[Rushtalk] Trump's Border Barrier Hits a Wall

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Mon May 21 08:56:26 MDT 2018


Trump's Border Barrier Hits a Wall
The administration would need to acquire private property to build his
barricade, which will put the president at odds with many in his own
party.



Priscilla Alvarez
Apr 6, 2017 

A U.S. worker inspects a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at
Sunland Park.Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters 

Pamela Taylor’s home in Brownsville, Texas, sits in between the Rio
Grande and the current border fence. Taylor, 88, voted for Donald Trump.
But now, she faces the possibility that the man she voted for could take
her land through eminent domain.

“As far as we’re concerned, the fence is not going to work. This fence
is not working,” she said. “When you’re not here and you don’t know the
area and then you say something, it’s best to get your ducks in a row.”
If the administration were to present her a condemnation notice, she
told me she would “definitely” take it to court.

Taylor is one of many landowners along the Texas-Mexico border who are
preparing for a legal fight to keep their property. In 2006, President
George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act, authorizing the construction
of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The administration
focused on states where most of the land belonged to the government. But
in some areas, the government needed to acquire private property in
order to build on it. Some landowners, unhappy with imposing barriers,
protested. As Trump attempts to jumpstart the process of sealing the
southern border, he will face similar resistance.

In January, Trump signed an executive order calling for the construction
of a wall—a project estimated to cost as much as $21.6 billion,
according to the Department of Homeland Security. Building a physical
barrier along the border is a tall order: it stretches roughly 2,000
miles, and the topography in some areas can also pose a challenge. The
territory that Trump intends to cover also includes private property—a
factor that doesn’t appear to have gone unnoticed by the administration.




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In his budget blueprint, Trump requested funding for 20 additional
Justice Department lawyers “to pursue federal efforts to obtain the land
and holdings necessary to secure the Southwest border.” This sets up the
use of eminent domain, which allows the government to acquire privately
owned land if it’s for public use. It also, however, puts the president
at odds with his own party, which has long argued that the use of
eminent domain is an example of big government overreach.

During the presidential campaign, Trumphailed eminent domain as
“necessary” for the country. The note of praise was not unusual for
Trump, who has taken advantage of eminent domain as a businessman, but
it sidestepped the Republican Party’s position on the matter.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the “public use” component in
theFifth Amendment’s Takings Clause—citizens cannot “be deprived of
life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall
private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”—
allowing a local government to seize property from private landowners
and turn it over to a private developer. Trump hasdefended the ruling.

Republicans, however, have tried to override the decision in recent
years. In 2013, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin introduced
thePrivate Property Rights Protection Act. It prohibits state and local
governments from using eminent domain “to transfer private property to
other private parties for the purpose of economic development,” or
otherwise be temporarily stripped of their federal funds. It also
prohibits the federal government from doing so. The bill passed the
House, but stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sensenbrenner has
sincereintroduced the bill.

“The freedom to own and protect one’s private property is foundational
to our country. Congress must fight to protect the private property
rights of Americans and reform the use and abuse of eminent domain,”
Sensenbrennersaid in a statement last month.

Now, with Trump in the White House, Republicans are faced with a
conundrum as the president signals his intent to use eminent domain to
construct his proposed border wall.

“I’ve said since 2013 that building a wall from sea to shining sea is
the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border. Of
particular concern, is that we’ve seen no estimates to date that include
the total costs of land acquisition (as would be required through
eminent domain) or of subsequent legal battles with landowners,”
Representative Will Hurd, who represents over 820 miles of the
U.S.-Mexico border, said in an emailed statement.

“If they’re building a wall in Texas, it means they are building on
private land, which means it’s harder, a lot harder,” Representative
John Carter of Texastold My Statesman. Carter has been in contact with
White House officials over the challenges likely to arise from building
a wall on the border.


