GRASSROOTS in NEBRASKA

Sowing the Seeds of Constitutional, Limited Government

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Lincoln “Fairness” Ordinance Process Wrong
CITY COUNCIL’S MAY 14 VOTE:

Sets a dangerous precedent, could cost taxpayers
Council members were given EVERY available signal that their action was improper
tomorrow and on an issue with which you disagree? Elected officials need to know that as guardians of the public trust, they, in particular, are not above the law.

I nves tor News l etter
CITY CHARTER
LINCOLN’S HOME RULE CHARTER SPELLS OUT CITY POWERS Home rule charters grant considerable independence but must STILL be consistent with the Nebraska Constitution and state laws. Home rule charter cities can legislate more extensively on strictly local matters. Civil rights legislation is concurrently a state and local matter. ARTICLE X, Section I governs civil rights powers. It does NOT give power to City officials to legislate regarding a class of persons according to sexual orientation and gender identity OR to add them to the list of classes. AMENDMENTS TO CHARTER REQUIRE A PUBLIC VOTE Lincolnites should ask themselves why their City officials didn’t proceed with caution. There was a long list of reasons why they should NOT proceed and a very short list - of their own making motivating them to move ahead. • The Attorney General’s office released an opinion detailing why Nebraska local governments cannot pass such an ordinance in the manner proposed. • Past history IN the City of Lincoln proves that the procedure followed was improper. • Many attorneys - including those involved when a similar amendment to the very same ordinance was proposed - let Council members know their action violated law. • The only legal “legitimacy” Council members can claim is the opinion of their own City Attorney, which is not publicly available for review. In addition to violating procedure, many attorneys have pointed out that the ordinance is very poorly written. • Language is vague and over broad • Lacks proper basic definitions A long line of Lincolnites at a public input session on May 7 urged the Council to follow the rule of law by properly putting the proposed measure on the ballot.

Past improper actions no excuse
Proponents of the new ordinance argue that the Lincoln City Council has voted to amend Lincoln Municipal Code in similar ways in the past. Prior violations of law are not an excuse. That is equivalent to a criminal who routinely violates the law, and, when caught, cites past failures to prosecute as a defense. Now that Lincolnites are aware that their City officials have actually been in the habit of ignoring proper procedure for ordinance changes, the answer is not to ignore current or prior improper acts, but to correct them.

City Officials DO NOT Pay for Lawsuits & Damages TAXPAYERS DO

NEBRASKA LAW
Governs regarding civil rights - so local governments cannot pass laws in conflict with state law. Requires that a City government seeking to add to list of protected classes of persons seek an amendment to the City’s Charter. Includes a provision which expressly prohibits inclusion of persons based on such things as homosexuality, transgender, etc.
CITY COUNCIL’S MAY 14 IS IN CONFLICT WITH STATE LAW
REPRINTING AS IS ENCOURAGED REV. 5/20/2012

Rule of law should be followed regardless of the issue

City officials’ actions open the City - and therefore taxpayers - to multiple type of litigation: • Challenges caused by improper procedure followed • Lack of proper definitions, ambiguities, and over breadth are all invitations to litigation • Increased probability that citizens’ rights will be violated if/when officials decide to enforce it
Council members crossed a NEW line: Civil rights legislation has historically been limited to immutable characteristics (color of skin, age, gender) NOT overt conduct or behavior.

Today’s issue may be something you support, but if City officials are allowed to get away with improper acts, what is stopping them from doing the same

GRASSROOTS IN NEBRASKA (GIN) grassrootsne.com sdawdy@grassrootsne.com or lrohman@grassrootsne.com

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