Friday, October 14, 2016

Spending reported in ballot races

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Reports are coning in to the state Ethics Commission today on money being raised and spent by committees promoting and opposing ballot issues in the Nov. 8 election.

* MARIJUANA: Arkansans Against Legal Marijuana added $47,200 in contributions in the last month including $10,000 each from the Arkansas Farm Bureau, Gov. Asa Hutchinson's PAC, the Arkansas Hearts Hospital and Stephens Investments Holdings. Also $5,000 from the Arkansas Hospital Association. The group spent $6,000 on a political consultant, Gilmore Strategies, and still has $42,000 on hand. It has a fight ahead against at least one and perhaps two medical marijuana measures.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the group promoting non-profit dispensation of medical marijuana, raised only $117 in the last month and reports being more than $11,000 in the hole. It is still awaiting an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling on whether its signatures were sufficient to qualify for the ballot.

Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, which is pushing for-profit dispensation of medical marijuana, has no new report on file. Through Sept. 15, it had raised and spent about $885,000.

* CASINOS: No new filing yet from Arkansas Wins, the committee of Missouri investors backed by the Cherokee Nation that had hoped to legalize three more casinos in the state. The Supreme Court has knocked the measure off the ballot. It had already been spending heavily on advertising. It had spent $1.5 million through Sept. 20.

The Stop Casinos Now group, which successfully fought the amendment in court, also hasn't filed a new report since an initial filing showed that $100,000 of $109,000 raised came from the two existing legal casinos in Arkansas at Oaklawn and Southland Parks. It has incurred legal fees since and also has been advertising.

* TORT REFORM: No new reports yet from the Arkansas Healthcare Association, the nursing home lobby, which had already raised $580,000 and spent $250,000 to get an amendment on the ballot to limit damage awards in lawsuits against nursing homes. The Supreme Court has thrown that measure off the ballot.

Also nothing new yet from the Committee to Protect Arkansas Families, formed to defeat the amendment. Through Sept. 15, it had raised about $830,000 and spent about $118,000.

Fairness for Arkansas, formed to oppose the amendment, reported $100 on hand.

The Arkansas Medical Society and the Arkansas Hospital Association both filed papers this month to support the tort reform effort, but reported no money raising or spending.

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