Ballot Committees Vying to Pass Constitutional Amendments in Arkansas

With only a year until the 2024 elections, ballot committees are vying to place proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot in Arkansas.

For example, the group Restore Election Integrity Arkansas recently filed paperwork indicating it will work for an amendment requiring elections to use secure paper ballots.

Arkansas Citizens for Truth, Justice, and the American Way likewise has announced it plans to work for passage of five constitutional amendments: one repealing the state sales tax on used cars; another lowering the state sales tax on new vehicles; a third amendment abolishing property tax for individuals over age 65; an amendment to strengthen Arkansas’ Freedom of Information Act; and an amendment “to concern casinos in Arkansas.”

The group notes that these amendments would be for the 2026 election cycle.

The organization Arkansans for World Class Education continues raising funds in the state, according to reports filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The group worked unsuccessfully to place the “Public Schools Amendment of 2022” on the ballot last year. Among other things, that proposed amendment would have removed the provision in the Arkansas Constitution that lets the legislature make laws concerning the State Board of Education.

The committee Arkansans for Cannabis Reform signaled last year that it might try to place a marijuana amendment on the 2024 ballot, but has reported no activity since then. In 2020 the group unsuccessfully worked to place a recreational marijuana amendment on the ballot.

Although no official ballot committee has formed yet, it is possible the abortion industry will attempt to use Arkansas’ petition process to place an abortion amendment on the ballot in 2024.

Late last year, pro-abortion groups released statements to the media listing Arkansas as one of the places where they would like to pass an abortion amendment.

In January our team intercepted a political poll asking voters in Arkansas a series of questions about campaign messaging for an abortion amendment. 

For example, some of the poll questions were along the lines of, “Does the statement, ‘This amendment safeguards reproductive freedom’ make you more likely or less likely to vote for the amendment?”

More than one national pro-life  leader has told us that they have heard rumors about pro-abortion petition drives kicking off in Arkansas ahead of 2024 as well.

If that happens, the next 12 months could be a critical time for the pro-life movement in Arkansas.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Arkansas Voters Pass Issues 1 and 2, Reject Issue 3

The Associated Press reports that voters in Arkansas passed Issue 1 continuing the one-half percent sales and use tax and Issue 2 amending term limits in Arkansas; voters rejected Issue 3 amending the rules governing ballot initiatives and referred measures.

Below is an overview of each ballot issue from Family Council’s 2020 Arkansas Voter’s Guide.

PASSED: Issue 1, Continuing a One-Half Percent Sales and Use Tax For the State’s Highway System, County Roads, and City Streets

Issue 1 is a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. In 2019 the Arkansas Legislature referred Issue 1 to the people for a vote. If passed it will continue the one-half percent sales and use tax that is set to expire in 2023. This proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution makes the one-half percent sales and use tax permanent. The tax revenue generated would be used for state, county, and city roads, streets, highways, bridges, and other surface transportation. The sales tax does not apply to food and food ingredients. The tax revenue shall be distributed to the State Highway and Transportation Department Fund, the County Aid Fund, and the Municipal Aid Fund.

PASSED: Issue 2, Legislative Term Limits

Issue 2 is a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution changing term limits for state legislators. In 2019 the Arkansas Legislature referred Issue 2 to the people for a vote. Issue 2 creates the “Arkansas Term Limits Amendment” and amends the term limits applicable to state legislators. Currently state legislators can serve up to sixteen years in a lifetime. Issue 2 would limit state legislators elected after 2021 to serve no more than twelve consecutive years. However, they would then be eligible for election to the state legislature after four years out of office from their last elected term.

DEFEATED: Issue 3, Changing the Citizen Initiative and Legislative Referral Process

Issue 3 is a proposed constitutional amendment changing the process of citizen initiatives and measures referred out by the state legislature. In 2019 the Arkansas Legislature referred Issue 3 to the people for a vote. Issue 3 amends the process for the submission, challenge, and approval of proposed initiated acts, constitutional amendments, and referenda. If passed this constitutional amendment would require that a petition contain valid signatures equaling at least half of the required percentage of signatures from each of 45 counties compared to the current 15 county requirement. Issue 3 also requires a three-fifths vote of both chambers of the legislature in order for them to refer a proposed constitutional amendment to the voters. Issue 3 eliminates the option for petitioners to collect extra signatures for 30 days if the petition fails to meet the signature requirements, requires challenges to the sufficiency of any ballot measure to be filed no later than April 15 of the election year, and requires signatures for citizen initiative petitions to be submitted to the Arkansas Secretary of State by January 15 of the election year.