by Max Brantley
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has certified the Family Council's revised initiated act to ban gay foster parenting and adoption for the ballot. This clears the way for their effort to gather signatures to qualify it for the 2008 ballot.
But not such good news for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. His proposal to legalize a state lottery to support college scholarships was rejected. The opinion cites ambiguities in the text. I suspect Halter will be back with a revise. The opinion said, among others, that the wording could create unintended conflicts with the recently adopted charity bingo amendment. It also said the measure, as written, might leave questions about the various forms of games authorized by a lottery amendment. He had questions, too, about the definition of citizens, a requirement for qualifying for college scholarships, and how accreditation would be determined for qualifying institutions.
UPDATE: Here's a portion of a statement by a spokesman for Halter:
Hope for Arkansas attorneys will further review the attorney general’s comments. Our next submission will continue to seek to clarify that our proposal intends to provide scholarships for Arkansas citizens and our proposal does not attempt to change existing law concerning raffles and bingos. We also look forward to continuing to clarifying that the legislature will be empowered to decide which Arkansas students in Arkansas public and private colleges and universities will be eligible for these scholarships. Finally, our goal will remain to keep this initiative clean, straightforward and easy-to-understand. We hope that the attorney general’s office agrees with us that detouring into definitions and standards not required previously from others would only serve to confuse rather than further enlighten voters.
We would like to thank Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and his office for reviewing our initiative and sharing their concerns. We look forward to adjusting our initiative and will be pleased to resubmit the proposal as many times as needed until the attorney general clears the measure and allows Arkansans the right to decide for themselves next year if our state deserves its own scholarship lottery for Arkansas citizens.