(By Delegates Overington, Lane, Sobonya, Sumner, Walters, Canterbury and Andes

[Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the Committee on Constitutional Revision then the Judiciary.]

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending section nine, article three thereof, relating to prohibiting the taking of private property for private use; numbering and designating such proposed amendment; and providing a summarized statement of the purpose of such proposed amendment.

     Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:

     That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to the voters of the state at the next general election to be held in the year 2014, which proposed amendment is that section nine, article three thereof be amended, to read as follows:


§9. Private property, how taken.

     (a) Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use, without just compensation; nor shall the same be taken by any company, incorporated for the purposes of internal improvement, until just compensation shall have been paid, or secured to be paid, to the owner; and when private property shall be taken, or damaged for public use, or for the use of such corporation, the compensation to the owner shall be ascertained in such manner as may be prescribed by general law: Provided, That when required by either of the parties, such compensation shall be ascertained by an impartial jury of twelve freeholders.

_____(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State of West Virginia, or any of its departments, divisions, agencies, commissions, corporations, boards, authorities, or other entities, or any municipality or county, or any agency, corporation, district, board, or other entity organized by or under the control of any municipality or county in the state and vested by law to any extent whatsoever with the power of eminent domain, may not condemn property for the purposes of private retail, office, commercial, industrial, or residential development; or primarily for enhancement of tax revenue; or for transfer to a person, nongovernmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation, or other business entity. Nothing in this amendment shall limit the exercise of eminent domain by or for the benefit of public utilities or other entities engaged in the generation,
transmission, or distribution of telephone, gas, petroleum products, electricity, water, sewer, or other utility products; or services by or for the benefit of any airport authority for airport-related activities. Nothing in this amendment shall be interpreted to prohibit the state or a municipal or county governing body from exercising the power of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, or operating streets, roads or railroads.
_____(c) Property condemned pursuant to the power of eminent domain in this state, if not ever used for the purpose or purposes for which it was condemned, that is subsequently determined to be sold, shall be first offered for sale to the person or persons from whom the property was condemned, or his or her known or ascertainable heirs or assigns, at the price which was paid for the property, less such amount, if any, as the person or persons from whom the property was condemned shall show by good and sufficient documentation to be the amount of income and transaction taxes, if any, actually paid in connection therewith, and if the offer shall not be accepted within ninety days from the date it is made, the property may be sold to any other person, but only at public sale after legal notice is given.

_____Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, such proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment
No. 1" and designated as the "Prohibiting the Governmental Taking of Private Property for Private Use Amendment" and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: "To prohibit the taking of private property for private use."

     NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to amend the State Constitution to prohibit the taking of private property for private use.

     Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present Constitution, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.