In his Sunday column at Townhall.com, entitled “The Deceivers,” Liberty Initiative Fund President Paul Jacob takes on two Arkansas state legislators – Sen. Jon Woods (R-Springdale) and Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) – for their dishonest attempt to amend the state constitution via Issue 3 on this November’s ballot.
Woods and Sabin authored Issue 3, which the legislature voted overwhelmingly to refer to the ballot. The so-called “ethics reform” measure does contain some watered-down ethics provisions, but stuck into the massive 22-page constitutional amendment are several hidden provisions, most horrendous being the gutting of the state’s voter-enacted legislative term limits law.
Had Woods and Sabin written an honest ballot title for their amendment, which more than doubles the time legislators such as Woods and Sabin can stay in the House or Senate to a whopping 16 years, voters would have overwhelmingly defeated Issue 3. Instead, their ballot title tells voters that Issue 3 is “establishing term limits.”
Arkansas voters established term limits in 1992 with a 60 percent Yes vote. In 2004, when legislators sought to weaken those limits, voters said No by an even bigger 70 percent margin, defeating the attack on term limits in all 75 Arkansas counties.
Issue 3 would also establish an “Independent Citizens Commission,” in charge of setting the salaries for elected officials in the Natural State. However, a majority of the commission would be made up of cronies appointed by the legislative leaders, rather than individuals elected by the voters. There would be no limit to their power to – you guessed it – hike the pay of the politicians who appoint them.
While Issue 3 does include some provisions relating to ethics reform, the proposed amendment uses those reforms as camouflage to hide the real meat of the deceptive measure.
After the 350-plus delegates to the Arkansas GOP’s state convention passed a resolution opposing Issue 3, State Senator Woods told reporters, “You just have a couple of nuts that got together on a Saturday that were out of touch with Arkansans and passed a silly resolution that in no way reflects the point of view of all Republicans in Arkansas.”
Perhaps Sen. Woods will discover who is out of touch with Arkansans on Election Day.
Paul Jacob at Townhall.com “The Deceivers”