High Court To Rule On Ballot Issues

The Nevada Supreme Court will rule Friday on whether the state's Nov. 7 ballot will include proposals to curb government spending and limit land seizures by government agencies, Chief Justice Bob Rose says.
The high court also will release its decisions on proposals to
impose new smoking restrictions and possibly create a city of
millionaires in southern Nevada, Rose said Thursday.
"We know that election officials, the parties and public are
anxiously awaiting the results of these very important cases,"
Rose stated in announcing the opinion release date.
Arguments on the plans were heard Aug. 23 and quick decisions
were expected. Election officials throughout the state are facing
deadlines for getting general election ballots to printers, so they
can be ready for mailing to absentee voters later this month.
"The short ballot timelines put a great strain on the court's
resources and those of the county clerks, but we are doing our best
in a difficult situation," Rose said.
During the Aug. 23 arguments, justices raised numerous questions
about different versions of the Tax and Spending Control
initiative, a controversial government spending limit, that were
filed with the secretary of state's office and that were circulated
for signatures.
Rose said during the hearing that one version would allow $1.5
billion more in government spending in an initial two-year period,
adding, "That's not pocket change."
Rose also said that if the court required strict compliance with
the rules for ballot questions, the difference in spending in one
version of TASC over another would mean proponents would lose.
Advocates said the standard should be substantial rather than
strict compliance.
The petition, modeled on Colorado's Taxpayers Bill of Rights,
would amend the Nevada state constitution to limit local and state
government spending increases by using a formula based on the rate
of inflation.
Justices also raised questions about the People's Initiative to
Stop the Taking of Our Land, or PISTOL. The initiative is aimed at
curbing eminent domain abuses.
PISTOL proponents say they want to stop governments from
acquiring private land through eminent domain and then selling the
land for private development.
The anti-smoking ballot question, the Clean Indoor Air Act,
could ban lighting up in the state's hotel and motel rooms. If it
stays on the ballot, the measure will have competition from another
question regulating smoking. A business-backed initiative, the
Responsibly Protect Nevadans from Second-Hand Smoke Act, calls for
a less restrictive ban on smoking.
The high court also will rule on a Boulder City petition billed
as a winning lottery ticket for each of the community's 15,200
"residents of record."
A group called the Coalition to Protect the Future of Boulder
City floated the initiative, which involved transferring control of
107,000 acres of coveted undeveloped land to a trust that could
sell the land and divide the proceeds among residents.
The group appealed after Clark County District Judge Kathy
Hardcastle said the plan would undermine local officials' authority
by creating a trust led by of unelected petition supporters.