'Major breaking news' | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 21, 2008

'Major breaking news'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 2:56 PM

That's the breathless advisory concerning a coming news conference by Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Let's see.

He paid off his campaign debt?

He's running for U.S. senate as a write-in against Mark Pryor?

He's running as a third-party candidate for president?

Or maybe they've gotten word that he purchased -- through his hired canvassing company -- sufficient signatures to get the state lottery on the ballot in November.  I expect so. I don't know about you, but I've already begun spending my Powerball winnings.

UPDATE: Yes, the secretary of state's office confirms, the lottery has qualified. Easily.

Now the office turns to reviewing signatures on the amendment to make adoption and foster parenting more difficult as a means of punishing gay people. The only question is how far off the required number the acknowledged insufficient total will prove to be. I wonder if the number will be so far off that somebody might finally challenge the essential fraud of claiming you've reached the signature requirement when you have stated for the record, as lead organizer Jerry Cox did, that you have not. By claiming the requirement has been met, you qualify for more time to gather more signatures.

UPDATE II: I confess having a little sarcastic fun at Halter's expense because he's just so deadly serious about all this.  But let me defend him, as I did Mike Huckabee on an earlier occasion when Huckabee was using the platform of his office to promote a ballot initiative. IT'S LEGAL. It's a public policy debate. A constitutional officer has free rein to use his or her office and staff to promote what he or she believes to be worthy public policies. If that means buying lunch at the Sizzler and a tank of gas to get  a staffer up to Lepanto to talk to the citizenry about a lottery, so be it. I earlier defended Huckabee's staff -- one of my rare ethical agreements with him -- for working on his ballot initiatives and spending some relatively piddling amounts in the process. I can do no less for Bill Halter. Spending state money on a partisan race is another matter entirely. You can't do that. Or out-of-state travel on the public's dime for one's own personal political aggrandizement. You shouldn't do that. That's not the case here.


LITTLE ROCK, AR—Secretary Daniels today certified the petitions submitted by Hope for Arkansas allowing the group’s lottery initiative to appear on the statewide ballot in the November 4 general election.  

The proposed constitutional amendment would authorize the General Assembly to establish, operate, and regulate state lotteries to fund scholarships and grants for Arkansas citizens enrolled in certified two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas.  

On June 26, the group submitted petitions with 134,387 signatures to the Secretary of State.  10,426 signatures were culled leaving 123, 961 to verify.  91,149 were determined to belong to Arkansas registered voters.  77,468 valid signatures, or ten percent of the total number of votes cast for Governor in 2006, are required to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2008 ballot. 

One other group, The Family Council Action Committee, submitted petitions to the Secretary of State by the July 7 deadline.   The verification process has begun on their petitions for an initiated act to provide that an individual who is cohabiting outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than eighteen years old.  61,794 valid signatures, or eight percent of the number of votes cast for Governor in 2006, are required for initiated acts to get on the ballot this year. 

The Secretary of State must verify signatures within 30 days of receipt of ballot initiative petitions.

The following three other measures were referred to the voters by the 86th General Assembly to appear on this year’s general election ballot:

Referred Question 1—Arkansas Water, Waste Disposal, and Pollution Abatement Facilities Financing Act of 2007.
Proposed Referred Constitutional Amendment 1—An Amendment Concerning Voting, Qualifications of Voters and Election Officers, and the Time of Holding General Elections.
Proposed Referred Constitutional Amendment 2—An Amendment Providing that No Legislative Appropriation Shall be for a Period Longer than One Year, Providing for Fiscal Legislative Sessions, Requiring the General Assembly to Meet Every Year with Regular Sessions Continuing to be Held in Odd-Numbered Years and Fiscal Sessions Held in Even-Numbered Years, Unless the General Assembly Votes to Hold Regular Sessions in Even-Numbered Years and Fiscal Sessions in Odd-Numbered Years, and Allowing the General Assembly to Consider Non-Fiscal Matters During a Fiscal Session Upon Approval of Two-Thirds of Both Houses.
The full ballot titles of the proposed issues can be found at www.votenaturally.org.


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