Fayetteville Looking to Meddle With Local Petition Process

According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Fayetteville City Attorney has proposed a change to the city’s code governing local option petitions.

The proposal comes on the heels of a vote last month that repealed the city’s contentious “nondiscrimination” ordinance. Local residents were able to repeal the ordinance because state law and Fayetteville City Code allow voters to circulate petitions calling for a special election to keep or repeal any ordinance passed by the city council.

But now the attorney for the City of Fayetteville is proposing a change to the way that local petition process works.


Arkansas Lottery Earns $12 Per Second, Still Failing

From July 1 through November 30, 2014, the Arkansas Lottery earned an average of $11.86 every second–but the Lottery is still failing.

According to financial reports published on the Arkansas Lottery’s website, the lottery earned roughly $156.8 million in gross revenue during the first five months of its fiscal year that began last July. That’s an average of $1 million every day! However, lottery revenue is still more than $7 million behind budget.

Even more concerning, the Lottery is more than $2.5 million behind in scholarship funding for the year, and appears–once again–to have reduced the percentage of gross revenue paid out for scholarships.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $30,925,067.43 $5,928,447.99 19.2%
August 31,571,412.10 5,296,965.80 16.8%
September 30,710,493.31 4,317,227.10 14.1%
October 32,959,739.29 5,939,625.59 18.0%
November 30,617,278.28 5,577,035.16 18.2%
Total $156,783,990.41 $27,059,301.64 17.3%


Lawmakers Looking to Abolish Lottery Commission

Senator Jimmy Hickey has filed a bill that would abolish the Arkansas Lottery Commission and put the Arkansas Lottery and its director under the authority of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the governor.

The Arkansas Lottery Commission currently operates as an independent state commission with relatively little oversight. Its nine commissioners were appointed by the governor and members of the Arkansas Legislature. Senator Hickey’s proposal would bring the state lottery under the purview of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and it would cause the Arkansas Lottery Director to serve at the pleasure of the governor–just as virtually every other state agency director does.

This bill, presumably, is intended to bring more accountability and stability to the Arkansas Lottery. The Arkansas Lottery Commission set an unusual precedent last year when it voted to approve lottery “monitor games” despite objections from Arkansas’ lawmakers. As some legislators said last spring, the Arkansas Legislature created the Lottery Commission, and the Arkansas Legislature can change it. It seems that may be exactly what some lawmakers intend to do.

We will keep an eye on this bill as it develops at the Arkansas Legislature in the coming days. You can read Senator Hickey’s entire proposal here.