Scott County

Virginia Attorney General urges voters to study what is on their ballot

Eminent Domain

HILTONS, Va. - A big part of election day is knowing what you are voting for, and some voters are finding themselves surprised by the issue of eminent domain.

"I hadn't heard anything about that," said Garrith Gardner.

"I hadn't heard anything about this until today and it's the day before Election Day," said Phillip Gardner.

Some people will find themselves scratching their heads on November 6 at the polls when they see the proposed amendment changes for Article I Section 11 in the state Bill of Rights concerning eminent domain.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia Attorney General, tells us the current amendment is not working. "It's been badly abused in Virginia for decades like it has around the country," he explained.

We learned that currently the government has the right to take your property for public use that could bring in more tax dollars or jobs and compensate you for the land, but Cuccinelli says you don't always get fully reimbursed. "We haven't compensated for various damages like if you own a business and you lost profits from moving your business, we don't compensate that at all," said Cuccinelli.

We got a copy of the proposed amendment and found a few of the key points that are being pushed are to require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken is for public use and not where the primary use is for private gain, private enterprise or for increasing tax revenue or economic development.

Garrith Gardner says he will be voting yes to the new amendment. "I don't think it's right because I've worked hard for what I got and I don't want them to take it from me," said Gardner.

We learned the amendment would also define what property owners would get for their land. 

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