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More than $1.3 Million Raised in Court-Related Ballot Issue Campaigns

by Kristin Higgins - November 20, 2017

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More than $1.39 million has been raised by ballot issue campaigns on opposing sides of SJR8 on next year's ballot.
 
According to financial reports filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, supporters have raised $516,000 while opponents have raised $874,315. 
 
SJR8 does not officially have a ballot number assigned to it yet, but it's popular name is: An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules.
 
The 2018 ballot measure seeks to establish a dollar limit for financial damages awarded in certain types of lawsuits, shift authority from the state supreme court to the legislature in setting court rules and procedures, and limit how much attorneys are paid in medical injury lawsuits. Supporters of these types of laws often use the phrase "tort reform" when talking about them.
 
Six ballot issue groups (three in favor and three against) indicated they were raising funds to spend in the campaign, according to filings with the Arkansas Ethics Commission. Some of those groups found themselves on opposing sides in 2014 involving a similar constitutional amendment (Issue 4) that was removed from the ballot just before Election Day. More than $1.7 million was raised by opposing sides of Issue 4. 
 
 
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The Public Policy Center has published nonpartisan fact sheets on Arkansas' statewide ballot issues since 2004. We welcome your questions at publicpolicycenter@uaex.edu. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter