Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
July 3rd, 2018 • News

July 4, 2018

  • In the past few weeks, canvassers have been stopping people on the street asking them to sign petitions for their ballot issues. You may have been approached outside the library, or if you attended any outdoor concerts, festivals or gun shows. Some of them are volunteers, but most of them are paid volunteers working for organizations that want to get their proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.
  • The deadline for turning in signatures is July 6. Even then, we won’t have a clear picture of which measures will make it to the November ballots.
  • First of all, the Secretary of State has to validate the petitions and the signatures. This year, to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot requires the submission of at least 84,859 signatures of registered voters. They must be collected in at least 15 counties.
  • One of the first measures I sponsored after I was elected to the Senate was a measure approved in 2013 that holds paid canvassers to much higher standards than previously. They must register with the state and provide up-to-date addresses, and they must undergo a criminal background check.
  • Signatures are being gathered for several ballot issues. One would limit the terms of elected officials, one would raise the minimum wage in Arkansas, one would expand casino gambling and one would change how legislative districts are drawn.
  • Just getting the proposals onto the ballot is a challenge. Before canvassers could begin collecting signatures, the attorney general had to certify that the ballot titles were accurate. Even if sufficient signatures are validated, there usually are legal challenges to overcome. Especially with casino measures, you can bet that opponents will file a legal challenge with the Supreme Court, requesting the justices to strike the proposal from the ballot.
  • One would limit attorneys’ fees and the amounts that can be awarded in punitive damages in civil lawsuits. The other would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID before they can cast a ballot.
  • I will keep you informed on all developments. Until then, I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Fourth of July with family, friends and loved ones. During all the picnics and the fireworks, please take time to celebrate the birth of our country and the liberties we cherish.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from July 4, 2018