Rutledge rejects first try at casino amendment form | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rutledge rejects first try at casino amendment form

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 4:57 PM

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected the form of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow three casinos in Arkansas and use some of the tax revenue for highways.

The proposal was unveiled earlier this month, with the backing of a lobbyist, a law firm including a former and current legislator and an Indian tribe, though no financial details have been disclosed. The amendment will be hotly opposed by powerful special interests at existing casinos at the two racetracks as well as the religious lobby. Even considering that, the attorney general's office tends to be stingy with quick approval of ballot titles.

Here's the attorney general's opinion. It went to the Driving Arkansas Forward committee. It concerns the popular name, the Arkansas Casino Gaming and Highway Funding Amendment, and the more detailed ballot title.

Said the opinion:

In my opinion, there may be some question whether the words �Highway Funding Amendment� in your proposed popular name fairly represent that feature of the proposed constitutional amendment. I cannot confidently predict whether the Court would say this language in the popular name is fatally misleading. But I believe it may overstate that feature of the measure and expose the popular name to the argument that it tends to mislead voters or give them only the impression the proponents wish to convey.

With regard to your proposed ballot title, it is my opinion, based on the above guidelines established by the Court, that a number of additions or changes are necessary in order to more fully and correctly summarize your proposal. I cannot, however, at this time, fairly or completely summarize the effect of your proposed measure to the electorate in a popular name or ballot title without the resolution of some ambiguities in the text of the measure itself. And thus I cannot determine precisely what changes to the ballot title are necessary to fully and correctly summarize your proposal. It is therefore not appropriate, in my opinion, for me to try to substitute and certify a more suitable and correct popular name and ballot title pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. � 7-9-107(b).  

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