Together with State Sen. Bryan King, the League of Women Voters of Arkansas has filed a lawsuit challenging Act 236 recently passed by the Arkansas General Assembly that impairs the rights of Arkansans to the initiative and referendum process.
The Arkansas General Assembly voted to pass legislation that is clearly intended to dismantle direct democracy in Arkansas, the suit claims. The law, which was passed with an emergency clause, will change the initiative process by increasing over 300 percent the number of counties in which signatures must be collected. This legislation is clearly intended to dismantle direct democracy in Arkansas, the suit claims.
In the past two election cycles the General Assembly referred similar measures, but voters overwhelmingly rejected the legislature’s attempted changes at the ballot box.
“Their last two attempts failed miserably so now they’re trying a different tactic – they’re trying to amend our constitution through a bill which does not require a vote of the people, and this is clearly unconstitutional,” said Arkansas League President Bonnie Miller. “The new law will make ballot measures so expensive that only out-of-state special interests will be able to afford the cost to collect signatures.”
Sen. King, a Republican, said he agrees.
“This law was not passed in the best interest of Arkansans, and it will hamper the grassroots efforts of Arkansans to propose their own laws and to hold the General Assembly accountable. We should not diminish the power of our citizens. Let the people have their voices heard.”
Veteran ballot measure attorney David Couch is representing the League and Sen. King in the lawsuit.
“The people reserved to themselves in the constitution the power to propose laws and amendments to the constitution, and to reject laws enacted by the General Assembly,” he said. “The politicians are afraid of the power given to the people and are doing everything that they can to limit and stop the people from exercising their rights guaranteed by the constitution.”
The suit filed in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County alleges that the new law is unconstitutional based on the grounds that it conflicts with the express conditions set forth in the Initiative and Referendum Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution.
For questions or additional comments, please contact Bonnie Miller, President of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas by email at email@example.com.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.