A clarification of a column on Issue No. 3:
This proposed amendment is the most complex one from the legislature. I would like to point out several issues I made with last week's column:
The proposal does not increase the number of voter signatures required. It increases the number of counties where the signatures must be collected, from 15 to 45 counties. A likely effect will be issue groups need to gather more signatures to meet that 45 county threshold, but the total number remains the same. Constitutional amendments require voter signatures equaling 10% of the number of people who voted for governor in the last election; state laws require 8%, and referendums 6%.
The proposal does not impact legislative pay. It does delete the requirement that ballot titles from the legislature be published in a newspaper in each county for six months ahead of the election. There is a reference to legislative pay because the General Assembly has the ability to refer three constitutional amendments to voters to decide, PLUS an amendment involving their salaries. The change is only about the publication requirements of the ballot titles.
And the proposal would set a deadline by which lawsuits over citizen initiative proposals can be filed (no deadline for challenging legislative issues). There is no deadline included for the court to rule by, so the court could still take as long as they want/need to issue a ruling on ballot issue challenges.
So this complex issue is still confusing, but I hope this clarification explains the issue for readers of this column.
National Republican Committeeman Jonathan Barnett, who has been to the last 11 NRC National Conventions – that's 44 years folks, was quoted in the state's largest newspaper as saying the crowds of protesters in North Carolina were for real.
Barnett who apparently checked out of the $400 a night convention hotel for much safer and less expensive digs at a chain motel (that can also be found in Arkansas), is a proud Republican. He is not a showy guy. He is, in fact, a little tight-fisted fiscally, cheap, if you will.
Ever since he was a delegate to Boys Nation while former Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was governor of Boys State, Barnett has represented the GOP in Arkansas at national meetings.
He was a fine State Senator and State House of Representative member and also Benton County's first state Highway Commissioner since the 1920s.
If Barnett says the crowds were unruly – well they were – he calls it as he sees it – without any partisan divide.
In this pandemic several solons seeking re-election or running for office have come up with some novel ways to reach the voters.
State Rep. Charlene Fite of Van Buren, who represents District 80 of western Washington County and western Crawford County, has begun a Facebook feature:
"Where is Charlene in District 80?"
She posts a photo of a district landmark, a city street or some well known landmark and Facebook readers get to guess where she has been. The winner gets a "Re-elect ChARlene Fite for District 80" tee shirt.
She has been all over the District and given away lots of shirts to promote her campaign.
Another new wrinkle was a very well-done District map from the re-election campaign of State Rep. Megan Godfrey of Springdale for House District 89. The District is an oddly-shaped district. Godfrey's new visual, clearly outlines her stomping grounds. A well-done drawing, includes art such as a big cowboy boot (for the Rodeo of the Ozarks), Springdale's airport, the Springdale Public Library, Murphy Park, Shiloh Museum, Springdale High School, and Central Junior High, each site clearly marks the boundaries of her district.
Her college roommate – who is an artist – made the map.
Check it out. Pretty cool district map showing exactly where her District's boundaries are located.
A strong, young Democrat, Godfrey is also not shy about using a photo of Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, signing some of Godfrey's first-term legislation for her "Megan For Arkansas," Facebook cover photo.
As of this Wednesday, Sept. 2 – it is 63 days until election day.
-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.