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Kristin HigginsPublic Policy Center Phone: 501-671-2160Fax: 501-671-2046 Email: email@example.com
by Kristin Higgins - April 10, 2019
Arkansas' 2019 legislative session is wrapping up this week, and legislators identified
the last of the three constitutional amendments they're referring to voters on the
The Arkansas Constitution allows legislators to refer up to three amendments to voters
every general election.
Issue numbers haven't been assigned yet to the three measures, so we'll refer to them
in order of when legislators referred them. We will publish our neutral voter guide on these proposed amendments along with any
that come from the citizen-initiated process closer to Election Day 2020.
HJR1018: 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.
Lead Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Wardlaw
Vote: The Senate approved referring HJR1018 to the ballot by a vote of 25 yeas to 7 nays. The House approved referring the constitutional amendment by
a vote of 67 yeas to 30 nays.
The Department of Finance and Administration prepared a Legislative Impact Statement on the proposal, which seeks to continue an existing one-half percent sales tax.
Historical context: Voters in 2012 passed a half-cent sales tax for road construction in the state, for
highways and local roads. Read our 2012 fact sheet on the proposal, which the legislature placed on the ballot. Voters approved the measure,
creating Amendment 91.
SJR15: A Constitutional Amendment to Amend the Term Limits Applicable to Members of the
General Assembly, to be Known as the "Arkansas Term Limits Amendment"
Lead Sponsor: Sen. Alan Clark
Vote: The Senate approved referring SJR15 to the ballot by a vote of 26 yeas to 5 nays. The House approved referring the constitutional amendment by
a vote of 51 yeas to 26 nays.
Watch the sponsor's presentation:
Historical context: Voters in 2014 approved a constitutional amendment involving ethics laws for state
legislators. The amendment also contained a provision extending existing term limits
to 16 years in either the House or the Senate. Opponents of the issue called the provision
sneaky since people might not have known from the ballot title that the state already
had term limits. Voters have voted on the issue of legislative term limits three times
in the past 30 years. For more information about those historical votes, read our
2018 fact sheet on Issue 3 (which was struck from the ballot before Election Day).
HJR1008: A Constitutional Amendment To Amend The Process For The Submission, Challenge, And
Approval Of Proposed Initiated Acts, Constitutional Amendments, And Referenda
Lead Sponsor: Rep. DeAnn Vaught
Vote: The Senate approved referring HJR1008 to the ballot by a vote of 25 yeas to 10 nays.
The House approved referring the constitutional amendment by a vote of 68 yeas to 20 nays.
Historical context: Arkansas is one of 18 states where the state constitution allows citizens to refer their own constitutional amendments
to voters on the general election ballot. For constitutional amendments, ballot issue
groups have to gather signatures from voters equaling 10 percent of the number of
people who voted for governor in the last election. For state laws, they have to collect
signatures equaling 8 percent of the people who voted for governor. Supporters typically
collect more than 90,000 signatures since many are invalidated due to collection errors or people not being registered to vote. Arkansas voters
last approved changes to the petition signature process in 2014. For more information
about that process, read our 2014 fact sheet.