Jan. 15, 2015

Arkansas Legislature in Session
Ballot Issues on the Agenda

Members of the 90th General Assembly started work Monday at the state capitol. Arkansas legislators will be in session for the next few months proposing and debating bills that could become laws. It's during this time that legislators propose constitutional amendments for the 2016 ballot. 

One proposed amendment has already been filed and there's talks of more to limit the powers of the lieutenant governor. By the end of the session, more than two dozen proposals might be filed. These proposed constitutional amendments go to the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee in the Senate and House for review and discussion. By the end of the session, only three amendments can be referred to voters.

This month also marks the start of a new attorney general, Leslie Rutledge. The Attorney General's Office is responsible for reviewing and approving the titles of ballot issues proposed by the public. The titles of three potential 2016 ballot issues were approved by outgoing Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. 

The Public Policy Center will continue to follow these issues and keep you updated on the 2016 ballot measures.
Be Ahead of the Curve - Discover 2016 Ballot Issue Information

Leglisative Ballot Issue Proposals

Read up on the proposed ballot issues filed for consideration during the 2015 legislative session.
News About Ballot Issues

Here you will find mentions of ballot issues or election law on news blogs and websites.


Did you know?

Half of Arkansas' 1.6 million voters showed up at the polls for the 2014 general election. Below is a review of the counties with the highest voter turnout rate and lowest voter turnout rate. 

Highest Turnout Counties
Lowest Turnout Counties
Van Buren      62%
Stone              58%
Lafayette        60%
Izard               59%
Columbia        58%
St. Francis      44%
Sebastian        43%
Phillips             42%
Jackson          42%
Crittenden        37%



Looking Forward - Potential 2016 Ballot Issues from the Public

Attorney General Opinions
Dec. 15, 2014 - The Campaign Finance Act of 2016 - The Attorney General's office rejected a ballot measure that would create campaign spending disclosure requirements and instruct the state to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding campaign contributions. Opinion No. 2014-135 cited deficiencies and ambiguities in the proposal because of missing definitions and the act's summary containing partisan language. Paul J. Spencer, chair of the Regnat Populus Ballot Question Committee in Little Rock, submitted the measure.

Approved for circulation
Nov. 3, 2014 - The Arkansas Hemp and Marijuana Amendment - A ballot measure to legalize the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, purchase, possession and use of the cannabis plant in Arkansas was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2014-119Mary L. Berry of Summit submitted the measure.


Aug. 5, 2014The Arkansas Hemp and Cannabis Amendment - A ballot measure to legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant in Arkansas was certified for signature gathering. Opinion No. 2014-079 said the proposed constitutional amendment was identical to a previously approved measure. Frederick W. Porter of Hot Springs submitted the measure.


Aug. 14, 2014The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act - A ballot measure to legalize the use of medical marijuana, and a system for growing and selling medical marijuana was certified for signature gathering. The ballot measure was similar to a recent proposal that did not receive enough signatures for the 2014 ballot. In Opinion No. 2014-086, the Attorney General cautioned the group that "according to my experience there is a direct correlation between the length and complexity of initiated acts and their susceptibility to a successful ballot title challenge." Melissa Fults, campaign director of Arkansans for Compassionate Care 2016, submitted the measure.  



NewsIn the News
News organizations from across the state have been reporting on ballot measures and Arkansas election/voting issues. Here are links to stories we have come across:

SJR1 - An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning Civil Claims and Court Procedures
Read the Legislative bill 



Stay Connected
Know of a potential ballot issue? 
E-mail the information to publicpolicycenter@uaex.edu or call Kristin Higgins at 501-671-2160. 

You can find past newsletters and ballot issue fact sheets at 
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The Public Policy Center was established in 2004 to provide Arkansans with timely, credible, unaligned and research-based information and education about public issues. Public issues are defined as pressing and emerging issues that involve multiple points of view and have widespread consequences. Our goals are to:

  • increase citizen knowledge, awareness and understanding of public issues;
  • enhance public participation in decisions regarding public issues and
  • help citizens craft, evaluate and implement alternative solutions to public issues.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture - http://www.uaex.edu


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