WASHINGTON – On Nov. 6, voters will weigh in on critical issues facing regional states, including the Virginia government’s right to seize private property and the issues of gay marriage, tuition for undocumented immigrants and expanded gambling in Maryland.
WTOP has compiled additional information on some of these topics. Take a moment to learn a bit more about what will be on the ballot this fall.
Virginia Statewide Ballot
Question 1: Eminent Domain
Virginia Bill of Rights Amendment
This constitutional amendment affects the government’s use of “eminent domain,” or the ability to seize private property for public use.
It would encompass the following:
How it will appear on the ballot:
“Shall Section 11 of Article I (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended (i) to require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and, except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance, not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; (ii) to define what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property; and (iii) to prohibit the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use?
Opponents of the measure say this will unnecessarily burden the Virginia taxpayer with additional expenses. The Virginia Department of Transportation says this will cost an extra $100 million each year by making transportation projects more expensive. Learn more in this ConnectionNewspapers.com report.
Vocal proponent Ken Cuccinelli, the state attorney general and a Republican, says that money is already accounted for.
“This isn’t going to cost one penny,” he said in a recent interview. “This $100 million VDOT is waving around at you, someone is already paying for it.”
He compared how those funds are currently spent to “stealing.”
The Virginia Farm Bureau supports the measure, emphasizing the importance of specifying when the government may take private land. Such circumstances would include widening a road and building a school or a hospital, according to a video posted by the bureau in July.
Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)