Posted: Aug 11, 2012 9:00 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA- The Montana Supreme Court ruled in two important election cases on Friday.
The first relates to Initiative 166, a policy statement which would establish that corporations are not people.
Montana State Senator Dave Lewis (R-Helena) questioned whether or not the initiative should be on the November ballot because he says it was an odd mix of resolution, law, and constitutional amendment.
He also claims it ties the hands of the Montana Legislature to adopt laws which comply with the ballot language.
However, in the Supreme Court ruling six of the seven justices are allowing I-166 to stay on the ballot saying it is legally sufficient.
Justice Nelson dissented by writing, "I-166 cannot change federal law; it does not change state law; and it does not change the law of any sister state. Rather, the I-166 exercise simply does into the wind what most Montana children learn to avoid early in life."
The second ballot issue is LR-123, a proposal to return excess state revenue to taxpayers.
It would force the Department of Revenue to issue tax credits to taxpayers if the State of Montana had extra money in its bank account.
District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock previously ruled this was unconstitutional because it delegated the power of the Legislature to one state department.
Four of the seven Montana Supreme Court Justices upheld Sherlock's decision, meaning that LR-123 will not appear on the November ballot.