(CN) – The Nebraska Legislature did not violate the state constitution when it relocated the state fair, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled.
The State Fair Board told the public in 2003 that it was in a financial crisis. It entertained proposals for locations away from the state capital of Lincoln.
The Legislature voted in 2009 to move the fair to Fonner Park in Grand Island. The bill also called for the University of Nebraska to take over the longtime fairgrounds site to be converted to an “innovation campus.”
Roger Yant, Brian Von Seggern and Jerry Christianson challenged the law in court, seeking a judgment declaring the law unconstitutional as “special legislation” bestowing benefits on a closed class.
The trial court dismissed their complaint, and the state high court upheld the decision on appeal.
“We find that (the law) does not violate the closed class provision … because the legislature had a reasonable basis for enacting a special law in furtherance of a legitimate public policy,” Justice Michael Heavican wrote.
“And, while proximity to the state fair may benefit local businesses, those benefits are incidental to the public purpose behind (the law),” he added.