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Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution 16 (2013)

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Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution 16 (Act 1085)
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Legislature:Arkansas General Assembly
Text:HB 822
Sponsor(s):Senator Bill Sample (R-14) (D-24)
Legislative History
Introduced:February 13, 2013
State house:April 19, 2013
State senate:April 18, 2013
Governor:Mike Beebe
Legal Environment
State law:Laws governing signature requirements
Code:Article 5, Arkansas Constitution
Section:Article 5
Back to Arkansas Ballot Measure Signature Requirements Amendment (2014)

Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution 16 on the ballot as the Arkansas Ballot Measure Signature Requirements Amendment is a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the ballot in Arkansas which will be decided in the general election on November 4, 2014. The amendment would require ballot issue groups to collect at least 75% of the valid signatures required in order to receive additional time to gather extra signatures once the petition has been turned in to the Secretary of State. To be placed on the ballot, proposed constitutional amendments need at least 78,133 valid signatures, and proposed initiated measures require at least 62,507.[1] The amendment is sponsored by Sen. Bill Sample (R-14).[2][3]

Full text

The full text of SJR 16 is as follows:

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 5, SECTION 1, OF THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION CONCERNING INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM; AND PROVIDING CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CORRECTION OR AMENDMENT OF INSUFFICIENT STATE-WIDE PETITIONS.
Subtitle


PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 5, SECTION 1, OF THE ARKANSAS CONSTITUTION CONCERNING INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM.


BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE EIGHTY-NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS AND BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, A MAJORITY OF ALL MEMBERS ELECTED TO EACH HOUSE AGREEING THERETO:


THAT the following is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and upon being submitted to the electors of the state for approval or rejection at the next general election for Representatives and Senators, if a majority of the electors voting thereon at the election adopt the amendment, the amendment shall become a part of the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, to wit:

SECTION 1.

The subsection of Article 5, Section 1, of the Arkansas Constitution titled "Amendment of Petition" is amended to read as follows:

Amendment of Petition. (a)(1) If the Secretary of State, county clerk or city clerk, as the case may be, shall decide any petition to be insufficient, he or she shall without delay notify the sponsers sponsors of such petition, and permit at least thirty (30) days from the date of such notification, in the instance of a state-wide petition, or ten (10) days in the instance of a municipal or county petition, for correction or amendment.

(2) For a state-wide petition, correction or amendment of an insufficient petition shall be permitted only if the petition contains valid signatures of legal voters equal to:

(A) At least seventy-five percent (75%) of the number of state-wide signatures of legal voters required; and
(B) At least seventy-five percent (75%) of the required number of signatures of legal voters from each of at least fifteen (15) counties of the state.

(b) In the event of legal proceedings to prevent giving legal effect to any petition upon any grounds, the burden of proof shall be upon the person or persons attacking the validity of the petition.[4][5]

Support

Supporters say this measure is necessary to prevent ballot measure campaigns from submitting false signatures so as to buy time in their attempt to bring their issue before voters. Last year, a high number of invalid signatures were submitted by supporters of casino and severance tax proposals.[1]

Opposition

The measure is opposed by various groups, including the Arkansas American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, the Arkansas AFL-CIO and the Family Council. These groups believe that, if the measure is passed, it will be difficult for citizens to bring issues before voters. Another opponent of the measure, Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-97) said, "This is one area where people can touch government and can affect government and the only reason for this is to make it harder for them to do that."[1]

Path to the ballot

A prior version of SJR 16 originally set the signature threshold at 90%, however this proposal was rejected by the Senate.[6] The current version of this measure was also initially rejected by the Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments, however it was later approved.[7] Section 22, Article 19, of the Arkansas Constitution says that a majority vote is required in both houses of the Arkansas Legislature in order to send a measure to the ballot.

The Senate voted 29-4 to approve the amendment on April 18, 2013.[8]

The House passed the measure on to the ballot with a vote of 65-17 on April 19, 2013.[1]

See also

References