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.

Five Reasons Casino Expansions are a Bad Bet for Arkansas

On Friday, we told you about an effort underway by a Texas businessman to amend the Arkansas Constitution to allow him to open casinos in seven Arkansas counties. As we said then, Family Council opposes that amendment; casinos add social and economic stress to families and communities. Today, I want to briefly outline 5 ways in which expanding Arkansas’ casinos is a bad idea.