September 2019
Group Seeks Voter Approval for Game Machines
In a span of 10 years, Arkansas voters approved legalizing the sale of lottery tickets and opening of casinos. Now a group hopes voters will support a constitutional amendment authorizing "coin operated amusement machines" in the state.

Arcade Arkansas filed wording of a proposed constitutional amendment with the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office late last month. The proposal would would authorize the gaming machines and allow players to win prizes, with tax proceeds going to fund college scholarships.

Although the proposal refers to "coin operated machines," players could use a variety of methods of payment to play. The proposal would require the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery to issue 50 licenses to own and lease coin operated machines. Each licensee could have up to 300 machines.

Now that the wording has been filed with the Secretary of State's Office, supporters of Arcade Arkansas can start collecting signatures from voters to put the proposal on the November 2020 ballot. The citizen initiative is one of five proposed constitutional amendments filed with the Secretary of State's Office as of Sept. 26, 2019.

To qualify for the ballot, a proposal requires signatures from at least 84,000 voters. Those signatures must come from at least 15 counties. Ballot issue groups typically use volunteers or paid canvassers to collect these signatures around the state.
In the Courts: Act 579 Referendum
Read for Yourself
Act 579 amended three existing state laws regarding the scope of practice for optometrists. Supporters of a referendum collected voter signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

The effort was rejected by the Secretary of State's Office due to canvasser paperwork not being filed in time as required under a new law, Act 376 of 2019. A lawsuit is now pending before the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Signature Collecting: What's Circulating?
Ballot Proposals from the Public
Arkansas is one of 15 states where citizens have the right to put a constitutional amendment or a state law on the ballot for voters to decide.

The initiative process includes filing a ballot title with the Secretary of State's office, collecting thousands of signatures from around the state, and submitting the signatures for verification.

New this year is a requirement for the Arkansas Election Commission to certify the ballot title.
Submitted to the Secretary of State
Act 376 of 2019 requires ballot issue groups to submit a copy of their ballot title with the Arkansas Secretary of State before collecting signatures.

Ballot titles that have been filed include:

March 14, 2019 - Arkansas Term Limits Amendment - A proposal to lower the number of years state legislators can serve in office was submitted by a group known as Arkansas Term Limits BQC.

July 19, 2019 - Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment  - A proposal to legalize adult use of marijuana was submitted by Melissa Fults.

July 19, 2019 - Arkansas Marijuana Expungement Amendment - A proposal to allow certain marijuana convictions to be expunged was submitted by Melissa Fults.

July 22, 2019 - The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2020 - A proposal to legalize adult marijuana use and to allow certain marijuana convictions to be expunged was submitted by William Barger.

Aug. 29, 2019 - The Coin Operated Amusement Machine Amendment to Article 19, Section 14 of the Arkansas Constitution - A proposal to amend the state's lottery amendment to allow coin operated machines was submitted by a group called Arcade Arkansas .

Approved by the Attorney General
Before the passage of Act 376, the Arkansas Attorney General was required to certify ballot titles before groups could collect signatures. The Attorney General certified the ballot title of one proposed amendment for the 2020 election before the new law was introduced. It's not known how Act 376 affects that certification.

Oct. 26, 2018 - An Amendment to Establish the Arkansas Citizens' Redistricting Commission  - A proposal seeking to change how Arkansas' congressional and state legislative districts are established was approved with a cautionary note that the proposal's subject matter was complex and far reaching, according to Opinion No. 2018-135 . This complexity could lead to a ballot title challenge, the opinion stated. David Couch of Little Rock submitted the measure.
On the 2020 Ballot:
Constitutional Amendments from the Legislature
Arkansas senators and representatives put three constitutional amendments on the 2020 ballot for voters to decide.
Issue numbers haven't been assigned yet. We list them below in order of their approval.

We will publish our neutral voter guide on these proposed amendments along with any from the citizen-initiated process closer to Election Day 2020.

Check out our website for more information.
Continuing Sales Tax for Road Construction (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.

Changing Legislative Term Limits (SJR15)

Changing the Citizen-Initiated and Legislative Ballot Issue Process (HJR1008)
A Constitutional Amendment To Amend The Process For The Submission, Challenge, And Approval Of Proposed Initiated Acts, Constitutional Amendments, And Referenda

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University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service
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