Other Texas lawmakers also appear to share concerns about the erection
of a wall. A delegation-widesurvey conducted byThe Texas Tribune last
December found that some Texas Republicans in Congress support building
a wall, though they “declined to clarify whether it should be a
contiguous construction from San Diego to Brownsville.” Constituents of
some of these Republican lawmakers would be at risk of having their land
seized, potentially causing a backlash within their districts.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told The Dallas Morning News that he’d
be OK with the Trump administration using eminent domain to construct
the border wall so long as people are “paid fairly.” Paxton, a
Republican, noted that eminent domain has been used regularly for
infrastructure projects. “In my mind, this is a very similar purpose,”
he said. “It’s a public purpose providing safety to people not only
along the border, but to the entire nation.”

Democrats also have concerns about the government purchasing private
property to build a wall. “Private property rights and allowing big
government to take this land that sometimes [residents have] owned for
generations is something that we take very seriously here in Texas,”
said Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, who represents a district
that lines the border.

The Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group, has already
begun preparing for eminent-domain cases. The group has experience to
draw from—they represented some landowners in 2007 and 2008, said Efrén
Olivares, the racial and economic justice director at the Texas Civil
Rights Project. In all of the cases, landowners received more money than
the government had initially proposed. But contrary to the Bush
administration, Trump wants to seal the entire border, therefore putting
more landowners at risk of receiving so-called condemnation notices.

“We have started contacting some landowners who are along the border
whose land was partially taken or attempted to be taken back in ’07 and
’08,” Olivares said, adding that they plan to contact—and represent—as
many landowners as possible.

Landowners are notified of the government’s intent to acquire their
property in a condemnation notice. Landowners then have the right to
request a jury trial, Olivares said. “The question for a jury is what
constitutes just compensation.” He added: “You can also contest the
taking itself but that is a difficult argument. In these border cases,
the government surely will argue that they need to take the land for
national security purposes so that’s a difficult argument to counter.”
The cases are time consuming. There are still about 90 condemnation
cases open from the last time the government tried to seize land,
according to the Justice Department.

Government attempts to seize property are a particularly sensitive issue
for residents who have owned their land for decades—a common case in the
state of Texas.


“Property rights are important to all Americans—especially Texans—and
most of the property along our border has been privately held for
generation,” Hurd said in an email. “Many Texans I speak to think there
are better ways to achieve border security without taking their lands,
so you can expect a lengthy and expensive fight from these folks.” The
government has not issued any new condemnation notices related to
Trump’s proposed border wall, according to the Justice Department.

There’s much to be done before a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is a
done deal. Congress, after all, still needs to approve the funds. But
even if it does, there’s a lot of Texan conservatives who will be
standing in their way.


________________________________________________________________________

Related Video:





 Priscilla Alvarez is an assistant editor at The Atlantic.  Twitter 


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Home > Legislation > 115th Congress > H.R.1689 



H.R.1689 - Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2017115th Congress
(2017-2018) | Get alerts 

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              Sponsor:
Rep. Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr.
[R-WI-5] (Introduced 03/22/2017)
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House - Judiciary
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House - 04/25/2018 Ordered to be
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Introduced in House (03/22/2017)


115th CONGRESS
1st Session




H. R. 1689 


To protect private property rights.


________________________________________________________________________
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES March 22, 2017 Mr. Sensenbrenner (for
himself, Ms. Maxine Waters of California, and Mr. Fitzpatrick)
introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on
the Judiciary



________________________________________________________________________
A BILL 
To protect private property rights.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, 

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Private Property Rights Protection Act of
2017”.


SEC. 2. Prohibition on eminent domain abuse by States.


(a) In General.—No State or political subdivision of a State shall
exercise its power of eminent domain, or allow the exercise of such
power by any person or entity to which such power has been delegated,
over property to be used for economic development or over property that
is used for economic development within 7 years after that exercise, if
that State or political subdivision receives Federal economic
development funds during any fiscal year in which the property is so
used or intended to be used.


