Property rights in state legislatures: Rural-urban differences in support for state anti-takings bills

Rolf Joseph Pendall, Ronald M. Wolanski, Douglas McGovern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the 1990s over half of US states adopted bills redefining the unconstitutional taking of private property by government regulation. This article reports on analysis of legislative voting on these bills in five states. The researchers mapped district-by- district votes on anti-takings bills in five state legislatures and combined these maps with socioeconomic, political, land use, and land ownership data, to develop a portrait of support for and opposition to the legislation. Although the bills were a part of the national agenda of conservative Republicans to reshape social and environmental policy, the research shows that legislative support often crossed party lines, with rural and small-town Democrats and Republicans joining in support against outnumbered urban and suburban legislators, most of whom were Democrats but substantial numbers of whom were Republicans. The research results suggest that although the popularity of anti-takings bills may have waned, the bills may represent only one manifestation of deeper social, political, and economic forces that are almost bound to re-emerge in other forms in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 24 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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