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Flags at half-staff for former state Rep. Bert J. Harris, defender of property rights

Harris is perhaps best known for the law bearing his name.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered flags at half-staff for former Rep. Bert J. Harris, a rancher and citrus farmer.

DeSantis directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at the County Courthouse in Arcadia, City Hall in Arcadia, and at the Capitol in Tallahassee from sunrise to sunset on Thursday.

Harris, a Democrat, died Sunday. He was 99.

He served in the House 1982-96, including stints as chair of the Cattle and Apiary Oversight Committee (1986-88), Agriculture Committee (1988-92), and Agriculture and Consumer Services Committee (1992-96).

Harris is perhaps best known for the law bearing his name, the Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act, that “provides a specific process for landowners to seek relief when their property is unfairly affected by government action,” according to the Florida Bar Journal.

The law was intended to protect property owners from actions that don’t rise to the level of “a taking under the State Constitution or the United States Constitution,” it says.

As defined by the the Legal Information Institute, a taking “is when the government seizes private property for public use.”

The act was later amended in 2008 and 2011. Those amendments “expedite the claims process and clarify the application of the act,” the Journal said.

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