(b) Ineligibility for Federal Funds.—A violation of subsection (a) by a
State or political subdivision shall render such State or political
subdivision ineligible for any Federal economic development funds for a
period of 2 fiscal years following a final judgment on the merits by a
court of competent jurisdiction that such subsection has been violated,
and any Federal agency charged with distributing those funds shall
withhold them for such 2-year period, and any such funds distributed to
such State or political subdivision shall be returned or reimbursed by
such State or political subdivision to the appropriate Federal agency or
authority of the Federal Government, or component thereof.


(c) Opportunity To Cure Violation.—A State or political subdivision
shall not be ineligible for any Federal economic development funds under
subsection (b) if such State or political subdivision returns all real
property the taking of which was found by a court of competent
jurisdiction to have constituted a violation of subsection (a) and
replaces any other property destroyed and repairs any other property
damaged as a result of such violation. In addition, the State or
political subdivision must pay any applicable penalties and interest to
reattain eligibility.

SEC. 3. Prohibition on eminent domain abuse by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government or any authority of the Federal Government shall
not exercise its power of eminent domain to be used for economic
development.


SEC. 4. Private right of action.


(a) Cause of Action.—Any—(1) owner of private property whose property is
subject to eminent domain who suffers injury as a result of a violation
of any provision of this Act with respect to that property; or (2) any
tenant of property that is subject to eminent domain who suffers injury
as a result of a violation of any provision of this Act with respect to
that property, may bring an action to enforce any provision of this Act
in the appropriate Federal or State court. A State shall not be immune
under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States from
any such action in a Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction.
In such action, the defendant has the burden to show by clear and
convincing evidence that the taking is not for economic development. Any
such property owner or tenant may also seek an appropriate relief
through a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order.


(b) Limitation on Bringing Action.—An action brought by a property owner
or tenant under this Act may be brought if the property is used for
economic development following the conclusion of any condemnation
proceedings condemning the property of such property owner or tenant,
but shall not be brought later than seven years following the conclusion
of any such proceedings.


(c) Attorneys’ Fee and Other Costs.—In any action or proceeding under
this Act, the court shall allow a prevailing plaintiff a reasonable
attorneys’ fee as part of the costs, and include expert fees as part of
the attorneys’ fee.

SEC. 5. Reporting of violations to Attorney General.


(a) Submission of report to attorney general.—Any—(1) owner of private
property whose property is subject to eminent domain who suffers injury
as a result of a violation of any provision of this Act with respect to
that property; or (2) any tenant of property that is subject to eminent
domain who suffers injury as a result of a violation of any provision of
this Act with respect to that property, may report a violation by the
Federal Government, any authority of the Federal Government, State, or
political subdivision of a State to the Attorney General.


(b) Investigation by attorney general.—Upon receiving a report of an
alleged violation, the Attorney General shall conduct an investigation
to determine whether a violation exists.


(c) Notification of violation.—If the Attorney General concludes that a
violation does exist, then the Attorney General shall notify the Federal
Government, authority of the Federal Government, State, or political
subdivision of a State that the Attorney General has determined that it
is in violation of the Act. The notification shall further provide that
the Federal Government, State, or political subdivision of a State has
90 days from the date of the notification to demonstrate to the Attorney
General either that: (1) it is not in violation of the Act; or (2) that
it has cured its violation by returning all real property the taking of
which the Attorney General finds to have constituted a violation of the
Act and replacing any other property destroyed and repairing any other
property damaged as a result of such violation.


(d) Attorney general’s bringing of action To enforce act.—If, at the end
of the 90-day period described in subsection (c), the Attorney General
determines that the Federal Government, authority of the Federal
Government, State, or political subdivision of a State is still
violating the Act or has not cured its violation as described in
subsection (c), then the Attorney General will bring an action to
enforce the Act unless the property owner or tenant who reported the
violation has already brought an action to enforce the Act. In such a
case, the Attorney General shall intervene if it determines that
intervention is necessary in order to enforce the Act. The Attorney
General may file its lawsuit to enforce the Act in the appropriate
Federal or State court. A State shall not be immune under the 11th
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States from any such action
in a Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction. In such action,
the defendant has the burden to show by clear and convincing evidence
that the taking is not for economic development. The Attorney General
may seek any appropriate relief through a preliminary injunction or a
temporary restraining order.


