The General Law and Practice Committee monitors developments that affect the NABL model opinions and makes recommendations for revision projects; maintains and develops model language for bond documents; identifies and addresses issues of which NABL members should be aware in the municipal law area. Projects originate both from Board direction and from NABL member initiation. The Committee Chair and Vice Chair assemble subgroups to address specific projects as they arise.

If you are interested in participating and are not already a committee member, login and update your member profile, or contact the Committee Chair.


(206) 245-1717
Dawn P. Bookhardt,Vice-Chair
(720) 330-2384
(317) 231-7753

Lien or Not to Lien: The Nature of the Lien in the Context of Municipal Bonds 

The Committee was previously considering a new paper to address the nature of the lien in the municipal bond context. Recently, the late James Spiotto’s article: “The History and Justification for Timely Payment of Statutory Liens and Pledged Special Revenues Bond Financing in a Chapter 9 Municipal Debt Adjustment Proceeding: Is a Model State Law Necessary or Required?,” appeared in the Municipal Finance Journal, suggesting, among other things, adoption of model legislation for lien perfection. The Committee is considering recruiting members to review and critique the article to determine if NABL should take a position on Spiotto’s recommendations. 

Status: Soliciting volunteers.

Constitutional Basis for Tax Exempt Financing – A Historical Review and Look into the Future

This project will explore the applicable provisions of dual federalism in public finance. It will explore the evolution of state constitutions and the resultant non-uniformity of Dillon’s Rule. It will discuss the tensions between the 10th and 11th Amendments on the one side and the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause on the other, both as originally construed and as applicable to the real-life public finance “hot topics” of today. Those include state law issues of power and authority in the areas of bank loans, securitizations, bankruptcies, and related matters. They include federal securities law issues relating to the changing regulatory environment and the boundaries on constitutionality of potentially expanded federal regulation. Finally, they also include discussion of constitutional principles in the area of federal tax reform, including discussion of the elasticity of Supreme Court decisions over time regarding the doctrine of reciprocal immunity and the uncertain precedential value of South Carolina v. Baker. Finally, this article will close with some forward-looking discussion of where these Constitutional issues are likely to present themselves next in the area of public and quasi-public finance, and some helpful tips on issue spotting and analyzing these issues as they arise.

Status: Project is underway.  

Update of NABL's Model Bond Opinion Report

The Committee proposes to review and update as necessary the NABL Model Bond Opinion report. The currently published report is now over 15 years old and given the many changes in our industry and opinion practices, the Committee and NABL Board believe updating this report would be beneficial to the membership.

Status: Project is underway.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue   

On June 30, 2020, the United States Supreme Court (the “Court”) rendered its decision in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Dep’t. of Revenue (“Espinoza”). The decision rendered in the Espinoza case is significant for separation of church and state jurisprudence as the Court determined and reaffirmed that the Free Exercise of Religion Clause (the “Free Exercise Clause”) of the First Amendment prevents the application of State Religious Aid Restrictions to a generally available public benefit program based on an organization’s religious status, absent a compelling state interest and narrow tailoring of such restrictions. This project will take a deeper dive into the Court’s decision and will examine the impact of this case, taken along with the precedents to assist our members in their analysis of similarly situated programs nationally. 

Status: Project is in the development stage; volunteers welcome. 

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Financing of Charter Schools

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