UACES Facebook Facts about Arkansas Ballot Issue 1 | 2018 Arkansas Ballot Issues

Issue 1 - An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules 

Issue 1 Fact Sheet

Issue 1 has been struck from the ballot. Votes will not be counted.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Oct. 18 that the proposals included in Issue 1 were not all related to each other, as required by the state constitution. The court ruled that votes for or against the Issue will not be counted. Read the court opinion.

Know before you vote

On Election Day, you will see only the popular name and title of each proposal. Want to see the rest of it? Here's a link to the complete text of Issue 1

Watch our specialists explain Issue 1 in the video below.


What's being proposed?

This amendment asks voters to approve changes to four parts of Arkansas Constitution. Issue 1 proposes:

To add a section regarding contingency fees to Article 7 (Judicial Department). This section would:

  • Prohibit attorneys from collecting a contingency fee that is more than 1/3 of the net amount of money a client receives in a civil lawsuit.
  • Require the state legislature in 2019 to pass laws implementing the section, which would also include establishing penalties for collecting fees higher than allowed and defining terms such as “net amount of recovery.”

To make changes to Section 32 (Workmen’s Compensation Laws – Actions for Personal Injuries). This section would:

  • Define the terms “non-economic damages” and “punitive damages.”
  • Establish a maximum amount of money a person receives as punitive damages in a lawsuit related to injuries resulting in death, or injuries to person or property. The maximum amount would be the greater of $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages awarded.
  • Establish a $500,000 maximum limit that an injured person or his/her beneficiaries combined can receive as non-economic damages in a lawsuit related to injuries resulting in death, or injuries to person or property.
  • Give legislators the authority to increase maximum amounts for non-economic and punitive damages in the future with 2/3 vote.
  • Require the state legislature in 2019 to pass laws creating a procedure to adjust the limits in future years for inflation or deflation.

To change Section 3 (Rules of Pleading, Practice, and Procedure) of Amendment 80 (Qualifications of Justice and Judges). This section would:

  • Allow the state legislature to pass laws amending or repealing a rule of pleading, practice, or procedure established by the Supreme Court with a vote of 3/5 of each house.
  • Allow the state legislature to pass laws creating a rule of pleading, practice or procedure with a vote of 3/5 of each house.

To change Section 9 (Annulment of Amendment of Rules) of Amendment 80 (Qualifications of Justice and Judges). Specifically, this section would:

  • Lower the number of votes needed by state legislators from 2/3 to 3/5 to abolish or change rules established by the Supreme Court related to Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, District Courts and “referees, masters and magistrates.”

How did Issue 1 get on the ballot?

Arkansas senators and representatives voted last year to put Issue 1 on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot for voters to decide.

How was Issue 1 "removed" from the ballot?

On July 12, 2018, a lawsuit was filed in an attempt to remove Issue 1 from the November ballot. You can read the lawsuit here. The Pulaski County Circuit Court judge ruled that the multiple proposals included in Issue 1 were not related to each other, as required by the Arkansas Constitution. 

The judge's decision was appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which on Oct. 18 ruled that votes would not be counted.

Because the ruling came after ballots have been printed and voting machines have been programmed, you may still see Issue 1 physically appear on your ballot. However, votes cast for or against will not be counted. 

Who is supporting or opposing this measure?

Supporters and opponents that spend money to campaign on this issue are required to register with the Arkansas Ethics Commission as a ballot or legislative question committee. Visit the Commission's website to view these filings, which include names of people behind a group and how much money has been raised or spent. 

Multiple groups have filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to financially support or oppose Issue 1. These groups include:

Support

Oppose

 Arkansas Trucking Association

 Defending Your Day in Court

 Arkansas Medical Society

 Protect AR Families

 Arkansans for Jobs and Justice

 Liberty Defense Network

 Pulaski County Medical Society

 Family Council Action Committee

 Arkansas Health Care Association

 Indivisible Little Rock and Central Arkansas LQC

 Arkansas Hospital Association

 

Arkansas Forest and Paper Council