Current Projects

Financing of Charter Schools

The financing of charter schools with tax-exempt bonds is a rapidly expanding part of our practice.It is clear that such financings are integrally intertwined with the laws of the state in which the charter school is located. The Committee and the NABL Board believes that a paper addressing the issues that arise in charter school financings that would be of assistance to the general membership, so this project has been undertaken. The project encompasses a review of certain state statutes on such matters as state or local aid, the existence (or non-existence) of a direct state intercept available to creditors, the charter granting and review process and statutes that may direct a certain structure (e.g., where certain state or local payments are available to a charter school leasing its property rather than owning it) would allow bond, borrower, issuer and purchaser counsel to be sensitive to the concerns raised in charter school financings.

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.    

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.

Projects Needing Volunteers

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

The Committee is putting together a team to start a new paper to address the nature of the lien in the context of municipal bonds. The concept behind this paper is not to produce a 50 state survey, but to explore recent cases addressing the lien (Puerto Rico and Detroit), discuss how the lien may be treated in bankruptcy, review a select number of states with statutory liens, and explore how the lien could be made stronger. The goal is to have this paper published (as a shorter piece) in The Bond Lawyer as a helpful tool for bond lawyers and market participants to understand the nature of the lien.