Casino and lawsuit limit amendments still moving forward; outlook poor for restoring term limits | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Casino and lawsuit limit amendments still moving forward; outlook poor for restoring term limits

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 12:09 PM

Speaking of ballot measures, several are in the works for petition submission by Friday's deadline:

* CASINOS: Robert Coon of Impact Management, working for a group hoping to legalize three casinos in Arkansas, says it expects to turn in its petitions tomorrow.

We’re on track to turn in the required number of signatures by Friday. We’ll see how the validation process goes. We’re ready to move forward in the cure period if necessary.
This is the constitutional amendment backed by investors from Missouri who would control casinos in Boone, Washington and Miller counties if the measure was approved. They've said the Cherokee Nation, which operates casinos in Oklahoma, would operate the casino in Fayetteville Washington County if approved.

* TERM LIMITS: A drive to restore term limits to the shorter terms altered by a legislature-driven amendment apparently won't make the ballot. A spokesman for Restore Term Limits said volunteers were still gathering signatures, but they weren't likely to meet the minimums necessary to qualify for 30 more days. Restore Term Limits was set back when a paid canvassing company said it couldn't use its canvassers to gather signature for term limits as well as some other measures.

* LAWSUIT LIMITS: The nursing home lobby is circulating an amendment to cap non-economic damages in lawsuits to $250,000 and also cap attorney fees. No word yet on their ballot progress, but nursing homes put more than $300,000 into the campaign upfront, enough to pay for the canvassing necessary to get signatures. They are expected at the secretary of state's office by tomorrow. Lawsuits such as the one that produced a $5 million jury verdict and a bribery indictment in Faulkner County wouldn't be seen again. The nursing homes says making it all but impossible to sue them no matter how negligent and painful their care will "improve access" to health care.

All these are constitutional amendments. They require signatures by 84,859 registered voters, including a sufficient number from 15 counties.  Also, to qualify for more time, petitioners must gather at least 75 percent of the required number in valid signatures, as determined by the secretary of state's initial check.

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