A "yes" vote supports allowing the state legislature to call itself into extraordinary sessions upon (a) a joint proclamation from the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore or (b) upon a proclamation signed by two-thirds of the members in each chamber.
A "no" vote opposes allowing the state legislature to call itself into extraordinary session, thereby requiring that all extraordinary sessions must be called by the governor.
Issue 1 would allow the state legislature to call itself into extraordinary sessions upon (a) a joint proclamation from the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore or (b) upon a proclamation signed by two-thirds of the members in each chamber.
Currently, Arkansas is one of 14 states where only the governor can call a special session. In the other 36 states, special sessions may be called for by the governor or the state legislature itself. Special sessions may be called by state legislatures upon a majority or supermajority vote, however, in three states, no vote of the legislature is required and a special session may be called by a proclamation of the presiding officers. In 10 states, a simple majority (50%+1) vote is required. In 17 states, a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote is required. Five states require a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote. One state, Missouri, requires approval from three-fourths of legislators.
Amendment sponsor State Sen. Breanne Davis (R) said, "We wanted to ensure through [SJR10] that special sessions remain special by requiring a higher threshold to allow the legislature to call itself into special session. We also wanted to ensure that the legislative branch had the ability to call itself into a special session if necessary."
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) said, "[The Legislature's] perception is that the executive branch is very powerful and the legislative branch is not strong enough, and they want to strengthen that. I think you’ve got to step back a little bit and understand that under our constitution, the governor has a lot of respect but structurally the legislature has a lot of power, particularly with the purse strings. That’s the separation of powers. So, we should not be frustrated by that friction. We need to respect each other and work through in a cooperative way on many of these issues. But no, I disagree with the legislature being able to call themselves into session, and hopefully, that will not be one of the amendments that come out.
A "yes" vote supports requiring a 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt constitutional amendments (legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes.
A "no" vote opposes requiring a 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt constitutional amendments (legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes, thereby continuing to require a simple majority vote of approval for adoption.
Currently, ballot measures in Arkansas require a simple majority (50%+1) vote for approval. This amendment would amend the state constitution to require a three-fifths 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt constitutional amendments (legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes. The supermajority requirement would not apply to veto referendums, which would continue to require a simple majority (50%+1) vote for approval.
A "yes" vote supports amending the state constitution to provide that "government shall not burden a person's freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability."
A "no" vote opposes amending the state constitution to provide that "government shall not burden a person's freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability."
The measure would amend the state constitution to provide that the government cannot burden a person’s freedom of religion— including burdens resulting from a rule of general applicability— except if the government demonstrates that the burden is necessary to further a compelling government interest using the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The measure would allow a person to cite this amendment as a claim or defense in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding to obtain relief against the government.
The measure provides that free exercise of religion means the exercise of religion under Section 24 of Article 2 of the Arkansas Constitution, which provides that "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship; or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship, above any other."
The amendment would be named the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment in the state constitution. The constitutional amendment would state that the purpose of the amendment is to "guarantee that the freedom of religion is not burdened by state and local law" and "provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious freedom is burdened by government."
The amendment is modeled on the United States Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1993. The federal law was found to be inapplicable to state laws by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. Since then, 21 states had enacted an RFRA law applicable to the state's own laws.
A "yes" vote supports legalizing the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old, enacting a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and requiring the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses.
A "no" vote opposes legalizing marijuana for personal use in Arkansas.
The measure would legalize marijuana use for individuals 21 years of age and older and authorize the commercial sale of marijuana with sales to be taxed at 10%. Of the tax revenue, 15% would be used to fund an annual stipend to all full-time law enforcement officers certified by the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training that are in good standing. Adults could possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Under the amendment, businesses that already hold licenses under the state's medical marijuana program would be authorized to sell marijuana at their existing locations and could establish one additional location for commercial sale only. An additional 40 licenses would be given to businesses chosen by a lottery.
Responsible Growth Arkansas is sponsoring the initiative. The committee raised $4.86 million and spent $3.91 million according to campaign finance reports covering through August 31, 2022. Responsible Growth Arkansas said, "We all know that funding and supporting the police is important. Our brave men and women in law enforcement deserve our support. You can vote to support our law enforcement by voting for Issue 4 this election. Issue 4 will safely legalize the sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older, and creates revenue that goes to more funding for local police departments, more funding for protecting our communities, more funding for safer streets. A vote for Issue 4 is a vote to support our police."
Safe and Secure Communities registered to oppose the initiative. The committee raised $2 million and spent $691,648. The group said "We’re on a mission to save Arkansas from the destructive effects of legalized drugs, and we need your support. Many cities around the nation are destroyed, and now Arkansas is at risk. Help keep Arkansas communities secure and our citizens safe. The pot industry is directly targeting kids, even though hundreds of scientific studies show that marijuana – especially today’s high-potency weed – permanently damages the teenage brain. Teens who smoke pot regularly drop out at twice the rate of non-users, and as adults they earn less and have a lower IQ. Marijuana-related policy changes, including legalization, have significant unintended consequences for children, adolescents, and cities large and small."
Additional information can be found here.