Property Rights

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Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington: “Can’t Happen Here” is becoming, “Happening Right Now”

December 19, 2006 in Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision has deeply shaken Americans. The ruling says the U.S. Constitution does not prevent state and local officials from seizing people’s homes and small businesses and giving them to private developers.

A False Sense of Security: The Potential for Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington

December 15, 2006 in Publications

Private property is the foundation of a free society. Property rights give citizens the means to defend all their other rights from the encroachments of government or the incursions of others.

Property gives people the means to pursue their dreams and live their lives the way they choose. Private property also provides people with the ability to help others, through their time and voluntary giving. When government takes property through the abuse of its eminent domain power, it makes it harder for citizens to defend their rights, pursue their dreams or help others.

Land Use Laws Create Unintended Consequences

November 17, 2006 in Publications

In the recent election, Initiative 933 – a proposal to compensate property owners for value lost to government regulations – failed, but the consequences created by burgeoning land-use regulations remain. Fears that Initiative 933’s passage would inhibit the ability of local and state governments to maintain the rural areas in our state were one reason the initiative failed. Unfortunately, opponents of Initiative 933 failed to grasp the counterintuitive notion that, sometimes, laws designed to protect rural areas actually backfire and cause additional development.

A Guide to Initiative 933

October 13, 2006 in Publications

Across the United States, there are a growing number of “property fairness” initiatives designed to increase protection for individual landowners from the rise in land use regulation. The most significant of these efforts to have success was Measure 37 which passed in Oregon in 2004 earning 61% of the vote statewide.

New Study Analyzes Property Fairness Initiative 933

in Press releases

Seattle - Washington Policy Center, the state’s premier public policy, independent research organization, released a new study analyzing Initiative 933, which will appear on the ballot this November. The statewide initiative builds on Oregon’s Measure 37 passed by voters two years ago. “A Citizens Guide to Initiative 933: Property Fairness Initiative” takes a section-by-section look at the wording of I-933 and examines some of the most common critiques of the initiative.

Initiative 933, the Property Fairness Initiative

September 20, 2006 in Publications

A growing trend of “property fairness” initiatives, proposals designed to increase protection for individual landowners from the rise in land-use regulation, has reached Washington state in the form of Initiative 933. The philosophy behind the initiative is similar to the thinking that underlies most environmental regulation.

Read the full Policy Note here

Legal Gun Ownership Saves Lives

May 17, 2006 in Publications

It’s an age-old story. A criminal shoots someone, and then politicians propose gun-control measures that would have done nothing to prevent the shooting. On March 26, Kyle Huff killed six people at a late-night party in Seattle. Seattle mayor Greg Nickels immediately called for more regulations on guns. None of his proposals would have prevented the tragedy.

Does Oregon's Property Rights Law Measure Up for Washington?

in Press releases

Seattle- Washington Policy Center released a new study today, "Oregon's Measure 37 Property Rights Law, Lessons from the First Eleven Months." Todd Myers, Director of the Center for Environmental Policy for WPC, evaluates the effects of Oregon's Measure 37 and provides a perspective on what Washington citizens might expect if a similar law were to pass in our state. The study is the first comprehensive look at the impact of the Measure in Oregon.

Oregon's Measure 37 Holds Real-World Lessons for Washington

July 18, 2005 in Publications

Last November, Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed Measure 37, a law requiring the state and counties either to pay landowners for lost property value when new zoning restrictions are imposed, or allow owners to operate under the rules in place when they bought the property. Supporters and opponents said Measure 37 would radically change the landscape of Oregon. The reality, however, is turning out to be less revolutionary than either side expected.

The Right to Private Property is a Civil Right

June 18, 2005 in Publications

Property owners are reeling from recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court relegated the right to own property to second-class status. However, the Court's actions are inconsistent with our Constitution and denigrate the role private ownership of property plays in our system of government.