Two of six initiatives submit signatures to try to qualify for ballot

Proponents of the Property Owners Bill of Rights petition Tuesday submitted enough signatures to Nevada's election officials to initially qualify for the November ballot. It was the only other initiative other than the Tax and Spending Control initiative to succeed.

One of the four that didn't make it was Sharron Angle's attempt to write California's Proposition 13 into the Nevada's Constitution.

Don Chairez, the Republican attorney general's candidate who authored the amendment limiting governmental use of condemnation, said he filed 136,000 signatures in Clark, Washoe, Douglas and Elko counties.

The signatures must now be checked by the 17 county clerks to determine exactly how many names there are. Then they have to determine how many signers are actually registered voters legally qualified to sign.

If that number exceeds 83,184, the Property Owners Bill of Rights will be placed on the November ballot. The only other thing which could prevent a vote on the amendment would be a successful legal challenge.

Chairez said the purpose of the amendment is "to prevent transfers where property is taken from one private party and given to another private party."

He said at present, government can condemn land for a public use and then sell it. He said the amendment would allow property owners to have a court decide whether the intended governmental use is actually a public use such as construction of roads or schools.

Angle blamed "liberal activists" for the failure of her petition to get enough signatures. Cliff Nellis, who ran the petition drive for her, said this was the second attempt to put Prop-13 on the Nevada ballot but that they would try again in the next election cycle.

He blamed what he termed as convoluted state laws regarding initiatives for the failure to qualify last time and "special interest groups who feed off the government trough" for this year's failure.

The proposal would have rolled property taxes back to 1 percent of tax value and required a vote of the people to raise them.

The remaining three initiatives circulating this campaign cycle all failed to qualify for the ballot.

The Nevada Association of Counties withdrew its petition asking voters to prohibit unfunded mandates on local governments earlier this year when it became clear supporters weren't going to get enough signatures.

Steve Brown, of Las Vegas, said his "Truth in Science" amendment requiring public school teachers to tell students evolution is a theory and to explain the doubts opponents have raised simply wasn't getting enough support.

"I could see even if it got on the ballot it wasn't going to pass," he said.

And Dr. R.R. Apache, of UNLV's Department of Sports Leadership, said amendment to require daily physical education classes in K-12 public schools fell short for want of financial backing.

Apache said he will instead see if the Legislature will consider making the requirement for daily P.E. classes a law.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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