United States News Nebraska Supreme Court rejects last challenge to payday lending initiative

Supreme Court rejects last challenge to payday lending initiative


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The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit alleging signatures on a petition initiative capping the annual percentage rates payday lenders can charge had been gathered improperly.

Brian Chaney, of Omaha, sued Secretary of State Bob Evnen and sponsors of the petition drive in September, alleging that at least 188 people were not read the full object statement of the measure before they signed.

Those individuals filed sworn and notarized affidavits, and if removed, would have meant the petition failed to gather 5% of signatures in the 38 counties required by law, disqualifying it for the ballot, Chaney said in his initial complaint.

Ballot measure would cap payday loan rates at 36%

But Lancaster County District Court Judge Robert Otte dismissed the challenge in early September, saying it had been filed after the deadline set by state law, and said circulators were only required to “summarize, generally, the object or purpose” of the petition — not read it verbatim.

Chaney, who worked in the payday loan industry, appealed the decision to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which unanimously affirmed Otte’s decision in a Friday opinion.

In addressing the deadline question, the court noted that while Chaney was unable to obtain copies of the petition until after it had been certified for the ballot, that did not preclude the signatories from seeking to withdrawal their signatures before the deadline.

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