Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Proposed Amendment for Tennessee

State Sen. Mae Beavers writes:
At least eight states forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development unless it is to eliminate blight. Other states either expressly allow a taking for private economic purposes or have not spoken clearly to the question.

What about Tennessee? Could your property be taken for economic development?

We have already seen several occasions in Tennessee where private businesses have been taken to make way for private development that would bring in more tax money.

It is my intention to file a Constitutional Amendment to make sure that this does not happen in Tennessee in the future. The Constitutional Amendment is only one way to protect your rights. This route would take longer since it has to pass two legislatures.

More immediately, I intend to make sure that the laws are written in such a way that your local government cannot infringe on your individual property rights by taking your property for economic development.

In a newspaper article written by James Madison in 1792, one of our founding fathers expressed his thoughts on property rights: “If the United States mean to obtain or deserve the full praise due to wise and just governments, they will equally respect the rights of property.”

It is shocking to see what has happened in this country. It is more than shocking to believe that you could lose your home to private developers.

The law has always allowed government to seize land for the public use. But would our Founding Fathers have considered high-end condos and big end stores owned by private corporations “public”?