Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution 16 (2013)
|Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution 16 (Act 1085)|
|Legislature:||Arkansas General Assembly|
|Sponsor(s):||Senator Bill Sample (R-14) (D-24)|
|Introduced:||February 13, 2013|
|State house:||April 19, 2013|
|State senate:||April 18, 2013|
|State law:||Laws governing signature requirements|
|Code:||Article 5, Arkansas Constitution|
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. The amendment is sponsored by Sen. Bill Sample (R-14).
The full text of SJR 16 is as follows:
This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
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:
(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.
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.
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."
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. The current version of this measure was also initially rejected by the Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments, however it was later approved. 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.
- Arkansas Ballot Measure Signature Requirements Amendment (2014)
- Changes in 2013 to laws governing ballot measures
- Laws governing ballot measures in Arkansas
- Arkansas House of Representatives
- Arkansas Constitution
- The Republic, "Arkansas lawmakers send proposed amendments on ethics and petition rules to voters," April 19, 2013
- University of Arkansas Public Policy Center,"News & Notes: Arkansas Ballot Issues," April 19, 2013
- Arkansas Legislature website, Arkansas SJR 16 information, accessed January 16, 2014
- Arkansas Legislature website, HB 822 text, accessed January 16, 2014
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Ark. Senate rejects change for ballot issues," April 12, 2013
- Times Record, "Arkansas Legislature: Two Proposed Constitutional Amendments Clear Senate," April 18,2013
- OpenStates.org, "SJR 16 Arkansas Senate Joint Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to Article 5, Section 1, of the Arkansas Constitution Concerning Initiative & Referendum," retrieved on April 23, 2013