Thursday, July 21, 2005

G'ville News Op/Ed: Property rights need stronger protection

Is YOUR Home Safe?

Op/Ed in Greenville News:

Whether you've got a three-story mansion or a 30-year-old doublewide, it is your home. You work hard to pay your taxes and your bills. You try your best to keep your gutters clean and your grass mowed. You look out for your neighbors, and they look out for you. Your home is the very best that you can provide for your family. Your home has been your castle -- until now. Your constitutional rights just took a serious blow. The U.S. Supreme Court stunned us with a redefinition of eminent domain.

The town of New London, Conn., approved a private development plan designed to revitalize its ailing economy and then purchased most of the property from willing sellers. When a few homeowners refused, the city condemned their homes. The homeowners sued, claiming that seizing their properties violates the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause. On June 23 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London. Consequently, any government entity can lawfully seize private property and hand it over to private developers.

I, along with other members of the S.C. Senate, am in the process of strengthening our state's eminent domain laws. In the wake of this shocking ruling, we are committed to addressing property rights legislation without delay. We will not rest until the New London scenario becomes absolutely impossible in South Carolina!

If you have an opinion on this or any other matter, feel free to post it!