From Elicia Dover with our content partner, KATV Ch. 7 News:
An issue on the November ballot is the subject of controversy because of the way in which it is worded on the ballot.
Issue number 3, placed onto the ballot by legislators during the general session is an amendment that mostly deals with ethics issues, such as gifts from lobbyists, but the very last line of the paragraph says “and establishing term limits for members of the general assembly.”
One group, Arkansas Term Limits, says the wording is confusing because Arkansas already has term limits.
“What they’ve done is hidden a term limit increase and camouflaged it with ethics,” said Tim Jacob, co-chair of Arkansas Term Limits, “If this passes, House terms go from 6 to 16 years, Senate terms go from 8 to 16 years.”
The group wants to know why the wording on the ballot doesn’t lay out that the measure would actually increase term limits. The senator who introduced the measure, Jon Woods, says it’s because they tried to be concise, not dishonest.
“We were advised to keep it as short as possible and we wanted it even shorter, but we try to make everybody happy and we try to be honest in what we’re doing,” Woods said.
Woods says extending term limits for legislators would allow for law makers to gain experience. He says it also keeps a turnover of constant freshman senators being manipulated by lobbyists.
Channel 7 News asked voters Tuesday to read the measure and explain what they think they would be voting for.
What does this ballot want to do concerning term limits?
“Probably set term limits,” said Blake Hayes.
Another voter who read the measure says he is for term limits and would probably vote for the measure because he wants term limits. Once it was explained to him that the measure would increase term limits, he reacted:
“Wow, that’s crazy. Sixteen year terms? I mean so much changes in two years,” said Blake Hayes.
Do you think the way it’s worded says it would increase term limits?
“No it does not,” Hayes said.
Many others Channel 7 News spoke with Tuesday echoed the same sentiments when reading the ballot issue. Many of those who read issue 3, who had no knowledge of the measure, thought they were voting to create term limits, not to increase them.
Watch Dover’s full report or check out the comments from viewers at this link.