BREAKING NEWS: House Passes Sensenbrenner Bill to Protect Private Property Rights – UPDATED!

Washington, D.C.—Today, the House unanimously passed Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s (WI-05) Private Property Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1689).

The bill addresses the controversial Supreme Court decision in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London, which expanded the eminent domain power granted by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. In Kelo, the Court ruled that “economic development” can be justified as a “public use” under the Constitution’s Takings Clause.

To combat this expansion of power, H.R. 1689 would make any state or locality that uses the economic development justification for eminent domain ineligible from receiving federal economic development funds for two years. This creates a major incentive for governments to respect the private property rights of its citizens.

Additionally, the legislation bars the federal government from exercising eminent domain powers for the purposes of economic development.

Rep. Sensenbrenner“This bipartisan legislation restores the individual private property rights guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment. The framers of the Constitution would be horrified by the paradigm created by Kelo:a government free to seize and transfer private property from individuals with fewer resources to private entities with more. I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support of this bill and urge the Senate to immediately send it to the President’s desk.”

Congressman Sensenbrenner offered the follow remarks on the House floor:


“Mr. Speaker,

I am pleased that the House is considering H.R. 1689, the Private Property Rights Protection Act. My bill aims to restore the property rights of all Americans that the Supreme Court took away in 2005.

The Founders of our country recognized the importance of an individual’s right to personal property when they drafted the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment states “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” In Kelo v. the City of New London, the Supreme Court decided that “economic development” could be a “public use” under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the government could take private property from an owner, in this case Susette Kelo, to help a corporation or private developer, in this case Pfizer.

The now infamous Kelo decision created a massive backlash. As former Justice O’Connor stated, “The government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.  The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.” Even in the 13 years since Kelo, polls show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose property being taken and transferred to another private owner, even if it is for the public economic good. 

The Private Property Rights Protection Act is needed to restore to all Americans the property rights the Supreme Court invalidated. Although several states have since passed legislation to limit their power to eminent domain, and a number of supreme courts have barred the practice under their state constitutions, these laws exist on a varying degree. H.R. 1689 would prohibit state and local governments that receive federal economic development funds from using economic development as a justification for taking property from one person and giving to another private entity. Any state or local government that violates this prohibition will be ineligible to receive federal economic development funds for two years.

The protection of property rights is one of the most important tenets of our government. I am mindful of the long history of eminent domain abuses, particularly in low-income and often predominantly minority neighborhoods, and the need to stop it. I am also mindful of the reasons we should allow the government to take the lead when the way in which the land is being used constitutes an immediate threat to public health and safety. I believe this bill accomplishes both goals.

I urge my colleagues to join me in protecting private property rights for all Americans and limiting the dangerous effects of the Kelo decision on the most vulnerable in society. I reserve the balance of my time.”


Please join Cindy and I is JUST SAYING NO to allowing Governor Scott Walker, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave,  City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.

From A Better Mount Pleasant:


Our right to own private property is one of the most fundamental rights of Americans. That right is supported by the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution allowing the government to take private property for public use with just compensation. Those rights have been threatened since the 2005 US Supreme Court decision in Kelo vs. City of New London. In a narrow decision, the court allowed the taking of private property for economic development. The decision was widely criticized and since then, 46 states have enacted new laws to protect private property rights.

On July 23, 2018, the US House of Representatives voted UNANIMOUSLY to pass H.R. 1689, the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2017. The bill would prohibit state or local government from exercising its eminent domain authority for economic development. This is a bi-partisan issue – supported by both Republicans and Democrats alike. This legislation has been introduced in every legislative session since the Kelo decision in 2005 but when it has made it to a vote in the House, it died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Below is a list of all Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If your state is on the list, please call one or both of your Senators and ask them to bring the Private Property Rights Protection Act to a vote. (Or just call each of them anyway – it can’t hurt!)

Don’t let them get away with claiming to support private property rights while failing to support efforts to strengthen laws to protect those rights. I have also included contact information for Wisconsin Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson. Please call them and ask them to help get H.R. 1689 signed into law.

This literally will take you less than five minutes but could impact you and your family for generations. Thank you.

Arizona / Jeff Flake (202) 224-4521
California / Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
California / Kamala Harris (202) 224-3553
Connecticut / Richard Blumenthal (202) 224-2823
Delaware / Christopher Coons (202) 224-5042
Hawaii / Mazie Hirono (202) 224-6361
Idaho / Mike Crapo (202) 224-6142
Illinois / Dick Durbin (202) 224-2152
Iowa / Chuck Grassley (202) 224-3744
Louisiana / John Kennedy (202) 224-4623
Minnesota / Amy Klobuchar (202) 224-3244
Nebraska / Ben Sasse (202) 224-4224
New Jersey / Cory Booker (202) 224-3224
North Carolina / Thom Tillis (202) 224-6342
Rhode Island / Sheldon Whitehouse (202) 224-2921
South Carolina / Lindsey Graham (202) 224-3808
Texas / John Cornyn (202) 224-2934
Texas / Ted Cruz (202) 224-5922
Utah / Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251
Utah / Michael Lee (202) 224-5444
Vermont / Patrick Leahy (202) 224-4242

Tammy Baldwin (202) 224-5653
Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323

3 thoughts on “BREAKING NEWS: House Passes Sensenbrenner Bill to Protect Private Property Rights – UPDATED!

  1. Lynn Gwyst

    Will there be any sort of reparation rights for Indigenous peoples to claim? It’s nice that this is happening now, but I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Sensenbrenner’s motivations might be just a little bit motivated by the fact that White folks have joined the ranks of targeted populations.


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