While the redevelopment battle wages on in California, there’s a somewhat similar discussion taking place on Capitol Hill. We reported back in April about the House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of H.R. 1433 – the "Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2011" — a bill that would prevent states and municipalities from using eminent domain for economic development purposes (such as redevelopment) on any project for which the agencies are receiving federal funding. But there has not been much news since. That may all change today.
According to an Energy & Environment Daily Report, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee are scheduled to vote today on the bill in an effort to respond to the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London. So far, the bill has received Republican support, while Democrats have been a bit more skeptical.
Arizona’s Republican Representative, Trent Franks, is quoted as saying that Congress should "restore the property rights protections that were erased from the Constitution by the Kelo decision." New York’s Democratic Representative, Jerrold Nadler, on the other hand, has expressed reservations about the bill and wants the Committee to seriously consider whether it strikes the right balance between property rights and economic development.
The bill has 24 sponsors, so it will be interesting to see how the Committee votes today.
UPDATE (5:00 pm): according to our Washington insiders, the bill apparently was not voted on today. We’ll stay on top of this and keep you updated.