It’s hard to believe we are nearly two and a half months into 2016. Now I’m sure I say this every year, but I just can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by. Despite the disappointing start to 2016 for ESA in the Lopez case, this year has been flourishing with positivity and growing momentum in support of education savings accounts. Daily, I add people to this email list. Not a day goes by where I don’t get a call or email asking about the program, seeking help with an application, or asking me to speak.
Whether it’s one-to-one, a small group, or 500 people, it truly is my pleasure and I feel honored by your invitations to come to your homes, places of work, sports practices, churches, schools, and anywhere else you want to learn about ESA. In fact, next week, I will be in the Reno/Carson City area. There will be more information on that later this week. So, from all of us at NPRI, thank you for sharing NevadaESA.com with your networks and trusting us to help walk you and your friends through the process.
Speaking of walking through the process, there are a few things to report on the ESA lawsuit front.
Last Friday, the State of Nevada filed its Opening Brief with the Nevada Supreme Court in Lopez, the Northern Nevada injunction advocated by Educate Nevada Now — a coalition “powered by” the Jim Rogers Foundation, and, sponsored by its “founding partner” the Education Law Center, apparently the same group representing the Lopez plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The Respondents (Lopez plaintiffs) will have 21 days to respond. The State will then have 10 days to reply to that brief. So, believe it or not, three weeks have already passed since this case was expedited!
Urgency is not just a consideration in the Lopez case. Last Tuesday, the judge in Duncan, the Southern Nevada lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Nevada, also noted a sense of urgency to get this case moving. You may recall, the ACLU had listed 84 issues for discovery in their case challenging the constitutionality of ESA because families are able to choose and pay tuition for faith-based private schools with the ESA.
Judge Eric Johnson was very cognizant of, and, noted more than once during the hearing, that families of more than 4,000 children are in limbo and need to make decisions for the next school year. So, after several attempts to get this case moving in the process by narrowing the 84 discovery issues — to no avail — where the defendant parties conceded certain ACLU points, the judge ordered the parties to file Statements of Facts on the State’s Motion to Dismiss and the ACLU’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction by this Friday, March 11.
Now, I don’t regularly frequent court proceedings, so this may be a common thing, but I was certainly shocked when the ACLU then questioned the judge’s jurisdiction and authority over their motion for preliminary injunction. ACLU attorneys even referred to such a court decision as an “advisory opinion.” I admit, I’m not a lawyer, but doesn’t it stand to reason, if the ACLU doesn’t believe the judge has authority or jurisdiction to decide their motion, that they would withdraw it? In any case, the judge has also ordered briefing on the question of his authority and jurisdiction due this Friday along with the Statement of Facts.
Quickly, let me share how outsiders see Nevada and more importantly you, the parents, families and community members. I was in a training recently, and a woman from a state which has had ESAs for a while, commented on just how inspired she is by the fire, drive and dedication of parents, ESA advocates and supporters in Nevada. She’s going back home carrying our flame.
In closing, be sure to sign and share our ESA petition on NevadaESA.com. I can email you a hardcopy to take to others. Just drop me a quick note.
Stay Strong! And #LetOurChildrenSucceed
PS: Don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity to get a $2,500 scholarship for college! If you have a student in Clark County about to graduate, take a look at the Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship opportunity! Visit npri.org for details, or to apply.