According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, two of the 20 reasons why this year’s General Assembly mattered were the abortion center safety bill and the proposed constitutional amendment to protect property rights. Both, at numbers one and nine, respectively, were Family Foundation priorities.
So, it’s with no small reason that we emphasised those pieces of legislation and that we revisit one of them today — property rights (see Washington Post article on our influence on the legislation). That’s because one senator who voted for the property rights resolution (HJ 693) is very much on record as being against constitutional protections from eminent domain. He made that very clear in 2007, when he helped kill a similar resolution. See for yourself:
As the video explicitly shows, Senator Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), now the majority leader, not only pronounced his opposition to protecting citizens from government seizing their land, but said it twice — on succeeding days. No slip of the tongue there. What a difference four years and this November’s upcoming-tough-battle-to-keep-his-majority makes. Although he was most assuredly working behind the scenes to stop this year’s amendment as well, once the train left the station, and not willing to leave his caucus exposed on a popular campaign issue, Senator Saslaw (D-37, Springfield) decided to vote for the resolution.
Not only that, and perhaps to even things out from four years ago, Senator Saslaw voted for it not once, but twice — on the original vote (here) and on a reconsideration vote (here), when some senators finally figured out that property rights really do belong in the constitution and wanted to upgrade from nay to yea before their constituents found out. It required a double take to believe he did not vote no when given the second chance, but despite what people think, miracles and conversions (of the election year kind) do happen, and happen often at the General Assembly.