Backers of proposed Nevada ballot measures submit signatures
June 22, 2016
LAS VEGAS — Three groups proposing Nevada ballot questions have submitted signatures in an effort to qualify the measures for the November election. The measures would reverse a rooftop solar rate hike, undo NV Energy's monopoly and exempt more medical equipment from the sales tax.
Four other proposed measures died on Tuesday after supporters missed a deadline for submitting more than 55,000 valid signatures of registered voters.
Here's a look at all the measures:
ROOFTOP SOLAR RATES
A group trying to reverse a recent rooftop solar rate hike says it gathered more than twice as many signatures as it needed to qualify for the ballot.
Even if enough signatures are validated, the measure still faces a legal roadblock. A judge ruled that the petition doesn't meet the requirements of a referendum that removes parts of state law, so it needs to be filed in a different format as an initiative petition.
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Bring Back Solar has appealed the ruling and gathered signatures anyway. No court date has been set for the appeal.
The group hasn't yet re-filed the measure as an initiative petition but could do that after Tuesday's deadline.
Rooftop solar company SolarCity has directed about $2.5 million this year toward a PAC supporting the ballot measure. A PAC mostly funded by NV Energy has received $1.5 million this year to fight the measure.
NV ENERGY BREAKUP
A group that wants to break up NV Energy's monopoly says it submitted signatures by the deadline and is hopeful that enough are valid to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
The Energy Choice Initiative seeks to change the state constitution to give customers the right to choose their energy provider and produce their own power to sell to others.
An affiliated PAC, Nevadans for Affordable, Clean Energy Choices, reported raising nearly $700,000 this calendar year — almost all from the Las Vegas Sands casino company.
The Sands recently abandoned an effort to leave NV Energy but "maintains a strong desire to purchase and use the cleanest and most cost-efficient energy available on the open market," spokesman Ron Reese said.
NV Energy has said it will not fight the potential change, which wouldn't take effect for years.
TAX-FREE MEDICAL DEVICES
Supporters of the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, a proposed ballot question that would exempt certain medical equipment from sales tax, said they gathered at least 2,000 more signatures than needed in each of Nevada's four petition districts.
Organizer Douglas Bennett said previous efforts to exempt medical devices from taxes have failed in the Legislature.
A PAC supporting the measure is funded almost entirely by Bennett's company, Bennett Medical Services, which sells wheelchairs, ventilators and other equipment that would be tax-exempt if the measure passes.
SHARRON ANGLE MEASURES
No petitions were submitted in Clark County for three proposed ballot measures backed by former Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle.
Angle indicated earlier this month that it had been difficult collecting signatures for the measures that called for constitutional amendments requiring voter ID at the polls, a ban on Nevada's health insurance exchange and expanded student data privacy protections.
COMMERCE TAX REPEAL
Organizers of an effort to repeal Nevada's new commerce tax abandoned the project last month, saying it would be too difficult to gather the needed signatures after a Nevada Supreme Court ruling invalidated their previous work.
MARIJUANA AND GUNS
Two petitions already have gathered enough signatures to guarantee their place on the ballot. One would expand background checks to more gun sales and transfers, and the other would legalize recreational marijuana.