(e) Limitation on bringing action.—An action brought by the Attorney
General under this Act may be brought if the property is used for
economic development following the conclusion of any condemnation
proceedings condemning the property of an owner or tenant who reports a
violation of the Act to the Attorney General, but shall not be brought
later than seven years following the conclusion of any such proceedings.


(f) Attorneys’ fee and other costs.—In any action or proceeding under
this Act brought by the Attorney General, the court shall, if the
Attorney General is a prevailing plaintiff, award the Attorney General a
reasonable attorneys’ fee as part of the costs, and include expert fees
as part of the attorneys’ fee.

SEC. 6. Notification by Attorney General.


(a) Notification to States and Political Subdivisions.—

(1) Not later than 30 days after the enactment of this Act, the Attorney
General shall provide to the chief executive officer of each State the
text of this Act and a description of the rights of property owners and
tenants under this Act.



(2) Not later than 120 days after the enactment of this Act, the
Attorney General shall compile a list of the Federal laws under which
Federal economic development funds are distributed. The Attorney General
shall compile annual revisions of such list as necessary. Such list and
any successive revisions of such list shall be communicated by the
Attorney General to the chief executive officer of each State and also
made available on the Internet website maintained by the United States
Department of Justice for use by the public and by the authorities in
each State and political subdivisions of each State empowered to take
private property and convert it to public use subject to just
compensation for the taking.


(b) Notification to Property Owners and tenants.—Not later than 30 days
after the enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall publish in
the Federal Register and make available on the Internet website
maintained by the United States Department of Justice a notice
containing the text of this Act and a description of the rights of
property owners and tenants under this Act.

SEC. 7. Reports.


(a) By Attorney General.—Not later than 1 year after the date of
enactment of this Act, and every subsequent year thereafter, the
Attorney General shall transmit a report identifying States or political
subdivisions that have used eminent domain in violation of this Act to
the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary of the
House of Representatives and to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the
Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate. The report shall—

(1) identify all private rights of action brought as a result of a
State’s or political subdivision’s violation of this Act;



(2) identify all violations reported by property owners and tenants
under section 5(c) of this Act;



(3) identify the percentage of minority residents compared to the
surrounding nonminority residents and the median incomes of those
impacted by a violation of this Act;



(4) identify all lawsuits brought by the Attorney General under section
5(d) of this Act;



(5) identify all States or political subdivisions that have lost Federal
economic development funds as a result of a violation of this Act, as
well as describe the type and amount of Federal economic development
funds lost in each State or political subdivision and the Agency that is
responsible for withholding such funds; and



(6) discuss all instances in which a State or political subdivision has
cured a violation as described in section 2(c) of this Act.


(b) Duty of States.—Each State and local authority that is subject to a
private right of action under this Act shall have the duty to report to
the Attorney General such information with respect to such State and
local authorities as the Attorney General needs to make the report
required under subsection (a).

SEC. 8. Sense of Congress regarding rural America.


(a) Findings.—The Congress finds the following:

(1) The founders realized the fundamental importance of property rights
when they codified the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the
Constitution, which requires that private property shall not be taken
“for public use, without just compensation”.



(2) Rural lands are unique in that they are not traditionally considered
high tax revenue-generating properties for State and local governments.
In addition, farmland and forest land owners need to have long-term
certainty regarding their property rights in order to make the
investment decisions to commit land to these uses.



(3) Ownership rights in rural land are fundamental building blocks for
our Nation’s agriculture industry, which continues to be one of the most
important economic sectors of our economy.



(4) In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New
London, abuse of eminent domain is a threat to the property rights of
all private property owners, including rural land owners.


