LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Another bill up for discussion could make getting initiatives on the ballot more difficult.
If passed, the bill would require Arkansans to get signatures from 50 counties in the state.
Representative Kendon Underwood said the bill will give more Arkansans a say.
“Special interest groups can come to our state and they can try and change our laws, change our constitution by just betting signatures from more populated counties which are typically larger counties but by doing that they can ignore the rest of the state, the more rural counties,” said Underwood.
On the other hand, Misty Orpin with Common Ground Arkansas said this will damage the voice Arkansans currently have.
“The more counties that you have to go to the harder it is for everyday Arkansans to get things on the ballot, because you have to get so much more money to do that,” said Orpin.
The bill would require people to get signatures from 50 counties, when the constitution currently only requires at least 15.
“We want more buy in, we want water spread support across the state,” stated Underwood.
“When it’s on the ballot every single county gets to decide whether or not that that constitutional amendment or law change is approved,” said Orpin.
Also, the bill would raise the number of signatures needed in each county from one-half of voters in the gubernatorial election, to three-fourths.
Orpin worries that’s going to violate the Arkansas constitution.
“Only the voters of Arkansas have the power to change the constitution. We have the authority to do that the legislature does not,” said Orpin.
Although, Underwood said increasing the counties and signatures threshold, which are provisions in the constitution, is not unconstitutional.
“There’s an opportunity for the legislature to raise that but can’t go below that floor,” said Underwood.
The bill is headed for the Senate’s agenda for Monday.