Measure Would Limit Legislative Amendments To One

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified Tuesday (Sept. 8) the popular name and ballot title of a constitutional amendment that would reduce the number of amendments legislators can present to voters from three to one.

The popular name is “Curtail legislative amendments,” and the ballot title is “To reduce the number of constitutional amendments permitted the legislature from three to one by modifying Article 19, Section 22.”

The amendment is being proposed by Rick Scott of Maumelle as part of a group of about four people called the Little Red Hen Committee. Scott said this is not the first constitutional amendment he has proposed, but it is his first to gain approval from the attorney general.

To place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, his group must collect 84,859 signatures, or 10% of the total votes in the governor’s race in the last election. He hopes to accomplish that through a lot of work, “and we’re probably going to team up with some other groups,” which he said he is not ready to identify.

“I probably have lots of friends that I have never met before,” he said.

Scott said he believes the Legislature is combining too many proposals into the three amendments it is allotted. In particular, he cited Amendment 94, the so-called “ethics amendment” passed in 2014 that included a number of provisions, including extending legislative term limits in the House and Senate. He considered filing a lawsuit, but the cost was prohibitive.

“Term limits had absolutely nothing to do with the ethics,” he said.

Rutledge explained in her letter to Scott that the popular name is not required to contain detailed information “but must not be misleading or give partisan coloring to the merit of the proposal.” The title “must include an impartial summary of the proposed amendment or act that will give the voter a fair understanding of the issues presented.” It must be brief enough so that voters do not spend more than five minutes in voting booths when others are waiting in line, she said.