ballot initiatives

Courtesy / Richard Quick Photography

Last Tuesday, voters in Eureka Springs decided several controversial ballot measures and contested City Council races framed by economic and residential interests. We gather analysis from local business owner and retired Carroll County Justice of the Peace, Lamont Richie.

If Issue 3 is approved, amendments to the Arkansas Constitution would change the process for the submission, challenge and approval of proposed citizen-initiated acts, constitutional amendments and referenda. Proponents say it should be more difficult to change the state's Constitution. Opponents say Issue 3 is trying to trick people into disenfranchising themselves.

Issue 2 asks voters to approve changing term limits for the General Assembly described in Amendment 73 of the Arkansas Constitution. The amendment would eliminate lifetime term limits, but require breaks in service for future state senators and representatives.

Issue 1, which was referred to the voters by the Arkansas General Assembly, proposes amending the Arkansas Constitution to make permanent a half-cent sales tax that currently helps fund the state's four-lane highway system, county roads and city streets. Proponents say every county will receive funding from the tax, so all Arkansans will benefit.

The Public Policy Center at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is providing unbiased election information in an effort to aid voter education. The center shares information about the voting process and ballot issues through a physical voter guide and a website.

The Open Primaries Arkansas group turned in its signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office yesterday. Their initiative would place an open primary concept in front of voters in November. If the measure is approved, it would change how candidates are selected for office in the state.

Courtesy / Arkansas Voters First

Every 10 years, legislative and congressional districts in Arkansas are shifted based on population. A proposal to change who is in charge of the process might be on the November ballot after the group Arkansas Voters First handed in its signatures supporting the measure yesterday.

courtesy: University of Arkansas Extension Service

Each election season, a University of Arkansas agency researches the issues and proposals appearing on the ballot to provide unbiased information to voters. We speak with Kristen Higgins, a public policy program associate with the University of Arkansas Extension Service about how the agency researches ballot issues and provides that information to the voting public.

Former Arkansas State Supreme Court Justice Annabelle Imber Tuck is against Issue One on the Arkansas ballot this fall. It would place a cap on attorney contingency fees, limit punitive damages and non-economic damages awards and allow the Arkansas Legislature to adopt, amend, or repeal rules regarding pleading, practice, or procedure prescribed by the state supreme court.

Backers of a new proposed amendment that would expand gambling in Arkansas have filed the measure with the Arkansas Attorney General's office. If the ballot title passes muster and Driving Arkansas Forward collects enough valid signatures, Arkansas voters will have their say in November. We asked Nate Steel, counsel for Driving Arkansas Forward, about the proposal that directs money toward state highway projects.