PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - November 03, 2005)
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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank my colleague from California because not only is she supportive of this legislation but she has been speaking out consistently since the Kelo decision against that decision and the consequences.
Mr. Chairman, I have grown concerned with the increasing rate of eminent domain abuse cases across the country, so I appreciate that we will be able to vote on this bill today.
Many of us in Congress were shocked by the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Kelo, allowing the town of New London, Connecticut, to seize 15 homes so a developer could build offices, a hotel and convention center. This set a disturbing precedent and raised serious concerns about whether there are any limits to the government's power under the takings clause of the Constitution.
I believe the Private Property Rights Protection Act, this legislation, is a strong first step in the fight against eminent domain abuse. However, I think we can do better. I think we need to pass stronger legislation to ensure that we curb all abuses of eminent domain, not just those in areas where Federal funds are being used for a project.
That is why I have introduced my own legislation to curb the inappropriate use of eminent domain. The Protect Our Homes Act simply states that there should be no taking of homes for economic development unless there are rare and exceptional circumstances involving a public health or safety crisis. This legislation would render any State or local government that does otherwise ineligible for Federal financial assistance under any HUD program. It would also put in place appropriate safeguards to ensure that any eminent domain process is fair and transparent.
We have an obligation to protect our citizens as we revitalize our aging neighborhoods. We should not sit idly by and tolerate abuses of eminent domain in the name of economic revitalization. It is time to strengthen the Federal law to guarantee that homeowners throughout this great country are protected.
I am pleased to support the legislation before us which will send a strong message that taking private homes for generating revenue will not be tolerated. There is still much more for Congress to do to prevent eminent domain abuse, however, and I look forward to this bill passing and to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
It is very refreshing to see that this legislation has bipartisan support and that we are moving on this legislation today.
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