not be taken except for a public use. Public use does not include the taking of property for the purpose of economic development. The previous sentence does not apply to the taking of property which is blighted as defined by general law. Just compensation shall be promptly paid and, if demanded by the owner, shall be determined by a jury. Nothing in the previous sentence affects transfer of title pending final judgment on the amount of damages if the condemnor has deposited with the court for distribution to the owner its good faith estimate of just compensation, as provided by general law."

N.C. DOT vs. The Wilkinsons (Eminent Domain)

This is an interesting read from Brian Pate's Real Estate Blog.

Eminent Domain Amendment Moved Out of Rules Committee

We have good news to report: House Bill 878 (the eminent domain amendment) was moved from the Rules committee to the Judiciary II Committee on May 15. The J-II Committee is chaired by Rep. Dan Blue (D-Wake), one of the primary sponsors of HB 878.

We will keep you posted on the bill's status.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Locke Foundation study: N.C. has weakest property rights protection in nation

According to a report released by the John Locke Foundation, the N.C. Constitution has the nation’s weakest property rights protection.

Click here for an article outlining the release of the report

Click here for a copy of the report

The JLF report makes the case for a constitutional amendment to protect against these types of takings and other eminent-domain abuses.

Opposition to Forced Annexation Rises

This is an interesting article from The News & Observer.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

UPDATE: HB 878 Still Not on Rules Committee's Agenda

Below is the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House. As you can see, HB 878 (the eminent domain amendment) is still not on the committee's agenda.

2007-2008 SESSION

You are hereby notified that the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House will meet as follows:

DAY & DATE: Thursday, May 10, 2007

TIME: 5:00 p.m. or upon recess

LOCATION: Speaker's Conference Room LB

COMMENTS: The following bills will be considered:


HB 1465 - Fibromyalgia Awareness Day - Representative Weiss, Representative Luebke, Representative Glazier, Representative Blue

HB 1555 - Property Tax Commission Terms - Representative Owens, Jr.

HB 1556 - 2007 Speaker's Appointments - Representative Owens, Jr.

HJR 1876 - Hillsborough Hog Day 25th Anniversary - Representative Faison, Representative Insko

Respectfully, Representative Owens, Chair

I hereby certify this notice was filed by the committee assistant at the following offices at 10:15 a.m. o’clock on May 09, 2007.
X Principal Clerk
X Reading Clerk – House Chamber

Dot Crocker (Rules Clerk)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rally Against Forced Annexation on May 9

A number of organizations are sponsoring a rally against forced annexation. The rally will be held May 9 at the legislature. Here are the details from

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

HB 878 NOT Discussed at Yesterday's Rules Committee Meeting

I just spoke with Dot Crocker, the Rules Committee Clerk (the committee is chaired by Rep. Bill Owens). HB 878 (the eminent domain amendment) was NOT discussed at yesterday's Rules Committee meeting.

When asked if the bill would be discussed at the next meeting, she said, "I don't know, I haven't been given the agenda. I don't even know when the next meeting is. They are called meetings, not regular meetings."

We encourage you to contact legislative leaders and members of the Rules Committee and tell them that HB 878, the eminent domain amendment, needs to be brought to the floor for a vote.

- NCPRC Staff