2018 Ballot Issue Spending Underway
Spending on 2017 statewide ballot measures across the United States is on pace to surpass the total amount of expenditures in 2015. Ballotpedia has tracked approximately $31.25 million in contributions to campaigns involved in the 23 ballot measures certified for the 2017 ballot. The majority of that money is being spent on four citizen measures in Ohio, Maine and New York.
Arkansas doesn't have any ballot measures this year, but Legislative Question Committees are starting to form and raise money on 2018 ballot measures in the Natural State.
In July, Protect AR Families formed to advocate against SJR8, a constitutional amendment referred by the legislature that seeks to establish limits on how much money can be awarded in some types of lawsuits and would give legislators with the authority to set court rules.
As of Aug. 15, Protect AR Families has raised $163,974 for its efforts. A similar group formed in June called Liberty Defense Network. In filings with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, Liberty Defense Network reported raising $109,000 and spending $82,045 of that already on polling data, consulting and a website.
Arkansas' 2016 legislative measures attracted $438,920 in campaign spending, with most of that money spent in support of Issue 3 (An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning Job Creation, Job Expansion, and Economic Development).
It's likely more money will be raised and spent on Arkansas' two ballot measures from the legislature than the three legislative issues in 2016.
More than $2 million was spent on Arkansas' citizen-initiated medical marijuana amendment campaign. That $2 million was part of about $1 billion in contributions to ballot measure campaigns nationwide in 2016, according to Ballotpedia. Citizen initiatives and veto referendums pulled in more than $936 million in contributions in 2016 across the country.
As of August, only one citizen group has approval from the Attorney General to collect signatures for a potential 2018 ballot measure. It involves term limits. The deadline for citizen-led proposals is not until next summer.
Find out what ballot proposals have been rejected in recent weeks in our August ballot issue newsletter.
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