Two Virginia Constitutional amendments to appear on Nov. 6 ballot

The following two questions will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot in addition to candidates seeking their respective offices.

Article I. Bill of Rights. (Virginia)

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?

The measure would prohibit eminent domain from being used for private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue generation or economic development, thereby restricting it to only being invoked to take private land for public use. Specifically, it would update a 2007 law which states that private property can be taken only when the public interest dominates the private gain. It is sponsored by Delegate Rob Bell. The proposed amendment, if approved by the voters, could only be changed by a future constitutional amendment approved by the voters.

Article IV. Legislature.
Section 6. Legislative sessions.

Shall Section 6 of Article IV (Legislature) of the Constitution of Virginia concerning legislative sessions be amended to allow the General Assembly to delay by no more than one week the fixed starting date for the reconvened or “veto” session when the General Assembly meets after a session to consider the bills returned to it by the Governor with vetoes or amendments?

After the end of every legislative session, the General Assembly is required by the Constitution to meet again or reconvene in a “veto” session. The only bills that the General Assembly can consider in a veto session are bills that it had passed during the legislative session and that the Governor has sent back to it with his vetoes or suggested amendments.

The Constitution now requires that the veto session must begin on the sixth Wednesday following the end of each session. The veto session usually lasts for only one day and cannot last more than ten days.

The proposed amendment only changes Section 6 of Article IV, proposed by this amendment will allow the General Assembly to delay the start of the veto session for up to one week. The General Assembly will be able to avoid the possible scheduling of the veto session on a religious holiday such as Passover. The proposed amendment does not change the present limits on the business that can be considered in a veto session or on the length of the veto session.


Question doesn't match text

How about providing the text of the actual proposed changes with the article, or a link to them?

The actual wording for the changes related to Question 1 are not as straightforward as the ballot question suggests. As written, the amendment could empower utility companies to exercise eminent domain! NO WAY!

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