From: email@example.com Subject: HR 5252 Could Take Your Property, Call Your Congressman NOW! Land Rights Network American Land Rights Association PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604 (360) 687-3087 – Fax: (360) 687-2973 Web Address: http://www.landrights.org Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003 firstname.lastname@example.org -- 202-489-4893 HR 5252 Could Take Your Property, Call Your Congressman NOW! HR 5252 is called the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006. But it could result is massive takings of private property rights across America. HR 5252 is the new communications bill. It has lots of good things in it but would give virtual free reign to telecommunications companies to take rights-of-ways from you. That cannot be allowed to happen. *****Action Items Below -----1. Call your Congressman immediately. Please try to put down whatever you are doing and call your Representative at the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Ask your Congressman to insist that HR 5252 be reviewed by the Judiciary Committee and that any language allowing takings be removed. Tell him action is needed immediately to prevent passage by the full House before a Judiciary Committee review. There is no time to lose. -----2. Call at least three friends and associates to get them to call. -----3. Please forward this message as widely and as quickly as you can. Provisions of H.R. 5252 as Reported by the Commerce Committee that Directly Affect Private Property Rights: -----Section 101 of H.R. 5252 establishes a new section 630(f)(“Rights of Way”) that provides that “any franchise under this section . . . shall be construed to authorize the construction of a cable system over public rights of way, and through easements, which are within the area to be served by the cable system.” -----This provision establishes a Federal presumption that any national franchise established by the legislation should be interpreted by a district court to authorize the construction of the cable system on public and private property. -----In effect, if a private property owner were to challenge the legality of the taking necessary to build out the cable system, the question would not be whether the property was taken in a manner consistent with basic standards of fairness and due process, but whether the cable company complied with the terms of the franchise obligations contained in the legislation. -----Determinations as to whether construction of a cable system (or any other type of construction) should be made on a case by case basis. It is simply unacceptable for Congress to predetermine that construction is authorized over “public rights of way, and through easements,” merely because an entity complies with other provisions unrelated to property rights. -----While constitutional protections would not be entirely displaced, H.R. 5252 establishes a congressional presumption (and a directive to courts) that “any franchise under this section . . . shall be construed to authorize the construction of a cable system over public rights of way, and through easements, which are within the area to be served by the cable system.” This clearly affects the rights of private property owners. -----In addition, new section 630(f)(1)(c) requires that owners of private property be provided just compensation for “any damages caused by the installation, construction, operation, or removal of such facilities by a cable operator.” However, the legislation provides no judicial recourse for inadequate compensation for seized or damaged property, and both of these provisions establish Federal principles that displace State and local zoning and property-related statutes. -----The Supreme Court has held that “. . . a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property. Neither could have meaning without the other. That rights in property are basic civil rights has long been recognized.” -----The Judiciary Committee has had extensive experience dealing with issues pertaining to property rights and land management issues, including consideration of H.R. 4128, the “ Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2005,” which would reverse the Kelo court’s assault on the private property rights of all Americans. -----In addition, HR 5252 expressly provides that the Federal government grant national franchisees the authorization to construct and operate cable systems in local rights-of-way, thereby restricting the ability of State and local governments to decide for themselves the entities granted access to their public rights-of-way. Management of public rights-of-way represents a core function of State and local government. -----*****This legislation could affect landowners throughout the country, particularly in less urban areas in which cable systems have not yet been constructed. -----Given the clear impact these provisions have on private property rights, the Committee on the Judiciary should be provided an opportunity to examine the legislation to ensure that the implications of this legislation are fully examined. Please forward this message as widely and quickly as you can. -- To unsubscribe from this mailing list; please visit http://governance.net and enter your email address.