Arkansas politicians and their cronies were terrified by Issue 3. So when this tough state legislative term limits measure was approved for the ballot, foes of citizen-controlled government sued to kill it.
Agreeing that thousands of already-approved signatures of bonafide registered voters must be tossed because of new, legislatively-imposed, byzantine, legal technicalities, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the measure was unsuited for ballot. Yet it was too late to pull it.
The vote simply wouldn’t count, that’s all.
So, why was Issue 3 proposed?
A few years earlier, in 2014, lawmakers had posted a deceptive ballot question consisting of a laundry list of “ethics reforms.” Carefully obscured in the measure was a massive increase in legislative tenure. Sadly, the scam succeeded and voters passed the measure, which allows legislators now to serve up to 16 years (or more) in one seat.
To fix this, Issue 3 sought to impose a maximum of three two-year terms in the house, two four-year terms in the senate, and ten years on overall legislative service. It would also have prohibited lawmakers from sending future term limits measures to the ballot.
After November 6, votes on Issue 3 did get reported in at least some counties. Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times notes that in Pulaski, Washington, and Pope Counties, the Yes vote for 3 exceeds 75 percent. I’m sure these counties are representative.
“I think the term limits crowd should try again,” Brantley says, “if the state motto is to be Regnat Populus rather than Regnat Lobbyist.”
Let the people rule.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.