Amendment 8

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

One of the proposed constitutional amendments you're being asked to consider this election would make it tougher for local governments to confiscate private property.

It comes in response to a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling that let a city in Connecticut condemn some waterfront homes to turn the property into an upscale retail district.

Opponents argue Florida already has tough laws in place to protect your property rights.

Amendment 8 would make it even harder for city or county governments to take your private property using the so-called Doctrine of Eminent Domain.

Bob Sanchez at the conservative James Madison Institute supports the plan. He says without constitutional protections, who knows what future lawmakers might go along with in the name of economic development.

“Even if your home was perfectly well maintained, and a model home, if the neighborhood had homes that had problems, they could seize everyone's property.”

But opponents argue Florida already has some of the toughest laws in the country to protect property rights. So why do we need to mess with the state constitution?

The Legislature passed a law this year to restrict eminent domain, partly in response to efforts to condemn a Riviera Beach neighborhood and turn it into waterfront development.

That's why many local officials like Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell don't think Amendment 8 is necessary.

“Constitutional amendments should only be attempted in situations where the Legislature has failed. In this case the legislative process worked.”

But the specter of big brother may be more persuasive than reality. Thirteen states are considering ballot measures this fall to provide additional property rights protections.


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