2016 Ballot Issues Overview

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There are seven issues Arkansans will vote on this November. The issues range from medical marijuana to casinos in select Arkansas counties. Below is an overview of all seven issues compiled from the University of Arkansas Voter Guide and the Arkansas Secretary of State website.

For a full comprehensive guide to issues 1-7, click here for the University of Arkansas voter guide or click here for the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.

Issue 1- Proposing an Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning the Terms, Election, and Eligibility of Elected Officials

  • Voters will decide to approve or not approve changes to elected officials terms. If passed, issue one will allow four-year terms for certain elected county officials, prevent some elected officials from also being appointed or elected to a civil office, allow unopposed candidates to be elected without appearing on a ballot and define what “infamous crime” means regarding who is not allowed to hold an elected position.

Issue 2A Constitutional Amendment to Allow the Governor to Retain His or Her Powers and Duties When Absent From the State

  • Voters will decide if the governor will remain in power if he or she leaves the state for another state or country. Currently, if the governor leaves the state or country, the Lt. Governor is in charge. If voters pass issue 2, the phrase “absence from the state” will be deleted from Amendment 6 to the Arkansas Constitution.

Issue 3- An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning Job Creation, Job Expansion and Economic Development

  • Voters are asked to approve multiple changes dealing with job creation, job expansion and economic development. If approved, issue 3 will remove limitation on the amount of general obligation bonds the state may issue. It is currently cannot exceed five percent of state general revenue. It will allow a county, city, town to obtain or provide money for other entities to support economic development, clarifies the authority of counties and municipalities to issue bonds, which the Constitution does not define, allows state legislatures to authorize the use of other taxes to pay off county bond debt, remove requirement that county bonds may be sold only at public sale and allow cities, towns, school districts and counties to form compacts for development projects.

Issue 4- An Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits

  • If voters pass issue 4, a maximum dollar amount will be set regarding medical-injury lawsuits for “non-economic damages,” or reason other than lost wages, medical expenses or other expenses as a result of the injury, prohibit attorneys from collecting a fee more than one-third of the net amount of money a client receives in a medical-injury lawsuit, require state legislatures to establish in 2017 a maximum dollar amount per health-care provider that people can receive in medical-injury lawsuits (the amount must be at least $250,000).

Issue 5- An Amendment to Allow Three Casinos to Operate in Arkansas, one each in Boone County, Operated by Arkansas Gaming and Resorts, Miller County, Operated by Miller County Gaming, LLC; and Washington County, Operated by Washington County Gaming, LLC.

  • If voters pass issue 5, casinos will be authorized to operate in three counties in Arkansas: Miller, Boone and Washington Counties. It will also define what kinds of gaming will occur at the casinos (electronic, cards, dice, etc), create the Arkansas Gaming Commission to regulate the casinos, establish tax rates on casino gaming, allow the casinos to operate any day, all day, allow alcohol sales at the casinos, allow shipment of of gambling devices, but it will not conflict or affect Amendment 84 (bingo or raffles) or Amendment 87 (state lottery).

Issue 6- The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016

  • If passed by voters, issue 6 will allow the regulated medical use of marijuana legal under Arkansas State law while recognizing the drug is still illegal under federal law, establish a system for growing, acquiring and distributing marijuana for qualifying patients through licensed dispensaries and growing facilities, protecting licensed dispensaries, facilities and patients with state immunity to criminal or civil arrests, establish qualifying conditions for medical marijuana usage, directing the Department of Health to regulate rules for medical marijuana access and the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission to establish rules for growing and selling medical marijuana, establishing a Medical Marijuana Commission of five members; two of which will be appointed by the Senate President, two appointed by the Speaker of the House and one appointed by the Governor, establish at least 20 dispensary licenses but no more than 40, establish at least four cultivation facilities but nor more than eight, allow cities and counties to prohibit dispensaries and enact zoning regulations where dispensaries may go, apply state and local taxes to medical marijuana, prohibit anyone to grow marijuana other than licensed dispensaries, permit legislatures to change some sections of the amendment at a later date requiring two-thirds vote.

Issue 7- The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act

  • If passed, issue 7 will allow medical marijuana usage legal under Arkansas state law while recognizing it is still federally illegal, establish a system for growing, acquiring and distributing medical marijuana, identify medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana, allow patients or caregivers to grow medical marijuana if they live 20 or more miles away from a dispensary but would need a license to grow, establish the Department of Health to regulate identification cards, hardship cultivation certificates, the operations of nonprofit cannabis care centers and cannabis testing labs and qualifying medical conditions; protect patients, caregivers, providers and doctors from arrest under state law but no protection from federal law; allow cities and counties to limit number of dispensaries and enact zoning regulations where dispensaries can locate, apply state and local taxes to the sale of medical marijuana, require the state to create a system for helping low-income people afford medical marijuana.

Arkansas can vote on these seven issues on November 8. For voting locations, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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