McDaniel approves ethics initiative

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 31 views 

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) approved a proposed ballot initiative that would change campaign and ethics laws in Arkansas.

The measure can now pursue collection of at least 62,507 valid voter signatures by July 6 in an effort to qualify for the November ballot.

The Campaign Finance and Lobbying Reform Act of 2012, which is supported by a grassroots group called Regnat Populus 2012, would disallow direct corporate and union contributions to state political campaigns, ban any gifts by lobbyists to legislators, and lengthen the “cooling-off” period that legislators must wait after leaving office before they return as lobbyists from 1 year to 2 years.

In a Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll taken last week, 759 likely Arkansas voters indicated they would overwhelmingly approve the issue if it qualifies for the November election.

In the poll, 69% of likely Arkansas voters said they would support the measure, while 18% said they were opposed and 13% did not have an opinion.

Dr. Jay Barth, with the Hendrix College Department of Politics and International Relations, helped craft and analyze the poll. He said the biggest hurdle will be ballot qualification.

“If this measure makes the ballot, it’s going to be a slam dunk. It’s very popular, but it’s going to have some trouble making the ballot, I think, because it doesn’t have a professional organization behind it at this time. Historically, once Arkansans have a chance to vote on ethics laws, they have tended to vote for them.”

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