Nebraska Revised Statute 32-1405
Initiative and referendum petitions; sponsors; filing required; Revisor of Statutes; Secretary of State; duties.
(1) Prior to obtaining any signatures on an initiative or referendum petition, a statement of the object of the petition and the text of the measure shall be filed with the Secretary of State together with a sworn statement containing the names and street addresses of every person, corporation, or association sponsoring the petition.
(2) Upon receipt of the filing, the Secretary of State shall transmit the text of the proposed measure to the Revisor of Statutes. The Revisor of Statutes shall review the proposed measure and suggest changes as to form and draftsmanship. The revisor shall complete the review within ten business days after receipt from the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall provide the results of the review and suggested changes to the sponsor but shall otherwise keep the proposed measure, the review, and the sworn statement confidential for five days after receipt of the review by the sponsor. The Secretary of State shall then maintain the proposed measure, the opinion, and the sworn statement as public information and as a part of the official record of the initiative. The sponsor may make any changes recommended by the Revisor of Statutes and shall submit final language to the Secretary of State. If the final language is addressing a subject that is substantially different in form or substance from the initial filing or the changes recommended by the Revisor of Statutes, the Secretary of State shall reject it.
(3) The Secretary of State shall prepare the form of the petition from the final language filed by the sponsor and shall provide a copy of the form of the petition to the sponsor within five business days after receipt of the final language of the proposed measure. The sponsor shall print the petitions to be circulated from the forms provided. Prior to circulation, the sponsor shall file a sample copy of the petition to be circulated with the Secretary of State.
A non-named person or entity's motivation to decline to be a named sponsor is irrelevant to the question of who must be listed as a sponsor of an initiative or referendum petition. Christensen v. Gale, 301 Neb. 19, 917 N.W.2d 145 (2018).
Defining sponsors who must be disclosed on an initiative or referendum petition as those who assume responsibility for the petition process serves the dual purposes of informing the public of (1) who may be held responsible for the petition, exposing themselves to potential criminal charges if information is falsified, and (2) who stands ready to accept responsibility to facilitate the referendum's inclusion on the ballot and defend the referendum process if challenged. Christensen v. Gale, 301 Neb. 19, 917 N.W.2d 145 (2018).
In the context of the statutory requirement that an initiative or referendum petition contain a sworn statement containing the names and street addresses of every person or entity sponsoring the petition, "sponsoring the petition" means assuming responsibility for the initiative or referendum petition process. Christensen v. Gale, 301 Neb. 19, 917 N.W.2d 145 (2018).
Limiting the category of "sponsors," in the context of the sponsor-disclosure requirement for initiative or referendum petitions, to those persons or entities who have specifically agreed to be responsible for the petition process and serve in the capacities the statutes require of sponsors, lends clarity and simplicity to the petition process, thereby facilitating and preserving its exercise. Christensen v. Gale, 301 Neb. 19, 917 N.W.2d 145 (2018).
"[S]ponsoring the petition" in the context of subsection (1) of this section means assuming responsibility for the initiative or referendum petition process. Hargesheimer v. Gale, 294 Neb. 123, 881 N.W.2d 589 (2016).
Petition was legally insufficient when it omitted a sworn statement of the sponsors and their street addresses. Loontjer v. Robinson, 266 Neb. 902, 670 N.W.2d 301 (2003).
Substantial compliance in filing the itemized verified statement of contributions and expenditures is all that is required. State ex rel. Morris v. Marsh, 183 Neb. 521, 162 N.W.2d 262 (1968).
Referendum petition against legislative act may be circulated as soon as act is passed. Klosterman v. Marsh, 180 Neb. 506, 143 N.W.2d 744 (1966).
The 1939 amendment to this section, which requires that a copy of the form of the petition together with a list of the known sponsors and those contributing funds be filed before the petition is circulated, is valid and mandatory, and the Secretary of State may refuse to file a petition where there has not been compliance with these requirements of this section. State ex rel. Winter v. Swanson, 138 Neb. 597, 294 N.W. 200 (1940).
This section, prior to the 1919 amendment, did not apply to a referendum petition and such a petition is sufficient if, at the time it is offered for filing, taking all of the sheets together as a whole, it has a full and correct copy of the measure attached to it. State ex rel. Ayres v. Amsberry, 104 Neb. 273, 177 N.W. 179 (1920), judgment vacated in 104 Neb. 279, 178 N.W. 822 (1920).
This section and section 32-705 provide generally for the duties of circulators of initiative and referendum petitions. Barkley v. Pool, 103 Neb. 629, 173 N.W. 600 (1919).
Under former law this section did not apply to referendum petitions. Bartling v. Wait, 96 Neb. 532, 148 N.W. 507 (1914).
Initiative procedure did not constitute adequate remedy to correct existing inequalities in apportionment of legislative districts. League of Nebraska Municipalities v. Marsh, 209 F.Supp. 189 (D. Neb. 1962).