Petitions Turned In For Proposals On Marijuana, Casinos And Medical Lawsuits

Jul 8, 2016

Credit npr.org

Backers of an effort to limit damages awarded in lawsuits against health care providers, a group proposing casinos in three Arkansas counties, and a group behind a second medical marijuana proposal have all turned in signatures in efforts to try and get their proposals on the Arkansas ballot.

The measures needed at least 84,859 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the November ballot. Friday was the deadline for proposals to turn in petitions for ballot measures.

Health Care Access for Arkansans on Friday submitted more than 131,000 signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment, which would allow the Legislature to cap non-economic damages awarded for medical injury against health care providers, with a minimum cap of $250,000.

The proposal would also put a limit on the contingency fees attorneys could receive in medical injury cases.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 turned in more than 92,000 signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment legalizing casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties. A spokesman for the group said it would likely fall short of the required number but would have enough signatures to qualify for another 30 days to circulate petitions.

The campaign announced last month it had struck a deal for Cherokee Nation Entertainment to operate the casino in Washington County if the amendment is approved by voters.

Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana on Friday turned in more than 106,268 signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for certain medical conditions.

David Couch, the sponsor of the proposal, said he expected he'd fall short of the required number but would have enough to qualify for another 30 days to circulate petitions. The secretary of state's office has 30 days to review his petitions.

A competing medical marijuana proposal was approved on Thursday for the November ballot after election officials said the group behind it had submitted more than enough signatures. Arkansas voters narrowly rejected legalizing medical marijuana in 2012.