Defending the lottery | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 6, 2008

Defending the lottery

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 3:55 PM

The pro-lottery campaign has intervened in the lawsuit attempting to remove the amendment from the ballot.

Er, sorry Bud, but I don't think "hypocrisy" is a legal argument. The filing reiterates the argument that only statutes, and not the Constitution, prohibit casino gambling in Arkansas. Should the Supreme Court happen to explicitly agree with this argument in the course of this case, well ....

Here's the pro-lottery brief.

Here's the anti-lottery brief.

NEWS RELEASE

LITTLE ROCK (October 6, 2008) – Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3, the Scholarship Lottery Amendment, was endorsed by more than 120,000 Arkansans and approved for the ballot by the state’s Secretary of State and Attorney General.  The Scholarship Lottery Amendment presents an important public policy choice that Arkansas voters can readily understand and should be allowed to vote upon in November’s general election, the Hope for Arkansas Committee said in a legal brief filed Monday with the Arkansas Supreme Court. 

The brief asks the Supreme Court to dismiss the ballot challenge filed by petitioner Jerry Cox as an “eleventh-hour” attempt to derail the democratic process with a set of loosely constructed arguments that are unfounded and erroneous.  Additionally, the brief points out the hypocrisy employed by Cox and his attorney in a deliberate attempt to confuse Arkansans and to prohibit them from their right to decide the issue at the ballot box.  At times, the Hope for Arkansas brief even quotes word for word the same arguments that Cox and his attorney made in 2004 when they defended the ballot title and popular name of the Marriage Amendment from a court challenge.

“I guess Mr. Cox believes that voters absolutely should be allowed to vote for the Marriage Amendment, which he supported, but absolutely should not be allowed to vote for the Scholarship Lottery Amendment, which he opposes,” Lieutenant Governor Halter said.  “Mr. Cox now asks the court to impose his own judgment upon Arkansans rather than allowing them their own constitutionally guaranteed right to decide for themselves.  Ironically, he does so at the same time he has extolled the virtues of direct democracy on an initiated act that he has placed on the same 2008 ballot.”

“It’s obvious that his campaign to build a significant coalition or to sway public opinion has failed miserably, so now he hopes to exploit our court system to impose his will upon all Arkansans and to subvert their right to vote on the Scholarship Lottery,” added Hope for Arkansas spokesman Bud Jackson.  “Mr. Cox’s actions have made it clear that this court case is also just another attempt for him to garner additional publicity and to continue his efforts to scare people into believing the false alarms he rings about the Scholarship Lottery Amendment.”

Among other points made, the brief directly rebuts unfounded claims made by Cox to confuse voters that the scholarship lottery would allow casino gambling.  The Scholarship Lottery Amendment authorizes the General Assembly to establish, regulate and operate only a "State lottery", while all other lotteries remain prohibited.

“Mr. Cox has repeatedly attempted to confuse and scare voters into believing that the Scholarship Lottery Amendment would magically allow casino gambling,” Jackson said.   “If anything, our ballot title and language have always been clear, and Mr. Cox has been the party deliberately attempting to confuse voters.  The scholarship lottery does not open the door for casinos, it opens a door of new opportunity for thousands of Arkansans who will benefit from millions of dollars in new college scholarships.”

Lieutenant Governor Halter is a member of the Hope for Arkansas Committee, along with John Bailey and Charles Hathaway.  In refuting Cox’s claims of deficiencies in the ballot title and popular name, the Committee’s legal brief included the following points about the Scholarship Lottery Amendment:

·        The popular name and ballot title are not misleading and completely convey the text of the amendment.

·    The amendment “amends” and does not repeal Article19, Section 14 of the Arkansas Constitution, which currently prohibits lotteries.

 ·    Voters know what “state lotteries” are, so the use of this term in the popular name and ballot title is not misleading.

·    The amendment authorizes the General Assembly to establish state lotteries and has no effect on existing laws that prohibit casino gaming.

Hope for Arkansas also questions the timing of the Supreme Court challenge, noting that it comes nearly 11 months after the Arkansas Attorney General approved the language of the Scholarship Lottery Amendment and two months after the Secretary of State certified the initiative as Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 on the General Election ballot.  The challenge also came with only 31 days until the beginning of early voting.  As of today, there are only two weeks until voters begin to cast their ballots.

The Scholarship Lottery Amendment is projected to generate $100 million a year for scholarships and grants for Arkansas citizens enrolled in certified two-year and four colleges and universities in Arkansas.  Tens of thousands of Arkansas residents already play state lotteries in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Tennessee.  Each of these border states uses lottery proceeds for public education programs.

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