Feb. 14, 2017
Voter ID, "Tort Reform" Among 31 Ballot Proposals Filed

Arkansas legislators filed 31 proposed constitutional amendments for the 2018 ballot. Limited by law to a maximum of three measures, legislators will quickly whittle the list down in committee meetings in coming weeks. 

Based on the number of co-sponsors, there are a few proposals most likely to make it through the committee process legislators told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The proposals include:
The number of bills is less than the 40 filed for the 2016 ballot. Several of the proposals are shell bills, in that there is only a title. Shell bills are typically fleshed out at a later time. Some of the bills are similar, dealing with access to education, changes to the ballot issue process, and the method for selecting Supreme Court justices. 

A full list of the 31 proposals can be found below. In an interview with the newspaper, legislators from both houses said they wanted committees to review the bills this week and narrow them down for a full vote. The House and the Senate expect to refer one proposal each. A third proposal might be agreed to at a later date this session. 

The 91st General Assembly is expected to wrap up by April 7, according to a resolution filed Monday, with the official last day of the session being May 5. 


Did you know?

The Arkansas Attorney General's Office launched a new website this month at arkansasag.gov. The website is where you can find the titles of ballot measures proposed by citizens. The attorney general reviews each ballot title and must approve it and the full text of the proposal before supporters can gather voter signatures. Click here to read recent AG ballot issue-related opinions. 

Source: Arkansas State Legislature


LegislatureThe 2017 Legislative Session & Proposed Ballot Issues



Arkansas legislators submitted 31 proposed constitutional amendments by the Feb. 8 deadline. 

Legislators are able to refer up to three constitutional amendments to the voters every general election. The following are bills that were filed in the current legislative session:

SenateFrom the Senate:

SJR1 - A constitutional amendment to reduce the number of days the General Assembly is in session; and repealing the fiscal session of the General Session.

Read SJR1

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SJR3 - The Public Education Partnership Amendment of 2018. 

Read SJR3

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SJR4 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the appointment of justices of the Supreme Court by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. 

Read SJR4

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SJR5 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution providing that the General Assembly shall be the sole and exclusive evaluator of whether the system of free public schools satisfies the Arkansas Constitution. 

Read SJR5

Sponsor: Sen. Alan Clark
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SJR6 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning voter identification when casting a ballot in person.

Read SJR6

Sponsor: Sen. Bryan King
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SJR8 - A constitutional amendment limiting contingency fees and awards of punitive and non-economic damages; and changing the powers of the General Assembly and the Supreme Court regarding rules of pleading, practice, and procedure.

Read SJR8

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SJR10 - Amending the Arkansas Constitution to revise the process for the General Assembly to submit propopsed amendments to the Arkansas Constitution to the electors of the state at a General Election. 

Read SJR10

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SJR11 - A proposed constitutional amendment creating the Board of Pardons for the purpose of granting pardons after convictions; and providing that a person may apply for a pardon from either the governor or the Board of Pardons.

Read SJR11

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SJR12 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning court decisions pertaining to initiatives and referendums under Arkansas Constitution Article 5, 1.

Read SJR12

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SJR13 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning awards in civil actions.

Read SJR13

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SJR14 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning retirement salary and pension funds for municipal police officers and municipal firefighters. 

Read SJR14




From the House:

HJR1002 - A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to provide for the appointment of emergency interim successors to certain constitutional offices upon the occurrence of a catastrophic event.

Read HJR1002

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HJR1003 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to amend the process for placing proposed measures and constitutional amendments on the ballot for consideration by voters at an election.

Read HJR1003

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HJR1004 - An amendment to Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1, concerning the filing of initiative petitions and the process for challenging the sufficiency of a petition.

Read HJR1004

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HJR1005 - The Public Education Partnership Amendment of 2018.

Read HJR1005

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HJR1006 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution repealing the fiscal session of the General Assembly and providing that an appropriation by the General Assembly not be for a longer period than two (2) years.

Read HJR1006

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HJR1007 - A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to require that constitutional amendments proposed by the General Assembly contain a ballot title that is subject to the same standard of review applied to constitutional amendments initiated by the people of this state.

