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Legislators Submit Proposals for 2020 Arkansas Ballot

by Kristin Higgins - February 18, 2019

 Ballot Issue News GraphicArkansas legislators submitted 44 proposed constitutional amendments for the 2020 ballot. Many of the amendments focus on the process for putting citizen-initiated amendments and state laws on the ballot, term limits, highway funding, and laws related to lawsuit damages.

You can find the list of bills below. The Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs is scheduled to start discussing its proposals at 7 a.m. tomorrow (Feb. 21).

Over the next few weeks, House and Senate committees will narrow down the proposals. The Arkansas Constitution allows legislators to refer up to three amendments at a time to voters.

Legislators anticipate referring a sales tax related to the governor's highway funding proposal as one of the three ballot measures. Citizens can also gather voter signatures to put a measure on the Arkansas ballot. This typically happens closer to Election Day.

Arkansas' 1874 Constitution currently has 100 amendments, the latest of which was approved by voters in November 2018 allowing casino gaming in the state.

In addition to constitutional amendments, two legislators filed a pair of bills that would change who certifies an initiated act or amendment for the ballot. Companion bills House Bill 1489 and Senate Bill 346 would eliminate the requirement for the Attorney General to certify the ballot title.
 
Instead, a ballot issue group would submit the title to the Secretary of State's Office. The group could then collect voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Only after signatures are gathered and turned in to the Secretary of State's Office for verification would the ballot title be reviewed by the State Board of Election Commissioners. The commissioners would be responsible for certifying the ballot title.
 
The bills would also make petition fraud a felony instead of a misdemeanor. The House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs approved House Bill 1489 on Wednesday morning, meaning it should appear on the House agenda on Friday.

 

Proposed Amendments Filed by the Arkansas Legislature for the 2020 Ballot


Ballot Initiative Process

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor Companion Bill Companion Sponsor
SJR4
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning the Requirements Governing Circulation, Submission, and Challenges to the Sufficiency of Initiated Measures Proposed Under Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 1, and Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the General Assembly
Keith Ingram HJR1203 Jon Eubanks
SJR5
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning the Process for Circulating, Submitting, and Challenging the Sufficiency of Initiated Measures under Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 1, and Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the General Assembly
Keith Ingram HJR1024 Jon Eubanks
SJR6
A Constitutional Amendment Prohibiting Future Ballot Initiatives from Specifically Referencing Counties or Cities by Name if the Intent of the Reference is to Grant Those Counties or Cities Powers, Privileges, Opportunities, or Benefits that are not Available to All Other Counties or Cities, As the Case May Be
Breanne Davis N/A N/A
SJR9
A Constitutional Amendment To Revise the Process for Submitting Initiatives, Referenda, and Constitutional Amendments to the Voters for Approval
Mark Johnson N/A N/A
SJR10
A Constitutional Amendment To Amend The Process For The Submission, Challenge, And Approval Of Proposed Initiated Acts, Constitutional Amendments, And Referenda
Mathew Pitsch HJR1008 DeAnn Vaught
HJR1015
Shell Bill - The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the process for referring measures to the voters for approval
Jeff Wardlaw N/A N/A
HJR1027
Shell Bill - The purpose of this joint resolution is to amend the Arkansas Constitution concerning initiated acts and constitutional amendments referred to the voters for approval
Jim Dotson N/A N/A 

 
Term Limits

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor Companion Bill Companion Sponsor
SJR11
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning term limits for members of the General Assembly
Will Bond N/A N/A 
SJR15*
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Addressing Arkansas Term Limits by Reducing Term Limits for Members of the General Assembly, Establishing Term Limits for Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, Circuit Judges, and District Judges, and Providing that Future Revisions to Term Limits for the General Assembly and the Judiciary Be Proposed by the General Assembly
Alan Clark HJR1020* Jim Dotson
SJR16
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to amend Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 73, concerning term limits for members of the General Assembly
Alan Clark N/A N/A 
HJR1012
A Constitutional Amendment to Provide that a Person Shall Not Serve More Than Twelve (12) Years as a Member of the House of Representatives and Not More Than Twelve (12) Years as a Member of the Senate, but Shall In No Event Serve More Than Sixteen (16) Years as a Member of the General Assembly
DeAnn Vaught N/A N/A 
HJR1017
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning term limits for members of the House of Representatives and Senate
Jeff Wardlaw N/A  N/A 
HJR1026*
A Constitutional Amendment to be known as the "Arkansas Term Limits Amendment" to Provide that a Member of the House Of Representatives Shall Serve No More Than Four (4) Consecutive Two Year Terms and a Member of the Senate Shall Serve No More Than Two (2) Consecutive Four-Year Terms Unless Certain Conditions Apply and to Provide that Future Revisions to Term Limits for the General Assembly Be Proposed by the General Assembly"
Jim Dotson N/A N/A 
HJR1028
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to amend Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 73, concerning term limits for members of the House of Representatives and the Senate
Jim Dotson N/A 


N/A
 

*Proposal would prohibit future citizen-initiated amendments and would only allow the legislature to change term limits. 

