1997 Scorecard Vote
H.R. 1534, written by the National Association of Homebuilders and sponsored by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), would change existing rules and procedures to give developers a dramatic advantage over local governments in lawsuits challenging land use laws. It would also greatly increase the burden on federal courts. Under U.S. Supreme Court decisions, developers must resolve land disputes through local administrative appeals and in state courts before filing a lawsuit in federal court claiming a "taking" of private property. H.R. 1534 would reverse these precedents and literally turn every zoning dispute into a federal case. It would allow developers to sue in federal court once a single development proposal is denied, even if the proposal would harm neighboring homeowners, and even if local officials would approve an alternative development proposal. Small towns, cities, and counties would be unable to bear the costs of defending against premature, merit-less federal court takings claims. As a result, threats of repeated federal lawsuits by large developers could force local communities to abandon fundamental planning and zoning safeguards, and permit inappropriate activities that harm people, neighboring property, communities, and the environment. H.R. 1534 was opposed by the National Governors' Association, the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorneys General from 37 states, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the U.S. Judicial Conference (on behalf of the federal courts).
On October 22, 1997, the House passed H.R. 1534, 248 -178. NO is the pro-environment vote.