For the November 2018 election, Arkansans statewide will see five ballot issues, only three of which will have votes counted. Ballot issues 1 and 3 were challenged in court and disqualified, with the Arkansas State Supreme Court upholding those decisions. Ballot issues 1 and 2 were legislatively referred. Ballot issues 3, 4, and 5 were voter initiatives.
Ballot Issue 5: Proposal to Increase Minimum Wage
Ballot issue 5, summarized here, proposes an act to increase the minimum wage paid in Arkansas. This initiated act would do so in a graduated manner, with the first increase in minimum wage going from $8.50 to $9.25 per hour starting on January 1, 2019. It then would step up to $10 per hour on January 1, 2020, and finally to $11 per hour on January 1, 2021. This is the only 2018 ballot issue that proposes an act (that is, law or code), not an amendment to the state constitution.
Recap of Other 2018 Ballot Issues
Of the other ballot issues, Ballot Issue 2 proposes a state constitutional amendment that requires valid photographic identification be shown at the time of voting.
Ballot Issue 4 proposes a state constitutional amendment to require the state to license four casinos, one in each of these pre-specified locations: Garland County (at Oaklawn Jockey Club), Crittenden County (at Southland Racing Corporation), Pope County (either in Russellville or within two miles of its city limits), and Jefferson County (either in Pine Bluff or within two miles of its city limits). The proposed casino taxes would be 13% on the first $150 million net gambling proceeds and then 20% thereafter. Of that, 55% would go to the State of Arkansas General Revenue Fund; 17.5% to the Arkansas Racing Commission; 19.5% to the city (if the casino locates in city limits); and 8% to the county. If the casino locates outside the city limits, then the county gets the 19.5% plus its 8%.
For an overview provided by the State of Arkansas, visit this summary of initiatives and referenda provided by the Secretary of State’s office.
Also link to Arkansas Constitution. Whether in this election or future ones, always give serious thought to the difference between the state’s constitution bersus law (i.e., code or legislation). Of course, any ballot issue is important, as is any law or constitution amendment. But the constitution is a more fundamental document and is more difficult to change than a regular law.