Another update follows on the jump of petition gathering for the Regnat Populus 2012 campaign to improve the state's ethics law. The growing unhappiness about the progress of this effort among the bad guys in Arkansas corporate-driven politics is sign enough that the fairly modest measure is a worthy step.
The proposal eliminates direct corporate contributions to political campaigns, imposes a Walmart rule (no freebies of any sort from lobbyists to lawmakers) and puts a two-year cooling-off period on the movement of legislators to the lobby. Simple common sense.
I ran into the amazing Robert Nunn, the kind of volunteer who lifts hope about the future, on Friday. He told me he'd gathered more than 1,100 of the needed 62,000-plus signatures himself. A handful of counties are still short under the rule that requires minimum percentage showings in 15 counties. In or near these counties? Get some signatures. The day to turn in signatures is July 6.
Hot Spring, Newton, Monroe, Lawrence, Arkansas, Columbia, Lafayette, Jackson are still a bit short.
This group had a late start against nearly insurmountable odds. Do you believe in miracles?
Dear Canvassing friends,
AMAZING NEWS: In the last few days we've had a ton of signatures arrive, and after last night's tremendous meeting (over 1600 signatures alone!) we're closer than ever to reaching our minimum in 15 counties! We have reached minimum in these counties: CARROLL, DESHA, FAULKNER, JEFFERSON, PULASKI, PERRY, RANDOLPH, CLAY, and PRAIRIE!!
And I just heard from canvassers in the field that we've claimed the bare minimums in WOODRUFF and LITTLE RIVER, and the signatures will arrive Monday morning—that's 11 counties so far!
Here is what we still need from at least four counties THIS WEEKEND!
HOT SPRING COUNTY still needs 99! We thought we had this one nailed, but it's proving elusive. Malvern is a lovely town. Can you go?
NEWTON COUNTY needs 67. I hear the northern part of the state is less hot than the central areas.
MONROE COUNTY needs 104 Clarendon's a small town of only 2 sq miles, with over 2000 people! And we only need just over 100 to sign.
LAWRENCE COUNTY needs 112 Although the Portia Picnic just finished, they're still in a good mood.
ARKANSAS COUNTY needs 164 Stuttgart and DeWitt are here.
COLUMBIA COUNTY needs 279 — but this weekend is the amazing Purple Hull Pea Festival and Tiller Race in Emerson! Magnolia nearby.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY needs 82 Lewisville and Stamps are here, just a stone's throw from the Tiller Race.
JACKSON COUNTY needs 150 Newport is a lovely town, as is Tuckerman.
**Where can you go??
Don't forget that we need NOT ONLY our minimums, but as many signatures as we can get. It might be hot outside—but so is this initiative!
— 6/28-30 Red, White and Blue Festival in Mountain Home
— 6/29 Freedom Fest in West Memphis
— 6/29-7/1 Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza, Regional Park Pine Bluff
— 6/30 Purple Hull Pea Festival in Emerson. Meet up with the team from Little Rock—Kaitlin, Caleb, Greg, Trey and more!
— 6/30 World Championship Annual Tiller Race in Emerson (and it's pretty awesome)
— 6/30 Farmers Markets Saturday: Little Rock Rivermarket, Hillcrest Little Rock, North Little Rock/Argenta, Fayetteville and lots of other places close to you!
— 6/30 Run for Veterans 7:00am, Veterans Memorial Park, Fayetteville
— 6/30-7/1 Little Rock Gun Show at the State Fairgrounds
— 6/30 Buckin in the Ozarks Rodeo, 6pm Fayetteville
Please mail notarized signatures to Regnat Populus P.O. Box 1087, Little Rock AR, 72203 or come by David Couch's office, 2nd floor of the Prospect Building, 1501 N University Ave, Little Rock, 72207 by Monday, 7/2.
You'll note that we're pushing to get all signatures notarized and in hand by MONDAY. We have ONE more major notarization and turn in date: Monday 7/2 at 8pm at First Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, 800 Scott St (with snacks!). We are requesting that ALL signatures be turned in by Monday, 7/2. (Yes, we do plan to canvass the 4th of July too—we're just concerned that those signatures might not make it back by Friday the 6th...when we turn in to the Secretary of State!) After Monday we'll have a nice email explaining our "cure" strategy for July...but until then...we need four more counties!
We can do this. We can get the "Campaign Finance and Lobbying Act of 2012" on the ballot. We WILL get it on the ballot!
Marie Mainard O'Connell