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Nebraka Secretary Of State Won't Put Gambling Initiatives On Ballot

Secretary Robert B. Evnen Said The Initiatives Failed To Comply With The Single Subject Rule

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Despite completed petitions that would normally allow Nebraska residents to vote on whether gambling expansion takes place in their state, they won’t get that opportunity.

According to a report from a local media outlet, Nebraska Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen announced Tuesday in a press release that three initiatives that would’ve expanded gambling in the Cornhusker State won’t be on this November’s ballot.

Through the press release, Evnen said that the three initiatives “fail to comply with the single subject rule in the Nebraska Constitution and are confusing.”

Evnen contested that the first initiative was misleading, as the stated goal was to allow games of chance at racetracks, but that the actual effect of the initiative would allow those games to be permitted on tribal land as well.

The third initiative surrounded property tax relief, but only if expanding gaming was passed by the electorate. Evnen called this “logrolling,” which is a practice that the state’s Supreme Court has expressly prohibited.

Evnen stated that the second initiative, which dealt with dealt with amending the State Constitution to allow gambling, “caused confusion.”

“The Constitutional right to bring forward initiative petitions for a vote of the people is fundamental to our state government and is to be zealously protected … Part of the protection of the right of initiative is to assure that such petitions are neither misleading nor manipulative,” wrote Evnen.

The organization behind the petitions, Keep the Money in Nebraska, got more than 400,000 signatures for the petition. Those signatures were validated and legally sufficient. The group argued that many in the state are taking their money outside of the state’s borders to gamble at casinos in neighboring states. Nebraska is one of 10 states in the country that doesn’t have a casino within its borders.

One of the group’s members reached out to Lincoln-based attorney Andre Barry to file a request with the Nebraska Supreme Court to review the decision and possibly force Evnen to put the gambling issues on the ballot.

It’s unclear when the court will make its decision, but November’s ballot must be finalized by September 11.