A new day dawns for ballot petitions | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A new day dawns for ballot petitions

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 1:47 PM

click to enlarge NOT MY JOB: Leslie Rutledge washes her hands of ballot petition review. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • NOT MY JOB: Leslie Rutledge washes her hands of ballot petition review.
David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer with long experience in ballot initiatives, has received formal notice that the world of people power has changed.

Couch had submitted to the attorney general's office a proposed constitutional amendment to limit the General Assembly to placing one constitutional amendment on the ballot, rather than three. If there is to be special interest mischief from the legislature, the reasoning is that there might at least be less of it.

He's received formal notice from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge that a new state law that took effect March 8 makes his request to her moot. The attorney general no longer issues opinions on the form of ballot measures. Now such measures must be filed with the secretary of state and, once file-marked, petition circulation may begin. The bill also sets out new procedures for review of the ballot title and the like.

Rutledge wanted to be relieved of the duty. She'd thrown up a permanent roadblock to popular amendments until called down by the Supreme Court. She's now shucked the duty.

Couch, who also plans a petition drive to establish a nonpartisan commission to draw legislative and congressional districts every 10 years, acknowledges that the legislature has also made it easier to disqualify petition signatures for even simple honest mistakes (a smudged notary seal, for example).

This could be the last hurrah. Sen. Keith Ingram (State Chamber of Commerce-West Memphis) a foe of the ballot initiative process, has written a proposed constitutional amendment that is a favorite to be among those selected for the November 2020 ballot. It would cripple, if not destroy, popular initiative access to the ballot. The legislature could call all the shots, including outlawing paid canvassers.

The push to kill popular petitions fits neatly with current efforts to neuter the minimum wage increase approved by voters and hamper implementation of medical marijuana legalization in as many ways possible.

Tags: , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation