Many of the popular changes to Arkansas law in the recent past have come via citizen ballot initiative.
In 2020, anti-democratic interests sought to pass an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, known as the “Petition Killer”, which would have placed restrictive and arbitrary limits on the ability of regular people without massive funding to get citizen-led initiatives on the ballot. Supporters of this ballot measure were open about the fact that limiting ballot initiatives were a key part of suppressing popular, progressive actions in the state. The ballot measure failed by a huge margin in 2020. The ballot initiative process is the only way to pass popular policy in Arkansas, which is heavily voter suppressed and thus restricted by a GOP supermajority intent on minority rule.
Unfortunately, supporters of policy measures similar to the “Petition Killer” aren’t done yet. Rep. David Ray (R), Rep. Bart Hester (R), and Rep. Justin Gonzales (R) have filed AR HJR1 005 that would require any ballot initiatives to receive 60% of the vote to pass.
We’ve shown that a majority of Arkansans support popular, progressive policies and the ability to use the tools of democracy to implement them. The GOP clearly sees this, and is determined to strip us of those tools using their supermajority in the state legislature, gained by disenfranchising thousands of Arkansans by making voting difficult and stacking the deck in their favor to win elections.
We can stop this bill in committee. Email the members of the House State Agencies & Govt’l Affairs Committee and tell them to vote NO on HJR1005. Arkansans DON’T want less democracy.
- Dwight Tosh (Chair) — email@example.com
- Justin Gonzales (Vice Chair) — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rick Beck — email@example.com
- Bruce Cozart — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gary Deffenbaugh — Gary.Deffenbaugh@arkansashouse.org
- Jim Dotson — email@example.com
- Michelle Gray — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spencer Hawks — email@example.com
- Lane Jean — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lee Johnson — email@example.com
- Jack Ladyman — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fredrick J. Love — email@example.com
- Austin McCollum — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stephen Meeks — Stephen.Meeks@arkansashouse.org
- Josh Miller — email@example.com
- John Payton — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marcus E. Richmond — email@example.com
- Nelda Speaks — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jeff Wardlaw — email@example.com
- David Whitaker — firstname.lastname@example.org