(b) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that the use of
eminent domain for the purpose of economic development is a threat to
agricultural and other property in rural America and that the Congress
should protect the property rights of Americans, including those who
reside in rural areas. Property rights are central to liberty in this
country and to our economy. The use of eminent domain to take farmland
and other rural property for economic development threatens liberty,
rural economies, and the economy of the United States. The taking of
farmland and rural property will have a direct impact on existing
irrigation and reclamation projects. Furthermore, the use of eminent
domain to take rural private property for private commercial uses will
force increasing numbers of activities from private property onto this
Nation’s public lands, including its National forests, National parks
and wildlife refuges. This increase can overburden the infrastructure of
these lands, reducing the enjoyment of such lands for all citizens.
Americans should not have to fear the government’s taking their homes,
farms, or businesses to give to other persons. Governments should not
abuse the power of eminent domain to force rural property owners from
their land in order to develop rural land into industrial and commercial
property. Congress has a duty to protect the property rights of rural
Americans in the face of eminent domain abuse.

SEC. 9. Sense of Congress.

It is the policy of the United States to encourage, support, and promote
the private ownership of property and to ensure that the constitutional
and other legal rights of private property owners are protected by the
Federal Government.


SEC. 10. Religious and nonprofit organizations.


(a) Prohibition on States.—No State or political subdivision of a State
shall exercise its power of eminent domain, or allow the exercise of
such power by any person or entity to which such power has been
delegated, over property of a religious or other nonprofit organization
by reason of the nonprofit or tax-exempt status of such organization, or
any quality related thereto if that State or political subdivision
receives Federal economic development funds during any fiscal year in
which it does so.


(b) Ineligibility for Federal Funds.—A violation of subsection (a) by a
State or political subdivision shall render such State or political
subdivision ineligible for any Federal economic development funds for a
period of 2 fiscal years following a final judgment on the merits by a
court of competent jurisdiction that such subsection has been violated,
and any Federal agency charged with distributing those funds shall
withhold them for such 2-year period, and any such funds distributed to
such State or political subdivision shall be returned or reimbursed by
such State or political subdivision to the appropriate Federal agency or
authority of the Federal Government, or component thereof.


(c) Prohibition on Federal Government.—The Federal Government or any
authority of the Federal Government shall not exercise its power of
eminent domain over property of a religious or other nonprofit
organization by reason of the nonprofit or tax-exempt status of such
organization, or any quality related thereto.

SEC. 11. Report by Federal agencies on regulations and procedures
relating to eminent domain.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the
head of each Executive department and agency shall review all rules,
regulations, and procedures and report to the Attorney General on the
activities of that department or agency to bring its rules, regulations
and procedures into compliance with this Act.


SEC. 12. Sense of Congress.

It is the sense of Congress that any and all precautions shall be taken
by the government to avoid the unfair or unreasonable taking of property
away from survivors of Hurricane Katrina who own, were bequeathed, or
assigned such property, for economic development purposes or for the
private use of others.


SEC. 13. Disproportionate impact.

If the court determines that a violation of this Act has occurred, and
that the violation has a disproportionately high impact on the poor or
minorities, the Attorney General shall use reasonable efforts to locate
former owners and tenants and inform them of the violation and any
remedies they may have.


SEC. 14. Definitions.

In this Act the following definitions apply:


(1) ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.—The term “economic development” means taking
private property, without the consent of the owner, and conveying or
leasing such property from one private person or entity to another
private person or entity for commercial enterprise carried on for
profit, or to increase tax revenue, tax base, employment, or general
economic health, except that such term shall not include—

(A) conveying private property—

(i) to public ownership, such as for a road, hospital, airport, or
military base;



(ii) to an entity, such as a common carrier, that makes the property
available to the general public as of right, such as a railroad or
public facility;



(iii) for use as a road or other right of way or means, open to the
public for transportation, whether free or by toll; and



(iv) for use as an aqueduct, flood control facility, pipeline, or
similar use;



(B) removing harmful uses of land provided such uses constitute an
immediate threat to public health and safety;



(C) leasing property to a private person or entity that occupies an
incidental part of public property or a public facility, such as a
retail establishment on the ground floor of a public building;



(D) acquiring abandoned property;



(E) clearing defective chains of title;



(F) taking private property for use by a utility providing electric,
natural gas, telecommunication, water, wastewater, or other utility
services either directly to the public or indirectly through provision
of such services at the wholesale level for resale to the public; and



(G) redeveloping of a brownfield site as defined in the Small Business
Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (42 U.S.C.
9601(39)).


