Private Option Repeal Effort Falls Short Of Signature Goal

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 90 views 

Arkansans Against Big Government, a group formed to push for a repeal of the legislature’s recent private option health insurance plan, failed to get the 46,880 signatures needed to qualify a ballot measure for voter consideration.

The group needed to collect 46,880 signatures by a Thursday, Aug. 15 deadline, but Glenn Gallas, who headed the group and is active in the Garland Co. Tea Party, says just more than 30,000 signatures have been collected.

Gallas says the next step is to show the amount of signatures as a sign that the public wants the private option defunded during next year’s fiscal session at the state capitol.

On the web site, where Gallas posts news and opinion, he said that delays from the Attorney General’s office cost his group days to potentially qualify signatures for a referendum effort.

“According to the Arkansas Constitution Amendment 7 regarding initiative and referendum the citizen must be filed 90 days after the final adjournment of the legislative session. However, in this case the signature gathering process was reduced to only 52 days because of changes made to the rules regarding the referendum process and the failure of the state Attorney General’s office to approve the Popular Name and Ballot Title. This reduction of time needed to collect the required signatures severely hampered and limited the citizens of Arkansas right to petition their government, thus opening the door for a legal challenge by the group,” Gallas said.

He revealed that AABG collected signatures from 73 of 75 Arkansas counties. Gallas also said that “all options are on the table” on moving forward with efforts to “stop Obamacare in Arkansas.”

He said those options include a legal challenge to the current law, preparing another initiative campaign, and applying pressure on current legislators to defund the private option during the upcoming fiscal session.

“We know now, more than ever that the majority of Arkansans do not want the federal government making our health care choices for us,” Gallas said. “The costs for this expansion will fall back on Arkansas taxpayers after 3 years, and Arkansas taxpayers simply cannot afford it.”