Arkansas Supreme Court: Local Grant System Is Unconstitutional

Oct 5, 2017

The Arkansas Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court says a system of grants lawmakers used to pay for local projects around the state violated a constitutional requirement that budget measures have a distinctly stated purpose.

Justices on Thursday reversed a lower court's ruling in favor of $2.9 million that went toward one of eight planning districts in 2015. The case was brought by former state Rep. Mike Wilson, who was also behind a lawsuit that prompted the court in 2006 to bar the Legislature from directly funding local projects around the state with surplus money.

The court did not rule on Wilson's argument that the grants also violated a ban on strictly local legislation.

Wilson argued the legislation allocating the money provides few details about how it will be spent.