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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Delaware Politicians Strike Blow Against Small Business and Property Rights

In early-mid June, state legislators in Delaware overwhelmingly voted to beef up property rights protections. But then later, some of the same lawmakers didn’t.

The bill originally passed the state senate by a 19-1 vote, and then went through the state house unanimously. The Delaware News Journal described the measure as follows:

The bill would have allowed state or local agencies to condemn and take private land only if it were intended for "public use," but specifically stated that benefits derived from economic development do not meet the definition of public use. The measure also tightened the definition of what constitutes a "blighted" property that can be taken using eminent domain, adding a property must be a threat to public health and safety to qualify for transfer by a government agency.

That’s exactly what homeowners and small businesses need to protect their properties from eminent domain abuse of government in the shadow of the U.S. Supreme Court’s notorious 2005 Kelo decision.

But Governor Ruth Ann Minner didn’t see things that way, and vetoed the measure over this past weekend. But that should not be a big deal, since the legislation passed each chamber by veto-proof majorities, right? Well, think again.

The state senate failed to override the veto on June 30. With 13 votes needed for override, the vote came in at 11-9.

Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Varlano, was the original vote against the measure. The eight flip-floppers that joined him on the veto override were the following, according to the Journal News: Steve Amick, R-Glasgow; Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere; Catherine Cloutier, R-Heatherbrooke; Dori Connor, R-Penn Acres; Nancy Cook, D-Kenton; Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East; Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West; and Harris B. McDowell, D-Wilmington North. And Thurman Adams, D-Bridgeville, chose not to vote.

Shame on each one of them! It was a vote against private property rights, against homeowners, and against small business.

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