Sunday, April 20, 2014

Arkansas: The most deceitful ballot title EVER?

As chronicled in this blog, politicians will go to great lengths to thwart voter-approved term limits. They lose by one scheme, they try another.  In Arkansas they are trying several simultaneously and topping it off with the most dishonest ballot title, well, ever.

The plan is to hide a provision in a long so-called ethics bill that would double Arkansas state term limits from six to 16 years in the House and eight to 16 years in the Senate with an overall term limit of 16 years. This change is being presented as minor as, after all, isn't the current overall limit only 14 years?  This deceptive proposal will appear on the November 2014 ballot.

That is bad enough. But now this, announced last week from the Arkansas Secretary of State:

HJR 1009

Popular Name

An amendment regulating contributions to candidates for state or local office, barring gifts from lobbyists to certain state officials, providing for setting salaries of certain state officials and setting term limits for members of the general assembly. 

Setting term limits for members of the general assembly? What?  Eight-year term limits were set by voters in 1992 and reaffirmed by them in 2004. This amendment weakens them, doubles them, lengthens them to 16, whatever, but it does not set them.

Read that wording again. Do you believe in "setting term limits for the general assembly?" I do! More importantly, all term limits supporters in Arkansas and everywhere else support "setting term limits for members of the general assembly."

That is what the politicians are banking on. They know Arkansans support term limits, so they have crafted language that will trick voters into voting yes. This is a scam, perhaps the most deceitful ever.

It is likely this scam title will have a date in court before a date with the voters. Stay tuned.