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E-M:/ Re: OH, PA, MI Senators KEY TO SEPT 21 VOTE ON ANTI-SMARTGROWTH BILL



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Enviro-Mich message from "DAVID ROSS" <ROSS@nwf.org>
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>>> Glenn Sugameli 09/14/00 05:22PM >>>
SEPT. 14, 2000

UPDATE: SENATE JUDICARY COMMITTEE TAKINGS
MARK-UP DELAYED TIL Thursday SEPT. 21 (10 a.m.)

NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION 
SMART GROWTH & WILDLIFE ALERT
CONTACT: GLENN SUGAMELI 202-797-6865 sugameli@nwf.org

PLEASE CONTACT (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121) SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS, ESPECIALLY: 

Sen. ARLEN SPECTER [R-PA],
Sen. MIKE DeWINE [R-OH] 
Sen. SPENCER ABRAHAM [R-MI].  

THEY ARE CRITICAL to the fate of a developer-drafted federal "takings"/"property rights" bill that is designed to cripple local smart growth, zoning, and planning.  On Sept. 21st, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to mark-up (vote on) S. 1028, the Citizens Access to Justice Act, which is the Senate version of the House passed bill, H.R. 2372, The Private Property Rights Implementation Act.  

The developers' organization that originally wrote the bill recently admitted that:  "This bill will be a hammer to the head of these [state and local] bureaucracies," declared Jerry Howard, the chief lobbyist for the National Association of Home Builders. (Nat. Journal's CongressDailyAM 3/14/2000). 

Sen. DeWine, Specter and Abraham are key members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  In the last Congress, they voted in a 10-to-8 party line vote for the bill in Committee (H.R. 1534) and voted in favor of an unsuccessful attempt to break a bi-partisan filibuster that killed the bill (S. 2271).  However, they have not cosponsored this year's Senate bill, Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch's [R-UT] Citizens Access to Justice Act, S. 1028.  In the last Congress, these Senators expressed concerns.  For example, Sen. DeWine expressed strong concerns that:

"This bill will impose tremendous burdens on local communities by providing such a new fast track to Federal court for property owners. I think we need to consider how this will affect local decision making, decisions that will be made by local zoning boards, decisions made by local officials. This bill would, in effect, leave local land use planners with two bad options--acquiesce to developers by making lenient decisions, or do whatever they think necessary to protect the local community and then face multiple suits in Federal court without having much negotiating ability with property owners." 

Quoted in Committee Report - Senate Rpt. 105-242 - THE PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IMPLEMENTATION ACT OF 1998
H.R.1534 MINORITY VIEWS OF SENATORS LEAHY, KENNEDY, BIDEN, KOHL, FEINSTEIN, FEINGOLD, DURBIN, AND TORRICELLI

BI-PARTISAN OPPOSTION INCLUDES, for example, Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), every major national organization representing state and local governments,
AND in OHIO: Republican Reps. PORTMAN and REGULA voted against H.R. 2372, which was also opposed by Republican Ohio Attorney General Betty D. MONTGOMERY, local and state officials, the state and federal court systems, major religious denominations, conservationists and the Clinton Administration.  See attachments.  In the last Congress, then- Gov. [now Senator] VOINOVICH [R-OH] signed two letters on behalf of the National Governors Association opposing prior versions of the bill, as did Ohio State Senator Richard Finan, the Republican President of the Ohio Senate (on behalf of the National Confernece of State Legislatures .

Chairman Hatch [R-UT] is ignoring local government requests for a hearing (see attached letter), even though AFTER the Senate last considered this bill: the U.S. Supreme Court's 1999 City of Monterey decision made it clear that the bill's attempt to allow takings claims against localities to bypass state courts would ultimately prove to be an unconstitutional, FUTILE gesture.  The Court ruled that a claimant "suffer[s] no constitutional injury" from local government action unless and until a state court first denies compensation.   Therefore, such claims cannot bypass state courts. See attached WORD tkgpts.

Indeed, Rep. Regula [R-OH] voted against H.R. 2372, after voting for the prior verision in the last Congress (H.R. 1534).

WHAT ELSE IS WRONG WITH H.R. 2372:

This federal bill is aimed at undermining environmental safeguards, zoning and smart-growth, and health, safety and morality safeguards (see WordPerfect attachment).

>> It would allow big developers to bypass local zoning procedures and state courts and file premature federal lawsuits which unjustifiably claim that local land use decisions amount to "takings" of private property without just compensation.  To avoid premature, costly federal lawsuits, small towns, counties and cities would be forced to design and approve projects for developers that would harm neighbors and the community.

 >>The bill would undermine hundreds of popular local initiatives that protect everyone by limiting and controlling growth, without "taking" any property rights.  For example, state courts have rejected "takings" challenges to smart growth limits and to controls on mining, factories, liquor stores and other harmful activities in residential neighborhoods. (See WORD attachment).

For the House vote, Cosponsors, text of the bill and other info on H.R. 2372, Rep. Charles Canady's [R-FL] "Private Property Rights Implementation Act" and the companion Senate bill, Sen. Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch's [R-UT] S. 1028, the Citizens Access to Justice Act, see THOMAS:
http://thomas.loc.gov/ 

--Glenn

Glenn P. Sugameli
Senior Counsel
National Wildlife Federation
1400 16th Street, N.W., Suite 501
Washington, D.C. 20036-2266
202-797-6865
FAX 202-797-6646
sugameli@nwf.org
www.nwf.org

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