Nebraska Nonprofit Property Development Bonds, Constitutional Amendment 1 (2006)

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The Nebraska Nonprofit Property Development Bonds Amendment, also known as Amendment 1, was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the November 7, 2006 general election ballot in Nebraska, where it was defeated.

Election results

Amendment 1 (Property and Real Estate Development)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No280,47145.9%
Yes 244,535 40.1%

Official results via: Nebraska Blue Book 2008-09 (p.264)

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

A vote FOR this amendment will authorize the Legislature to permit counties, cities, and villages to acquire, own, develop, and lease or finance real and personal property for use by nonprofit enterprises for nonsectarian, nondevotional, and nonreligious purposes and to issue revenue bonds for such purpose and will prohibit the use of condemnation for acquiring such property and operation of such property as a business by the county, city, or village.
A vote AGAINST this amendment will not authorize the Legislature to permit counties, cities, and villages to acquire, own, develop, and lease or finance real and personal property for use by nonprofit enterprises or to issue revenue bonds for such purpose.
A constitutional amendment to authorize the use of revenue bonds to develop and lease property for use by nonprofit enterprises as determined by law.[1]

Impact

The amendment was sponsored by state senator Dave Landis, a Democrat from Lincoln. It would have amended Article XIII-2[2] of the Nebraska Constitution, which authorizes municipal governments to issue low-interest bonds for industrial or economic development of real estate, to also authorize those municipal governments to issue bonds for the development of property to be used by nonprofits, provided any nonprofits benefitting from these bonds have no religious affiliation.

Objectives; arguments for and against

The purpose of this amendment was to give towns, cities, and counties the opportunity to provide non-profits with a more financially hospitable environment. Presumably, religious organizations, such as churches and parochial schools, were excluded for fear that government assistance to such institutions would violate either the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, or Article I-4 of the Nebraska Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion to the people of Nebraska. However, opponents of the amendment also argue that excluding religious organizations would be unconstitutional religious discrimination. Arguments for and against the constitutionality of this proposition can easily be found in Article I-4. On the one hand, it states that "No person shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship against his consent...", and using tax dollars to help a church can be said to be in violation of that clause. On the other hand, Article I-4 also states ."..it shall be the duty of the Legislature...to encourage schools and the means of instruction", and this amendment can also be said to be in violation of that clause, as it would refuse aid to parochial schools. Some opponents, who oppose the amendment altogether, have used both of these arguments, in tandem, claiming that the amendment would be unconstitutional with or without aid to religious organizations, and should therefore be dropped altogether.

Campaign finance

Donations for the campaign for the measure:[3]

  • Building a Better Nebraska with Amendment 1 Committee: $49,807
  • Total: $49,807

See also

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References