Nebraska Revised Statute 49-14,101.02

Chapter 49

49-14,101.02.

Public official or public employee; use of public resources or funds; prohibited acts; exceptions.

(1) For purposes of this section, public resources means personnel, property, resources, or funds under the official care and control of a public official or public employee.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a public official or public employee shall not use or authorize the use of public resources for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question.

(3) This section does not prohibit a public official or public employee from making government facilities available to a person for campaign purposes if the identity of the candidate or the support for or opposition to the ballot question is not a factor in making the government facility available or a factor in determining the cost or conditions of use.

(4) This section does not prohibit a governing body from discussing and voting upon a resolution supporting or opposing a ballot question or a public corporation organized under Chapter 70 from otherwise supporting or opposing a ballot question concerning the sale or purchase of its assets.

(5) This section does not prohibit a public official or a public employee under the direct supervision of a public official from responding to specific inquiries by the press or the public as to his or her opinion regarding a ballot question or from providing information in response to a request for information.

(6) This section does not prohibit a member of the Legislature from making use of public resources in expressing his or her opinion regarding a candidate or a ballot question or from communicating that opinion. A member is not authorized by this section to utilize mass mailings or other mass communications at public expense for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate. A member is not authorized by this section to utilize mass mailings at public expense for the purpose of qualifying, supporting, or opposing a ballot question.

(7) This subsection applies to public officials other than members of the Legislature provided for in subsection (6) of this section. This section does not prohibit, in the normal course of his or her duties, a public official or a public employee under the direct supervision of a public official from using public resources to research and prepare materials to assist the government body for which the individual is a public official or public employee in determining the effect of the ballot question on the government body. This section does not authorize mass mailings, mass duplication, or other mass communications at public expense for the purpose of qualifying, supporting, or opposing a ballot question. Mass communications shall not include placing public records demonstrating the consequences of the passage or defeat of a ballot question affecting the government body for which the individual is a public official or public employee on existing web sites of such government body.

(8) Nothing in this section prohibits a public official from campaigning for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question or the nomination or election of a candidate when no public resources are used.

(9) Nothing in this section prohibits a public employee from campaigning for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question or the nomination or election of a candidate when no public resources are used. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a public employee shall not engage in campaign activity for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question or the nomination or election of a candidate while on government work time or when otherwise engaged in his or her official duties.

(10) This section does not prohibit an employee of the Legislature from using public resources consistent with this section for the purpose of researching or campaigning for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question if the employee is under the direction and supervision of a member of the Legislature.

(11) Nothing in this section prohibits a public official or public employee from identifying himself or herself by his or her official title.

Annotations

  • In order to determine whether there has been a violation of subsection (2) of this section, a court must consider the intent behind the expenditure of public resources. Nebraska Account. & Disclosure Comm. v. Skinner, 288 Neb. 804, 853 N.W.2d 1 (2014).

  • Public resources are used "for the purpose of campaigning" when their use is intended to influence public support for or against a particular political candidate, ticket, or measure. Nebraska Account. & Disclosure Comm. v. Skinner, 288 Neb. 804, 853 N.W.2d 1 (2014).

  • The language of subsection (2) of this section does not make a distinction between express advocacy and issue advocacy. Nebraska Account. & Disclosure Comm. v. Skinner, 288 Neb. 804, 853 N.W.2d 1 (2014).

  • The filming of a city council member in his city office for the purpose of creating a video advertisement for his reelection campaign was not a "use" of resources in violation of this section. Vokal v. Nebraska Acct. & Disclosure Comm., 276 Neb. 988, 759 N.W.2d 75 (2009).

  • This section is penal in nature and must be strictly construed in the context of the object sought to be accomplished, the evils and mischiefs sought to be remedied, and the purpose sought to be served. Vokal v. Nebraska Acct. & Disclosure Comm., 276 Neb. 988, 759 N.W.2d 75 (2009).