Property Rights Legislation Helps Landowners: State Experience Demonstrates Value of Takings Legislation

Property Rights Legislation Helps Landowners: State Experience Demonstrates Value of Takings Legislation

November 01, 1998

Washington, D.C. – "In recent years, states have rushed to the forefront of providing protection for private property rights by enacting much needed legislation," states Kimberle Dodd, author of the just released CEI study, And Justice for All: The State Experience with Property Rights Legislation. "State experience to date suggests compensation legislation is a modest step that ensures greater protection of property rights without inhibiting essential government functions," she concludes.

State legislators have begun passing laws to protect landowners from regulatory takings. Federal regulators and environmentalists, however, have blocked federal legislation, claiming it will harm their ability to protect the environment or perform essential government functions. This study shows that such fears are unfounded. States that enacted property rights legislation have not had these problems.

State-level legislation falls into two broad categories, assessment statutes and compensation statutes. An assessment statute requires the government entity involved to evaluate the cost of the proposed regulation prior to taking any action. A compensation statute requires reimbursement for a landowner whose property has been devalued by a government regulation or other action.

Twenty states have passed property rights bills of some kind. "Texas and Florida currently possess the most comprehensive regulatory takings compensation legislation enacted to date," states Dodd. "Each statute not only imposes significant restrictions on a broad range of government activities, but also creates a process to resolve takings issues," she explains.

This study provides an in-depth look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two different statutes and examines the impact of these laws on property owners and government programs. As Dodd points out in the paper, while it is still too early to see the full impact, the initial experience shows that property rights legislation helps landowners.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information or a copy of the study, contact Emily McGee, director of public relations, at 202-331-1010.