NE FlagNebraskans’ petition rights have survived another legislative session. With the deadline to make it out of committee passed, no more legislation concerning the initiative process is pending.

A hearing was held this morning in the federal trial of Bernbeck v Gale. Arguments presented by Nebraska Attorney, David Domina will detail how restrictions placed on Nebraska’s initiative and referendum process have violated Kent Bernbeck’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

In regard to the recall signature-gathering process against Mayor Jim Suttle: On election day, I was contacted by longtime friend, Paul Jacob, formerly head of the national term limit movement and fellow initiative and referendum advocate and supporter. He was asked to assess the struggling recall effort which had been utilizing an all-volunteer team of petition circulators.

After a hearing last week in Omaha, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon denied a request from the state chapter of the Libertarian Party to block enforcement of Nebraska’s ban on people from other states helping collect signatures on a petition. Relying on the flawed 2001 decision by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in IRI v.

Nebraska’s Secretary of State says he has “every confidence” that the state’s requirement that people who collect signatures on a petition live in the state will be upheld in federal court. The only problem is, residency requirements have been ruled unconstitutional at least eleven times since 1997. Only once, in North Dakota, did a court uphold a residency requirement, and later courts criticized that ruling as improperly decided. In light of this, one really has to wonder where the secretary’s confidence comes from.