by Max Brantley
William El-Amin, Chair of Arkansas Citizens First Congress, said "The problem with Issue 1 is that no one has explained it to people and the ballot title is confusing to a lot of voters. It's not obvious from reading it that it's just a political power grab that's going to weaken protections that Arkansas families depend on. When voters understand Issue 1, they overwhelmingly reject it."
￼"Voters did not like learning that Issue 1 inserts politics over the expertise of state officials responsible for protecting our health, safety and pocket books. They did not like learning that it increases the influence of special interest lobbyists in our government," added El Amin. "We have a government of checks and balances dating back to our founding and the legislature tinkering with that now is very dangerous."
Issue 1, the proposed amendment to establish a legislative oversight committee to review and approve administrative rules promulgated by state agencies, is favored by 45% of voters, with 32% saying they will definitely vote for the measure, and 15% saying they will probably vote for it. 35% of voters say they will vote against the measure, 23% definitely and 12% probably. 19% are undecided.
Respondents were then read the following statement and question: “If this amendment passes it would give the legislature powers that have traditionally been in the executive branch, altering the balance of power to favor the legislature over the governor and state agencies, and allowing a small number of legislators to block implementation of rules and regulations developed by professional agency staff. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for this amendment, or does it make no difference?” 43% said it would make them less likely to vote for the amendment, 35% said it would make no difference, and 10% said it would make them more likely to vote for the amendment. 12% either said they didn’t believe the statement or were undecided.
Next respondents were read: “This amendment would take away rule making authority from agency staff and commissioners, who are subject matter experts, and give it to legislators who are influenced by politics. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for this amendment, or does it make no difference?” Similarly, 43% said this would make them less likely to vote for the amendment, 38% said it would make no difference, and 10% said it would make them more likely to vote for the amendment. 9% either said they didn’t believe the statement or were undecided.