Initiative and referendum measures; refusal of Secretary of State to place on ballot; jurisdiction of district court; parties; appeal.
(1) If the Secretary of State refuses to place on the ballot any measure proposed by an initiative petition presented at least four months preceding the date of the election at which the proposed law or constitutional amendment is to be voted upon or a referendum petition presented within ninety days after the Legislature enacting the law to which the petition applies adjourns sine die or for a period longer than ninety days, any resident may apply, within ten days after such refusal, to the district court of Lancaster County for a writ of mandamus. If it is decided by the court that such petition is legally sufficient, the Secretary of State shall order the issue placed upon the ballot at the next general election.
(2) On a showing that an initiative or referendum petition is not legally sufficient, the court, on the application of any resident, may enjoin the Secretary of State and all other officers from certifying or printing on the official ballot for the next general election the ballot title and number of such measure. If a suit is filed against the Secretary of State seeking to enjoin him or her from placing the measure on the official ballot, the person who is the sponsor of record of the petition shall be a necessary party defendant in such suit.
(3) Such suits shall be advanced on the trial docket and heard and decided by the court as quickly as possible. Either party may appeal to the Court of Appeals within ten days after a decision is rendered. The appeal procedures described in the Administrative Procedure Act shall not apply to this section.
(4) The district court of Lancaster County shall have jurisdiction over all litigation arising under sections 32-1401 to 32-1416.
Source:Laws 1994, LB 76, § 394; Laws 2018, LB193, § 69.
Operative Date: July 19, 2018
Administrative Procedure Act, see section 84-920.
Pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, the issue of whether a measure complies with the requirements of Neb. Const. art. III, sec. 2, is a question of legal sufficiency and is justiciable by a court before the measure is submitted to the voters. State ex rel. Lemon v. Gale, 272 Neb. 295, 721 N.W.2d 347 (2006).
Subsection (2) of this section allows a court to consider whether an initiative petition is legally sufficient and questions dealing with statutory provisions concerning the form of a petition and the technical requirements of the sponsors affect the legal sufficiency of an initiative. Loontjer v. Robinson, 266 Neb. 902, 670 N.W.2d 301 (2003).
A prayer for injunctive relief under this section can be properly joined with a prayer for declaratory relief. Duggan v. Beermann, 249 Neb. 411, 544 N.W.2d 68 (1996).
The ten-day time limit imposed by this section within which to seek a writ of mandamus against the Secretary of State's sufficiency determination of an initiative petition violates neither the First nor Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. State ex rel. Labedz v. Beermann, 229 Neb. 657, 428 N.W.2d 608 (1988).
Under the provisions of this section, Nebraska citizens have ten days from the day the Secretary of State formally files an order refusing to place an initiative on the ballot to bring an action for a writ of mandamus in the district court for Lancaster County. State ex rel. Labedz v. Beermann, 229 Neb. 657, 428 N.W.2d 608 (1988).
This section governs the time for taking an appeal in cases arising under the Initiative and Referendum Act, and, unless a transcript is filed in the Supreme Court within the time prescribed by this section, the Supreme Court cannot obtain jurisdiction of such cases on appeal. State ex rel. Ayres v. Amsberry, 104 Neb. 279, 178 N.W. 822 (1920), vacating former judgment in 104 Neb. 273, 177 N.W. 179 (1920).
The provisions of this act authorizing injunction suits are valid, and the remedies provided for by this section are available to and may be invoked by any citizen. Barkley v. Pool, 103 Neb. 629, 173 N.W. 600 (1919); Barkley v. Pool, 102 Neb. 799, 169 N.W. 730 (1918).