The state treasurer’s office can continue to accept applications for the Education Savings Account program after a judge clarified an injunction order at the attorney general’s request.
District Court Judge James Wilson granted the attorney general’s motion to have the injunction order more closely align with a state Supreme Court decision that found only the funding source of the program unconstitutional.
“We are pleased that the district court agreed with our interpretation of the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision. It remains crystal clear that ESAs are constitutional and can be fully implemented once the funding technicality is addressed,” Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in a statement.
The request from Laxalt came after multiple groups voiced concern and at least one threatened legal action against State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, arguing that accepting applications was in violation of the injunction.
“Our office is excited to continue to implement Nevada’s ESA program, we’re incredibly excited and relieved for Nevada parents that there’s clarity on the constitutionality of the program as it moves forward and we look forward to the legislative session and Governor Sandoval’s leadership to find funding for the program,” Grant Hewitt, Schwartz’s chief of staff, said Friday.
The families who originally brought the lawsuit objected, along with the nonprofit Educate Nevada Now and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. Lawyers on behalf of the family filed a cease-and-desist letter to Schwartz’s office in December, saying he was breaking the injunction order by continuing to accept applications.
Wilson granted and signed the attorney general’s request on Wednesday.
Amanda Morgan, the legal director of Educate Nevada Now, said Friday lawyers from the Supreme Court case were going to watch and evaluate any new funding sources.
“No matter how you slice it, this give-taxpayer-money-to-rich people scheme is dead,” she said. “The legislature may consider a new scheme with a new separate appropriation for a similar give-away.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval has said he plans to include a separate funding source for the accounts in his proposed 2017-19 budget.
Contact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.