LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Opponents of the Arkansas LEARNS Act will have to go back to the drawing board in their effort to get a measure repealing the law on the ballot.
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin released his decision Thursday to deny an application by the group Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Teachers, or CAPES, to put a referendum on the education law in front of voters.
Griffin said the proposed popular name for the repeal bill was “legally sufficient” to be submitted but said the proposed ballot title was insufficient and had to be retooled before it could head to voters.
The AG said there were three problem areas with the ballot title:
- There were missing summaries for many of the provisions of the bill
- The most recent submission failed to address all the issues cited by the attorney general from the previous submission.
- The font on submission was so small that most people would not be able to read it.
Griffin noted that he himself did not prepare the opinion, saying it was worked up by Deputy Attorney General Ryan Owsley, but that he did approve it.
CAPES had submitted this latest referendum language in late April after initially submitting it on April 10.
In addition to the efforts to get voters to repeal the LEARNS Act, CAPES is also heading to court over part of the measure.
Earlier this month, an attorney for the group and for clients from the Marvell-Elaine School District filed suit against the state claiming that the LEARNS Act emergency clause was unconstitutional.
A spokesperson for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the suit “has no merit” and claimed the Arkansas General Assembly followed the same processes to pass the bill that it had for decades.