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E-M:/ latest on prop rights bill

Enviro-Mich message from Patty Cantrell <patty@mlui.org>

Mark-up Reports

House Panel Debates Property Rights Bill 

                  By Michael Posner
                  National Journal News Service 

                  WASHINGTON (March 1, 2000) - The House
                  Judiciary Committee on Wednesday debated a
                  controversial bill promoted by land developers to
                  speed the settlement of disputes over property uses.
                  But the panel took no votes and postponed further
                  action until next week.

                  The measure (H.R. 2372) would permit property owners and
developers to
                  bypass state courts and take their disputes with local
zoning authorities directly to
                  federal courts, which have been reluctant to hear cases
now before state courts

                  The measure would take away local decision making and put
it in the hands of
                  federal judges, according to critics.

                  The bill's sponsor, Rep. Charles Canady R-Fla., argued
that the bill would give
                  property owners quicker access to federal courts to
protect them under their
                  constitutional right for just compensation if land is taken.

                  A wide coalition of opponents, including local and state
officials, conservation
                  organizations and law groups, has mounted a drive against
the bill supported by
                  the construction industry, such as the National
Association of Home Builders.

                  Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the committee's senior
Democrat, asked whether
                  Congress wanted to limit local governments from
regulating adult book stores. He
                  said it would give quick access to federal courts to
"developers, polluters" and
                  others in disputes over local regulations.

                  Another critic, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., called the
bill "the most sweeping
                  assertion of federal power and the most sweeping
displacement of both state
                  administrative and judicial power we have ever seen."

                  A similar bill passed the House 248-178 in the last
Congress but died in the

                  Before the committee decided to adjourn until Wednesday,
March 8, an
                  amendment in the nature of a substitute, offered by
Conyers, was pending. It
                  would give all civil rights cases, not just property
rights cases, speedier access to
                  federal courts.

Patty Cantrell
Public Trust Alliance Project Manager
P.O. Box 228, 845 Michigan Ave.
Benzonia, MI 49616

tel: 231-882-4723 ext. 18
fax: 231-882-7350 
e-mail: patty@mlui.org
internet: www.mlui.org

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