Before any initiative or referendum petition ordering a vote upon any amendment or act shall be circulated for obtaining signatures of petitioners, the sponsors shall submit the original draft to the Attorney General, with a proposed legislative or ballot title and popular name.
(b) Within ten (10) days, the Attorney General shall approve and certify or shall substitute and certify a more suitable and correct ballot title and popular name for each amendment or act. The ballot title so submitted or supplied by the Attorney General shall briefly and concisely state the purpose of the proposed measure.
(c) If, as a result of his or her review of the ballot title and popular name of a proposed initiated act or a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, the Attorney General determines that the ballot title, or the nature of the issue, is presented in such manner that the ballot title would be misleading or designed in such manner that a vote "FOR" the issue would be a vote against the matter or viewpoint that the voter believes himself or herself casting a vote for, or, conversely, that a vote "AGAINST" an issue would be a vote for a viewpoint that the voter is against, the Attorney General may reject the entire ballot title, popular name, and petition and state his or her reasons therefor and instruct the petitioners to redesign the proposed measure and the ballot title and popular name in a manner that would not be misleading.
(d) If the Attorney General refuses to act or if the sponsors feel aggrieved at the Attorney General's acts in such premises, the sponsors may, by petition, apply to the Supreme Court for proper relief.
First, there is no basis for quashing the subpoena of any witness based upon a contention by the subpoenaed party that the information desired from that witness testimony is not relevant. It is an elementary principle of law that relevancy of evidence is determined based on the subject matter of litigation and the specific inquiry directed to that witness. The subject matter of this litigation is defined by the pleadings before the Court. However the Court does not know—and the Attorney General does not assert—any knowledge as to what question or questions are to be directed to her. As such, the Court has no factual basis upon which to rule that any question is not relevant. That is a decision that the Court must make after the witness is sworn and questions are propounded. ..."It is not unprecedented for attorney generals, governors, etc. to testify in hearings or trials," said attorney Alex Gray, who represents both plaintiffs. "In some of the redistricting cases, Mike Beebe, Dustin McDaniel, Mark Martin, they all had to testify. So this certainly is not unprecedented. As Judge Griffen's order clearly sets forth, the attorney general's office did not act in good faith. They refused to meet and try to resolve the subpoena, they refused to provide any alternate witnesses. They just kind of dug their heels in."
Concerning the assertion of a "deliberative process" privilege, the Arkansas Rules of Evidence contain no such privilege. The Court has found no such privilege in Arkansas statutes. The Attorney General does not cite to any Arkansas statute that conveys such privilege. ...
Finally, the Attorney General's reliance on the Apex Witness Rule must also be overruled. According to that argument, before the Court can compel the testimony of the high ranking governmental officer, the petitioner must demonstrate both that the governmental official possesses superior or unique information relevant to issues being litigated and that the information cannot be obtained by a less intrusive method, such as obtaining testimony of lower ranking employees. The Attorney General of Arkansas is according to the explicit provisions of the Constitution of Arkansas-vested with a nondelegable duty to certify proposed ballot initiatives before they can be submitted to the voters for decision. The Attorney General does not dispute that authority. Indeed, it would appear unlikely that the Attorney General could delegate that authority consistent with her duties. As such, the Court finds that there is no lower ranking employee whose testimony would be relevant concerning questions regarding ballot decisions for the purposes of.the Apex Witness Rule.