 

Highway Funding

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor Companion Bill Companion Sponsor
SJR12
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the operation of Arkansas highways, including without limitation the funding for Arkansas highways and the powers and duties of the State Highway Commission
Breanne Davis N/A N/A
SJR14
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Continuing a One-Half Percent (0.5%) Sales and Use Tax for State Highways and Bridges; County Roads, Bridges and Other Surface Transportation; and City Streets, Bridges, and Other Surface Transportation After the Retirement of the Bonds Authorized in Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 91
Lance Eads HJR1018 Jeff Wardlaw
HJR1004
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning Arkansas highways, including without limitation the funding and administration of Arkansas highways
Andy Davis N/A N/A
HJR1014
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the funding for Arkansas highway construction and improvements
Jeff Wardlaw N/A N/A

 

Lawsuit Damages

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor Companion Bill Companion Sponsor
SJR8
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Providing that the General Assembly May Enact Laws Limiting the Amount of Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages that May Be Awarded in Actions for Injuries Resulting in Death or for Injuries to Persons or Property
Bart Hester N/A N/A
SJR17
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Providing that the General Assembly May Enact Laws Limiting the Amount of Punitive Damages that May Be Awarded in Actions for Injuries Resulting in Death or for Injuries to Persons or Property

Gary Stubblefield HJR1022 Sarah Capp


Election Process

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor
HJR1001
A Constitutional Amendment Requiring the General Assembly to Establish by Law an Election Process in which Candidates at a Primary Election, Special Primary Election, or Election for Nonpartisan Office Appear on a Single Ballot Regardless of Political Party Affiliation and the Top Two (2) Candidates Advance to the General Election or Special Election; and Requiring the General Assembly to Establish by Law a Process Based on Party Affiliation for Selecting Delegates to Attend a Quadrennial National Nominating Convention of a Political Party to Select a Nominee for the Office of President of the United States and a Process for Choosing and Electing Electors for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States
Dan Douglas
HJR1006
A Constitutional Amendment Providing that Supreme Court Justices, Court of Appeals Judges, Circuit Judges, and District Judges Shall Be Elected on a Partisan Basis
Robin Lundstrum
HJR1011
Shell Bill:  The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the nomination and election of political party candidates
Aaron Pilkington
HJR1021


A Constitutional Amendment to Establish a Process for the Removal of Certain Constitutional Officers

Grant Hodges


Legislative Sessions

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor
SJR1
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to Reduce the Number of Days the General Assembly is in Session by Repealing the Fiscal Session of the General Assembly and Providing that an Appropriation by the General Assembly Not Be For a Longer Period than Two (2) Years
Jim Hendren
SJR7
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Providing for Annual Regular Sessions of the General Assembly Not to Exceed Thirty (30) Days in Duration Unless Extended to No Longer than Sixty (60) Days and Authorizing the General Assembly to Convene Itself in Special Session to Consider Specific Issues
Trent Garner
HJR1002
An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to Abolish the Fiscal Session of the General Assembly and to Provide that the General Assembly Meet Every Two (2) Years Unless Convened by the Governor for an Extraordinary Session
Dan Douglas
HJR1013
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the fiscal session of the General Assembly 
Jeff Wardlaw
HJR1029
A Constitutional Amendment to Require that the General Assembly Meet Each Year in a Regular Session and to Repeal the Fiscal Session of the General Assembly
Jim Sorvillo


Sovereign Immunity 

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor

SJR2

A Constitutional Amendment Providing that the State of Arkansas Shall Never Be Made a Defendant in Any of Her Courts Unless Otherwise Provided by Law
David Wallace
HJR1016
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the immunity of the state from suit under Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 20
Jeff Wardlaw


Other Issues

Bill Amendment's Popular Name Lead Sponsor
SJR13
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to amend the Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment of 2018
Mark Johnson
HJR1005
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the duties of the Commissioner of State Lands, Auditor of State, and Lieutenant Governor and to reduce the number of state constitutional officers
Aaron Pilkington

HJR1007

A Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
Vivian Flowers
HJR1009
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the authority of the General Assembly to reduce or eliminate the taxation of personal property
Stephen Meeks
HJR1010
A Constitutional Amendment Concerning the State Highway Commission and Amending the Membership, Powers, and Duties of the State Highway Commission
Jim Dotson
HJR1019
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to propose an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to phase in the property tax increase on a property after it is redeveloped
Andy Davis
HJR1025
Shell Bill: The purpose of this joint resolution is to amend the Arkansas Constitution concerning the residency requirements for circuit court judges
Mary Bentley

 

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