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Northern Va. Dems Fighting New Eminent Domain Law

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Virginia legislators will likely vote again on a proposed amendment to the state constitution dealing with eminent domain in the next legislative session.
Waldo Jaquith (http://www.flickr.com/photos/waldoj/5415089608/)
Virginia legislators will likely vote again on a proposed amendment to the state constitution dealing with eminent domain in the next legislative session.

Northern Virginia Democrats are preparing to fight a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would expand protections against eminent domain. But they have a difficult battle ahead.

The amendment, which must pass the General Assembly twice, has already cleared the legislature once, last year, when it had large margins of victory in the House of Delegates and the state Senate. Although many Democrats across Virginia support the amendment, most of its opposition comes from Democrats in Northern Virginia.

The opponents say that it would provide legal jeopardy for local governments for even the most minor of actions, including adding a turn lane or allowing a parade. Along with their allies in the Virginia Municipal League, Northern Virginia Democrats say the problem with the amendment is that it provides new protections for individuals to seek compensation if they can prove a loss of profits or loss of access. 

Supporters say it's a needed counterweight to provide protection to landowners from the encroachment of local governments.

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