RICHMOND - Voters have approved an amendment to the Virginia Constitution limiting government's ability to take private property through eminent domain.
It says private land can only be seized for public use and not for economic development or private gain.
The amendment approved Tuesday had been championed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. They argued property rights are so fundamental, they should be enshrined in the Constitution.
Opponents warned that passage could cost state and local governments tens of millions of dollars. They said a 2007 was sufficient to protect property owners.
The amendment was inspired by a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave governments broad powers to seized private property for economic development.
Since then, more than 40 states have enacted constitutional and legislative guarantees to blunt powers of eminent domain.
Another amendment allowing legislators to delay a one-day reconvened legislative session also passed.