Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
Kristin Higgins Public Policy CenterPhone: 501-671-2160Email: email@example.com
by Kristin Higgins - March 20, 2023
Two years after they standardized special election dates, Arkansas legislators passed
another state law to further tighten when cities and counties can hold special elections.
Lawmakers said aligning special elections with primaries and general elections will
keep tax burdens low for voters by making it harder for local government to "sneak
things past them."
"Local governments in Arkansas have used special elections held at irregular times
consistently to raise taxes on our citizens. And in many instances this is a deliberate
strategy aimed at keeping turnout low so that the folks who do show up are those with
a vested interest in the passage of that measure," said Rep. David Ray, sponsor of House Bill 1510.
The bill has since been signed into law and is now Act 300. It will apply to any local special election, which typically involve property taxes,
sales taxes, legalizing alcohol sales, and bond issues.
In 2021, Sen. Jason Rapert led changes to state law that created standard dates for
local special elections. Prior to Act 610 of 2021, cities and counties could hold a special election on any Tuesday of a month determined
by city councils and quorum courts. In recent years, many communities have used special
elections to fund building or renovating county jails.
Research from the University of Central Arkansas reflects that between 1981 and 2020, 82%
of local sales tax elections took place during special elections. Another 14% took
place during fall general elections.
"Our combined state and local sales tax in Arkansas is currently 9.47%, which is the
third highest in the entire country. We are never going to get that issue under control
unless we fix our special election problem," Ray said at a March 1 House State Agencies
and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting.
Ray and others criticized a library and a school district for holding a special election
to raise property taxes on Valentine's Day earlier this year. However, Feb. 14 was
a date that fell within the four dates established by the 2021 state law.
"The turnout was 3.8 percent," Ray said about the North Little Rock library tax election.
The proposal, plus the high school millage in the Highland School District, failed
at the polls Feb. 14.
Rep. Nicole Clowney pushed back on assertions that special election dates benefit only the "yes" side
of a local ballot issue.
"My concern is, I’m picking up this thread of not trusting Arkansas voters. Somehow
holding these elections on one of four days that's set out in statute rather than
two days gives us a lot of opportunity to sneak things by the voters," she said during
the March 1 committee meeting, where she voted against the bill.
She said usually people are "very motivated for or against" an issue on a local ballot.
Ray said he thought the new dates would increase voter turnout.
"Voters aren't used to going to the polls in February or in August, " Ray said. "For
most folks, who are just trying to live their lives, work a job or take their kids
to to ball practice or gymnastics. People aren't combing the news to find out if there
is going to be a local option sales tax election in the middle of August when they
have their summer vacation planned."
Currently, state law sets four days for a special election. In a presidential-election year, special elections on local ballot issues must take
place the second Tuesday of March, May, August or November. In non-presidential election
years, special elections are set for the second Tuesday in February, May, August or
Starting Jan. 1, 2024, state law will allow only two dates a year.
Act 300 allows cities and counties to hold an election on a different date in case
of emergency. The law defines an emergency to mean that:
The Public Policy Center has worked with cities and counties over the past decade
on providing voters with fact sheets about special elections. We encourage communities to contact their county extension agent as soon as there
is discussion about an election so the fact sheet can be completed before early voting
starts and in time for any public meetings on the issue.
Interested in our services? Review our criteria and past materials