UACES Facebook First Legislative Ballot Issues Filed For 2024 Ballot
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First Legislative Ballot Issues Filed For 2024 Ballot

by Kristin Higgins - January 25, 2023

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Rep. David Ray filed the first bill proposing a constitutional amendment to voters on the 2024 ballot. His amendment, HJR1001, would undo parts of a 2014 constitutional amendment voters approved that involved changes to ethics rules and gifts from lobbyists, among other things.

Arkansas lawmakers have until Feb. 8 to submit proposals for debate and review by House and Senate committees.

Ray's 2024 proposal would abolish the commission responsible for reviewing salaries for elected state officials and put the decision back on the legislative floor, where lawmakers would have to propose and vote on changing their salaries. Prior to 2014, legislators were responsible for setting their salaries along with the salaries of constitutional offices, state courts and prosecuting attorneys.
Voters approved Amendment 94 by a vote of 428,206 (52.43%) in favor to 388,459 (47.57%) opposed. One of its five provisions created the seven-member Independent Citizens Commission. The governor, Senate and House leaders, and the Supreme Court are responsible for appointing the members, who are eligible to serve up to eight years.
In his Twitter feed, Ray announced he planned to file the amendment. He said the original amendment was "designed to deceive the voters by cramming 5 unrelated provisions together and calling them "ethics,"' and that the provision was intended to increase legislative pay without legislators having to vote on it. Often mentioned is how one of the original sponsors, former Sen. Jon Woods, is in prison serving an 18-year sentence for conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, and money laundering.
Supporters at the time of the 2014 vote said creating the commission would remove salaries from the political process. A decade later, advocates of the current process said it keeps salaries timely for judges and future lawmakers and is preferable to legislators setting their own pay. Regardless of one of the original sponsors.
The commission's meeting agendas, minutes and proposals are available online at They meet next on Feb. 3.
By Wednesday afternoon, the Senate side had its first proposal filed. Sen. Bryan King filed SJR1, which would create a nine-member commission responsible for setting the boundaries of state legislative districts. Such districts are reconfigured after every federal Census, the last of which took place in 2020. Currently, redistricting done by the governor, secretary of state and attorney general as the Board of Apportionment.

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