Lottery lawsuit | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lottery lawsuit

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 3:16 PM

The Family Council has filed a lawsuit against the state lottery amendment contending that the ballot title and description are misleading.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter will respond shortly, no doubt by expressing confidence in the legal work of those who drafted the amendment he's pushing.

He might also mention how happy the Family Council was the other day that opponents of the Family Council's initiated act to make it more difficult to adopt had decided not to sue over their mean-spirited initiative. In that case, it was ever so much better for the people to decide the issue, the Family Council said then. In the case of the lottery, not so much.

FAMILY COUNCIL NEWS RELEASE

Jerry Cox, the president of an Arkansas-based education and research group working to defeat the State-run lotteries amendment announced today that the Family Council Action Committee filed a lawsuit petitioning the Arkansas Supreme Court to remove the proposed amendment from the ballot.

Cox said after several weeks of deliberation and consultation with legal experts, the group has decided to file a lawsuit asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to remove the proposed State Lotteries Amendment from the ballot because the amendment is fatally flawed and misleading for not accurately conveying its full effect to Arkansas’ voters.

"The text of this proposed amendment repeals a portion of the Arkansas Constitution, but the popular name and ballot title do not tell the voter this. Since the popular name and ballot title will be all the voter will see at their polling place, voters will not know that this measure repeals a portion of the constitution, and they certainly won’t know that it repeals Arkansas’ constitutional ban on lotteries by allowing the state to operate them."

According to Cox, the amendment is misleading, because it does not define the word "lottery," and inadvertently legalizes casinos in Arkansas.

"Arkansas courts have interpreted Arkansas’ ban on lotteries to ban casinos and other types of gambling as well. This is why we don’t have casinos. Since this amendment allows the state to run lotteries, it allows the state to run casinos as well. The popular name and ballot title, as well as the text, fail to tell voters that this lottery amendment vote also applies to casinos. Proponents of this amendment could have remedied this problem with a simple definition of a lottery or by banning casinos, as was done with the Georgia lottery amendment, but they didn’t.

"Without a definition [of the word "lotteries"], the courts and the Arkansas Legislature can allow, not just traditional lotteries, but any type of gambling and simply call it a lottery."

Cox says he is confident that the Arkansas Supreme Court will rule fairly on this issue, and that his organization looks forward to presenting their arguments in court.


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