(2) FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDS.—The term “Federal economic
development funds” means any Federal funds distributed to or through
States or political subdivisions of States under Federal laws designed
to improve or increase the size of the economies of States or political
subdivisions of States.


(3) STATE.—The term “State” means each of the several States, the
District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other
territory or possession of the United States.

SEC. 15. Limitation on statutory construction.

Nothing in this Act may be construed to supersede, limit, or otherwise
affect any provision of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real
Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601 et seq.).


SEC. 16. Broad construction.

This Act shall be construed in favor of a broad protection of private
property rights, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this
Act and the Constitution.


SEC. 17. Severability and effective date.


(a) Severability.—The provisions of this Act are severable. If any
provision of this Act, or any application thereof, is found
unconstitutional, that finding shall not affect any provision or
application of the Act not so adjudicated.


(b) Effective Date.—This Act shall take effect upon the first day of the
first fiscal year that begins after the date of the enactment of this
Act, but shall not apply to any project for which condemnation
proceedings have been initiated prior to the date of enactment.




https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1689/text






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Home > Legislation > 113th Congress > H.R.1944 



H.R.1944 - Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2014113th Congress
(2013-2014)

Bill

Hide Overview  
              Sponsor:
Rep. Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr.
[R-WI-5] (Introduced 05/09/2013)
            Committees:
House - Judiciary | Senate -
Judiciary
         Committee Reports:
H. Rept. 113-357
           Latest Action:
Senate - 02/27/2014 Received in the
Senate and Read twice and referred
to the Committee on the
Judiciary.  (All Actions)
          Roll Call Votes:
There has been 1 roll call vote

Tracker:

This bill has the status Passed House

Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:


     1. Introduced 
     2. Passed House






More on This Bill

      * Constitutional Authority Statement 
      * CBO Cost Estimates [1] 

Subject — Policy Area:

      * Civil Rights and Liberties, Minority Issues 
      * View subjects 



      * 
        
        
        Summary (3)
        
      * 
        
        
        Text (4)
        
      * 
        
        
        Actions (16)
        
      * 
        
        
        Titles (4)
        
      * 
        
        
        Amendments (0)
        
      * 
        
        
        Cosponsors (2)
        
      * 
        
        
        Committees (2)
        
      * 
        
        
        Related Bills (0)

Summary: H.R.1944 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except
Text)



There are 3 summaries for H.R.1944. Bill summaries are authored by CRS. 

Shown Here:

Passed House without amendment (02/26/2014)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded
summary of the House reported version is repeated here, with an updated
short title.)

Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2014 - (Sec. 2) Prohibits a
state or political subdivision from exercising its power of eminent
domain, or allowing the exercise of such power by delegation, over
property to be used for economic development or over property that is
used for economic development within seven years after that exercise, if
the state or political subdivision receives federal economic development
funds during any fiscal year in which the property is so used or
intended to be used.

Defines "economic development," generally, as the taking of private
property, without the consent of the owner, and conveying or leasing
such property from one private person or entity to another for
commercial enterprise. Sets forth exclusions from such definition,
including: (1) conveying private property for specified public uses; (2)
leasing property to a private person or entity that occupies an
incidental part of public property or facility; (3) acquiring abandoned
property; (4) taking private property for use by a utility providing
electric, natural gas, telecommunication, water, wastewater, or other
utility services directly to the public or indirectly through provision
of such services at the wholesale level for resale to the public; and
(5) redevelopment of a brownfield site.

Renders a state or political subdivision ineligible for any federal
economic development funds for a period of two fiscal years following a
final judgment by a court that it has violated such prohibition.

Declares that a state or political subdivision shall not be ineligible
if it returns all real property constituting a violation, replaces any
property destroyed, and repairs any other property damaged as a result
of the violation. Requires a state to pay applicable penalties and
interest to reattain eligibility.