Read HJR1007

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HJR1008 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to provide that the State Highway Commission shall be governed in the same manner as all other state agencies. 

Read HJR1008

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HJR1009 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning legislative oversight of institutions of higher education and higher education offerings in the state of Arkansas. 

Read HJR1009

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HJR1010 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the funding of public education offered to the citizens of the state of Arkansas. 

Read HJR1010

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HJR1011 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the applicability of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 33, to institutions of higher learning. 

Read HJR1011

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HJR1012 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to revise the method of selection of justices of the Supreme Court.

Read HJR1012

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HJR1013 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution revising the process for submitting proposed measures and constitutional amendments to voters for approval or rejection.

Read HJR1013

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HJR1014 - A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to provide that the rates for sales and use taxes shall be increased only upon voter approval or a two-thirds (2/3) vote of each house of the General Assembly.

Read HJR1014

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HJR1015 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution providing that amendments to the Arkansas Constitution shall not specifically bestow powers, privileges, or authority to specific individuals or private business entities identified by name.

Read HJR1015

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HJR1016 - A constitutional amendment adding as a qualification to vote that a voter present certain valid photographic identification when casting a ballot in person or casting an absentee ballot.


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HJR1017 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to provide additional rights for crime victims and a mechanism for the enforcement of those rights.

Read HJR1017

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HJR1018 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning civil actions and court procedures.

Read HJR1018

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HJR1019 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning awards in civil actions.

Read HJR1019

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HJR1020 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to repeal the fiscal session of the General Assembly and to provide for annual regular sessions of the General Assembly.

Read HJR1020

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HJR1021 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution providing that a monument or statue shall not be placed upon the state Capitol grounds unless at least two hundred thousand (200,000) qualified electors of the state sign a petition in favor of the placement.

Read HJR1021



AGLooking Forward - Potential 2018 Ballot Issues from Citizens

Attorney General Opinions

The Attorney General is responsible for reviewing the language and titles of potential ballot issues submitted to voters by the public. Ballot issue groups can circulate petitions only after the Attorney General verifies that the ballot title and popular name honestly, intelligibly and fairly describe the purpose of a proposed constitutional amendment or act. The following are recent Attorney General opinions regarding potential ballot issues:

Ballot proposals rejected

Jan. 19, 2017 - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution legalizing gambling with the sales and service of open alcoholic beverages as a local ballot measure - A proposal to allow a company to initiate a local election to allow a casino was rejected because of ambiguities in the ballot title and the description of how the amendment would go into effect if approved by voters, according to  Opinion No. 2017-001

This is the fourth time this proposal has been rejected. See Opinion No. 2016-133 (Dec. 27, 2016), Opinion No. 2016-109 (Nov. 7, 2016) and Opinion No. 2016-099 (Oct. 10, 2016). Barry Emigh of Hot Springs submitted the measure. 

Feb. 10, 2017 - Arkansas Cannabis Hemp and Recreational Marijuana Amendment - Four proposals by the same name seeking to legalize the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant and products derived from it were rejected because of conflicting definitions and because the inclusion of federal action goes beyond the scope of the state constitution according to Opinions No. 2017-010, 2017-011, 2017-012, and 2017-014. Mary L. Berry of Summit, Avalon Romane of West Fork, Larry Morris of West Fork and Jason D. Berry of Summit submitted the identical proposals. 

Mary L. Berry's proposal was previously rejected in Opinion No. 2017-006 (Jan. 24, 2017). The proposal is similar to a previous measure submitted under the name Arkansas Cannabis Amendment. That ballot title request was rejected seven times. 


Ballot proposals approved for signature gathering

Oct. 28, 2016 - Arkansas Term Limits Amendment - A proposal to reduce the number of years a state senator or representative can serve in office was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2016-105. The proposal would repeal Amendment 94, which voters passed in 2014 and extended term limits to 16 years for members of the General Assembly. Thomas Steele of Little Rock submitted the October measure.