Text: H.R.5582 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/23/2010)

2d Session
H. R. 5582

To authorize appropriations for the Department of Commerce and to prohibit Federal economic development funds to States that carry out public takings for private purposes.


June 23, 2010

Mr. Sullivan (for himself, Mr. Broun of Georgia, Mr. Lucas, Mr. Kline of Minnesota, Mr. Shimkus, Mr. Culberson, Mr. Burton of Indiana, Mr. Rooney, Mr. Marchant, Mr. Posey, Mr. Herger, Mrs. Schmidt, Mr. Shadegg, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Hall of Texas, Mr. Rogers of Michigan, Mr. Burgess, Mr. Gohmert, Mr. Gingrey of Georgia, and Mr. Fleming) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Financial Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To authorize appropriations for the Department of Commerce and to prohibit Federal economic development funds to States that carry out public takings for private purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Private Property Rights Protection and Government Accountability Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds that—

(1) Congress has the power to regulate commerce among the several States and Indian tribes;

(2) property rights are essential to interstate commerce, ensuring that individuals make the best economic use of their property;

(3) potential residents and businesses may avoid communities that have a record of taking private property for private economic development;

(4) public takings for private purposes are harmful to communities and to interstate commerce;

(5) public taking of private property for economic development is not a traditional nor sound function of State or local government; and

(6) in order to promote and protect interstate commerce, public takings for private purposes should be prohibited.

SEC. 3. Prohibition on economic development funds.

Any State or political subdivision of a State that carries out a public taking for any private purpose in or affecting interstate commerce shall not be eligible to receive any Federal economic development funds for a period of 10 fiscal years.

SEC. 4. Injunctive relief and restoration to owner.

(a) Cause of Action.—Any owner of private property that is subject to a public taking described in section 3 may bring an action in the appropriate Federal or State court to obtain injunctive and declaratory relief.

(b) Attorneys’ Fee and Other Costs.—In any action or proceeding under this section, the court shall allow a prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorneys’ fee as part of the costs, and include expert fees as part of the attorneys’ fee.

SEC. 5. Definitions.

As used in this Act, the following definitions apply:


(A) IN GENERAL.—The term “private purpose”, with regard to property that has been acquired and conveyed through a public taking, means the ownership, control, or use of such property by a private party or parties that advances the economic interests of the private party or parties. Such term includes but is not limited to the following:

(i) Any use of such property in an economic development plan of which the benefit to the public is increased tax revenue, increased employment, or other indirect benefit.

(ii) The lease of such property to a private party or parties for private development, including commercial, industrial, or residential development.

(iii) Any control of such property by a private party that—

(I) excludes a general public use or benefit; or

(II) primarily benefits the private party or parties and benefits the public indirectly.

(B) EXCEPTIONS.—Such term shall not include—

(i) conveying private property to public ownership, such as for a road, hospital, or prison, or to an entity, such as a common carrier, that makes the property available for use by the general public as of right, such as a railroad, public utility, or public facility, or for use as a right of way, aqueduct, pipeline, or similar use;

(ii) acquiring property to eliminate harmful uses of the property, provided such uses present an imminent and substantial danger to the public health or welfare;

(iii) leasing property to a private person or entity that occupies an incidental part of public property or a public facility, such as a retail establishment on the ground floor of a public building;

(iv) acquiring abandoned property; and

(v) clearing defective chains of title.

(2) FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDS.—The term “Federal economic development funds” means any Federal funds—

(A) administered by the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, or the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and distributed to or through States or political subdivisions of States, to the extent such funds are not provided to assist States or political subdivisions of States in complying with any requirements of Federal law or regulation; or

(B) distributed to or through States or political subdivisions of States under Federal laws and whose purpose is to promote interstate commerce and improve or increase the size of the economies of States or political subdivisions of States.

(3) PUBLIC TAKING.—The term “public taking” means an action by a State or political subdivision of a State or by any person or entity to which such power has been delegated that transfers all or part of the legal rights in property from a private owner to another person or to public ownership without the consent of the private owner.