© 2024 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

An update on the government transparency constitutional amendment


A third version of a government transparency constitutional amendment has now been submitted to the Arkansas attorney general. This third iteration comes the same day that Attorney General Tim Griffin rejected the most recent version of the proposed amendment. Arkansas Citizens for Transparency is the ballot question committee behind this proposed amendment; they provided the attorney general with four different ballot title options, and all four were rejected. Griffin opined that the rejection is based on “continued failure to clarify key terms,” as well as “continued failure to include the full text.” Griffin said he is instructing the group to “redesign” the proposal.

David Couch is a member of Arkansas Citizens for Transparency. In a phone call this morning, he said Griffin is grandstanding and treating the committee like children. Couch also said the people of Arkansas have a constitutional right to file and submit a proposed amendment in Arkansas and that the attorney general’s continued refusal to consider this ballot measure is analogous to Griffin infringing on your second amendment right and coming into your house and taking away your guns.

Couch said Arkansas law dictates that if the attorney general does not approve a ballot title, they are obligated to write a title that would be approved; the standard for a ballot title is that it must be clear what a vote in favor or a vote in opposition means at the ballot box.

He referred to the 2018 ballot measure regarding a raise in the minimum wage when then-Attorney General Leslie Rutledge rejected the ballot title three times in a month. The Arkansas Supreme Court intervened and mandated that Rutledge take action in approving the title.

Like in 2018, Couch said they plan to take litigation to the Arkansas Supreme Court, but they also plan to file a lawsuit against Griffin in circuit court to challenge the constitutionality of his actions.

Lawsuits can take time to play out, which could mean that the time between a ballot measure finally being approved and the deadline to collect enough signatures is short. Couch said this tactic of “Delay, delay, delay” by Griffin is not surprising.

Griffin has 10 business days to approve or reject the latest proposal.

Stay Connected
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Related Content