RALEIGH—State lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment aimed at protecting private property.

The amendment would allow voters to decide if eminent domain should be banned in North Carolina, except for public use. This means that governments could not take private property for economic development purposes.

However, there are still several reason government could force the sale of property even if this amendment were approved.

“So what is a public use? Roads, schools, sewers, courthouses, and it is also a public utilities acquisition of right of ways, even though they are owned by private entity.  Because a utility is by definition something the public has to retain a service upon a payment of fee,” said Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Henderson Republican.

In order for this to become law, it would need to be approved by a three fifths vote of the General Assembly.

It would then go before voters for consideration in May of 2016.