Tax cap found invalid for ballot

VIRGINIA CITY — An initiative petition seeking to implement a California-style property tax cap in Nevada was found invalid for the November ballot Tuesday by a judge.

Senior Judge Charles McGee ruled from the bench after a two-day hearing, saying some of the affidavits required with the petition signatures were flawed and therefore invalidated the Nevada version of a Proposition 13 tax cap pushed by former state lawmaker Sharron Angle.

McGee said there were “exponentially more petitions” containing deficiencies than necessary to disqualify the measure from the ballot.

McGee said there was no evidence of fraud, and specifically noted that the petition backers made every effort to comply with the petition requirements.

He also suggested that a clear set of rules on how to follow the initiative process would be helpful for citizens and might be at least one positive result from all the effort expended by Angle and her volunteers.

The ruling, a victory for the Nevada State Education Association, will be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court for a final decision.

Las Vegas attorney Joel Hansen, representing Angle, said he will also immediately seek a stay from the Supreme Court to keep the measure on the ballot until the high court rules in the matter.

If the question is removed from the ballot and Angle wins on appeal, there will be no remedy, he said.

Angle, who attended the hearing in the Storey County Courthouse and who testified Tuesday, said she was disappointed because McGee appeared in his ruling to require a higher standard of compliance in meeting the affidavit requirements than what was set by the Nevada Supreme Court in a different petition case just last week.

“We felt we met the threshold of substantial compliance,” she said. “When we go to the (Supreme) court it will be a new day.”

Teachers association President Lynn Warne said she was happy with the decision.

“The judge’s ruling best serves the voters and preserves the intent of the law,” she said. “The initiative process is designed to express the will of the people, but the efforts must follow the rule of law and this group did not. Illegal steps were taken in gathering tens of thousands of signatures to qualify this initiative; therefore it was imperative we challenge the effort.”

In arguing for the petition to be upheld, Hansen said 95 percent of the signatures turned in to qualify the measure for the ballot were not contested.

“Ninety-five percent is substantial compliance,” he said. “That’s an A.”

Hansen said the rules were not clear on how to submit the affidavits, and he blamed the secretary of state’s office for failing to offer clear guidance on the matter.

But attorneys for the Nevada State Education Association, which challenged the decision by Secretary of State Ross Miller last month to certify the measure for the ballot, argued that nearly 12,000 of the signatures had to be found invalid because of the affidavit issues.

By finding that the signatures were invalid, the measure falls short of qualifying for the ballot both in Clark County and the state as a whole, said Carson City attorney Mike Dyer.

The hearing focused only on the affidavits turned in with petitions in Clark County.

Miller OK’d the measure for the November ballot after the clerks of the state’s 17 counties checked the signatures and determined there were enough valid names. Angle needed 58,628 signatures. Miller found that 64,166 qualified statewide.

But Angle also had to qualify the measure in all 17 counties, and the petition narrowly survived a random review of 5 percent of the signatures in Clark County. She needed 40,364 signatures in Clark County. The review showed she had 40,571 valid signatures, just 207 more than required.

The affidavit issues raised by the teachers were rejected by Miller.

It is expected to be on the ballot as Question 5 whether it is ultimately found valid or not because ballots are being printed this week.

If ruled ineligible by the Supreme Court, the votes on the measure will not be counted.

Dyer said the issue is not the number of signatures turned in, but the affidavits required by the Legislature to accompany the signatures as a way to head off potential fraud.

“Did you substantially comply,” he asked in closing arguments. “Just trying isn’t enough.”

Dyer spent much of the day highlighting various issues with dozens of pages of signatures turned in Clark County, saying the mandated affidavits were incomplete and thus should invalidate the signatures.

Problems cited included the failure to list the number of signatures for which a circulator was attesting to, and affidavits that appeared to cover multiple signature pages gathered by different individuals.

The affidavits require signature gathers to attest to the fact that they witnessed the signatures personally and that signers were given the chance to read the measure, among other provisions.

The requirements are not difficult to follow, Dyer said.

Hansen argued that any mistakes were minor and the petitioners substantially complied with the affidavit requirements, which is the standard set by the Nevada Supreme Court for initiative petitions in a decision issued last week on a different petition challenge.

Angle’s proposed constitutional amendment would limit property tax increases to 2 percent per year for all property. The Legislature enacted its own caps in 2005, limiting increases on owner-occupied homes to 3 percent and other property to 8 percent.

If approved by voters this year and in 2010, the cap would take precedence over the legislative cap.

The hearing was held in the Storey County courthouse because a courtroom was not available in the capital.

Contact Review-Journal Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at or 775 687-3900.

Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like