Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency and Financial Reform Amendment, HJR 1009 (2014)

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Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency and Financial Reform Amendment
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Type:Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment
Constitution:Arkansas Constitution
Referred by:Arkansas State Legislature
Topic:Term limits
Status:On the ballot
The Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency and Financial Reform Amendment, HJR 1009 is on the November 4, 2014 election ballot in Arkansas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. If approved, the amendment would permit legislators to serve a total of 16 years in the House or Senate, form a separate, seven-member commission to determine state elected officials' salaries, and establish limits on lobbying efforts by former legislators, as well as campaign donations and gifts from lobbyists. The amendment is sponsored by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-33).[1]

Support

After attempting and failing to get a similar ethics measure on the ballot in 2012, the citizens' group, Regnat Populus, supports the measure. David Couch, co-chairman of Regnat Populus, said, "I think that we'll be able to convince the people of Arkansas that this is the right thing to do."[2] Sponsor Rep. Sabin said of the measure, "If people are educated on its substance, if they aren't persuaded by glib arguments that denigrate public service, if they understand that this is one of the substantive ethics reform proposals that have been before voters in a couple decades, I think they'll want to approve it."[2]

Opposition

Opponents of the bill are against extending term limits to sixteen years. Currently, members of the House can serve up to three two-year terms, while senators can serve up to two four-year terms.[2][3] The group U.S. Term Limits is against the measure and attempted to remove it from the ballot.[4]

Opponents have also pointed out that the amendment contains a loophole for corporate contributions. While the amendment prohibits corporations from donating directly to political candidates, they may still donate to their own PACs, which can count as contributing to a candidate[5]

Path to the ballot

HJR 1009 was initially rejected by the Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments, however it was later approved.[6] 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 23-4 to approve the amendment on April 18, 2013.[7]

The House passed the measure on to the ballot with a vote of 76-3 on April 19, 2013.[2]

Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics Amendment, HJR 1009 Senate vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 23 85%
No415%


Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics Amendment, HJR 1009 House vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 76 96%
No34%

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See also

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