Ballot Plan Signatures Limited

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller on Tuesday limited the types of signature's that can be accepted from backers of two petitions to cap revenue for the Las Vegas tourism authority and a third plan to restrict tax-raising ballot questions.

Miller's decision followed challenges of the proposed ballot questions, all backed by Las Vegas Sands Corp. owner Sheldon Adelson, by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the state AFL-CIO.

The convention authority opposed the two proposals to cap itsrevenue, contending that they have numerous flaws; while the union raised other legal questions in efforts to disqualify the plan for a two-thirds vote of Nevadans to approve any tax-raising ballot questions.

The critics said, among other things, that some affidavits of petition-circulators lacked a required statement of the number of signatures; and also lacked a required statement that each signer had a chance to read the full text of the plans prior to signing the petitions.

Miller said any affidavits that don't meet all the requirements can't be included in a verification process to determine whether each had a minimum of 58,836 valid signatures. The verification is being done by local election officials in all Nevada counties.

Attorney Scott Scherer, representing advocates for all three petitions, didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on whether the restrictions would threaten the plans.

Previously, Scherer had said the revenue-cap plans each had more
than 111,000 signatures while the tax-restricting plan had nearly 123,000 signatures.

Scherer also had termed the challenges the "most recent attempt to keep the citizens of Nevada from exercising their constitutional right to enact law through the initiative process."

Under the revenue-cap plans, voters would cast ballots this election year and again in 2010 to decide whether to revise the Nevada Constitution so that some Clark County room tax revenues could be reallocated for public education or public safety programs.

The LVCVA would receive its current allocation of about $200 million per year, plus annual increases to cover inflation. Any funds above that amount would be forwarded to the state's distributive school fund under one petition, or to pay for public safety improvements under the other petition. The shift would only apply to room taxes in Clark County around Las Vegas.

Besides the secretary of state's review, the state Supreme Court will consider the petitions at a July 1 hearing. Petition opponents appealed to the high court after advocates of the plans won favorable lower court rulings.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)