A move for another constitutional amendment starts in House | Arkansas Blog

A move for another constitutional amendment starts in House


The legislature agreed at the outset of this session on rules that limited each chamber to one constitutional amendment to propose to voters. They've been picked: One would  severely limit damage lawsuits with caps on pain and suffering and punitive damages and on legal fees. One would suppress voting by adding a Voter ID requirement to vote.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam now wants to change the agreement, as was anticipated at the outset with a two-thirds vote. He wants to present a third amendment. It would, in short, make it much harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. He got the vote he needed in the House today,  79-4. If the Senate also approves an addition with a two-thirds vote, then the amendment may be considered.

It's a monstrously complicated amendment, with a ballot title that runs for pages. In short, it would make it much harder for the people to initiate and pass a constitutional amendment. It would, for example, require gathering signatures from 10 percent, rather than 8 percent of all voters, as well as 50 percent of voters in 25 counties, to get a citizen amendment on the ballot. And then it would require a 60 percent vote for approval.

It might not eliminate the popular amendment, but it would make it fiendishly and/or expensively difficult.

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