(Sec. 3) Prohibits the federal government from exercising its power of
eminent domain for economic development.

(Sec. 4) Establishes a private cause of action for any private property
owner or tenant who suffers injury as a result of a violation of this
Act. Prohibits state immunity in federal or state court. Sets the
statute of limitations at seven years.

(Sec. 5) Allows any owner of private property whose property is subject
to eminent domain who suffers injury as a result of a violation of this
Act, or any tenant of property subject to eminent domain who suffers
injury as a result of such a violation, to report a violation by the
federal government, any authority of the federal government, state, or
political subdivision of a state to the Attorney General (DOJ).

Directs the Attorney General to investigate such reports and notify the
federal government, authority of the federal government, state, or
political subdivision of a state if the Attorney General determines that
a violation exists. Requires that the notification provide 90 days for
any such government entity to demonstrate that it is not in violation of
this Act or that it has cured the violation by returning, replacing, and
repairing all the applicable real property.

Establishes an enforcement process under which the Attorney General, if
the violation is still occurring or has not been cured within 90 days,
will bring an action to enforce this Act unless the property owner or
tenant who reported the violation has already brought an action.
Requires the Attorney General to intervene in any such property owner or
tenant action if intervention is necessary to enforce this Act. 

Places the burden on the defendant to show by clear and convincing
evidence that the taking is not for economic development. Prohibits
state immunity in federal or state court.

Allows the Attorney General to bring an action under this Act if the
property is used for economic development following the conclusion of
any condemnation proceedings condemning the property of an owner or
tenant who reports a violation, but prohibits an action brought later
than seven years following the conclusion of any such proceedings.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Attorney General to disseminate information on:
(1) the rights of property owners and tenants under this Act, and (2)
the federal laws under which federal economic development funds are
distributed. 

(Sec. 7) Directs the Attorney General to transmit an annual report to
Congress identifying states or political subdivisions that have used
eminent domain in violation of this Act. Requires that the report
include the percentage of minority residents and median incomes of those
impacted by such violations.

(Sec. 8) Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the use of eminent
domain for economic development is a threat to agricultural and other
property in rural America; (2) the taking of farmland and rural property
will have a direct impact on existing irrigation and reclamation
projects; and (3) the taking of rural private property for private
commercial uses will force increasing numbers of activities from private
property onto public lands and overburden national forests, parks, and
wildlife refuges.

(Sec. 9) Expresses the sense of Congress that it is U.S. policy to
encourage, support, and promote the private ownership of property and to
ensure that the constitutional and other legal rights of private
property owners are protected by the federal government.

(Sec. 10) Prohibits a state or political subdivision from exercising its
power of eminent domain over property of a religious or other nonprofit
organization because of the organization's nonprofit or tax-exempt
status or any related quality if that state or political subdivision
receives federal economic development funds during any fiscal year. 

Prohibits the federal government from exercising its power of eminent
domain over property of a religious or other nonprofit organization
because of the organization's nonprofit or tax-exempt status or any
related quality.

(Sec. 11) Directs the head of each executive agency to review all rules,
regulations, and procedures and to report to the Attorney General on its
activities to bring itself into compliance with this Act.

(Sec. 12) Expresses the sense of Congress that any and all precautions
be taken by the government to avoid the unfair or unreasonable taking of
property away from survivors of Hurricane Katrina who own, or who were
bequeathed or assigned, such property for economic development purposes
or for the private use of others.

(Sec. 13) Directs the Attorney General to use reasonable efforts to
locate and inform former owners and tenants of any violations and
remedies they may have if a violation of this Act has a
disproportionately high impact on the poor or minorities.

(Sec. 15) Prohibits this Act from being construed to supersede, limit,
or otherwise affect any provision of the Uniform Relocation Assistance
and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.

(Sec. 17) Prohibits this Act from being applied to any project for which
condemnation proceedings have been initiated prior to its enactment.






https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1944

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