Category Archives: Arkansas Term Limits

Politicians Hate The Initiative

Senator Jim Hickey wants to increase the difficulty of petition drives. He introduced SB860 to add a bunch of regulations to the petition process. The bill clearly is designed to make petition drives more difficult and costly. If passed the result will be a higher cost for those attempting petition drives.
SB860 will:

Force a sponsor to obtain, at its cost, from the Department of Arkansas State Police, a current state and federal criminal record search on every paid canvasser to be registered with the Secretary of State.

It also forces the sponsor to keep tabs on petitioners for 3 years after the election.

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas Term Limits, Ballot measures, Ballot Question, Initiative, Petition Drive, politicians, referendum

They Want It All Money and Power

It’s the season. In many places those jokers who won the popularity contests last election day are up to no good.

pigs
A “Citizens Commission” in Arkansans has just raised legislator pay by more than double. It seems as though the last 30 days of public comment was a sham.

The commission has received dozens of emails objecting to the pay raises, including criticism that the move would create a full-time Legislature and that the pay hikes dwarf the cost-of-living raises that state employees receive.

“I don’t know how the commission can ignore that,” said Commissioner Stuart Hill, who also voted against the raises.

Vice Chairman Chuck Banks said he didn’t believe the commission was ignoring the public reaction to the raises.

“I personally am quite proud we were able to get focused, get on it and do like the citizens expected us to do, and get up here and get the job done and go home,” Banks said.

 

MP2

Buckeye residents are being fed a line of bull about how they really need career politicians.

 

Mainers can watch as their poster-boy career politician tries to increase his pay and extend his time in office.

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Other places where politician pay raises have happened or are in the works:

“The Utah Legislature passed a bill that would pay the state’s top executive $150,000 a year, a nearly 37 percent increase.”

“OLYMPIA, Wash. – Members of the Washington state Legislature may receive an 11% raise over the next few years. The governor is looking at a 4% raise”

Wyoming, “Senate File 116 would increase legislative pay from $150 per day to $175 per day. The raise would be the first for legislators since 2005.”

 

 

South Dakota voted down a raise. “SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO AM) – The Senate Local Government Committee today defeated a bill tying legislator’s pay to across-the-board increases to state employee’s salaries.”

 

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas Term Limits, politicians

What Does The Public Think

The Arkansas Independent Citizens Commission (7 political appointees,) was recently formed to evaluate pay for Arkansas’ elected officials. They have decided to give the politicians a 1.5x raise. The commission has been taking public comments, here are some samples: (Some editing issues have resulted in misspellings and poor punctuation as I cut and pasted the comments, attribute those errors to me and not the public commenters.)

“How stupid! I taught 40 years and barely made 40000 when I retired. This included a 60 plus hour work week.You all should be ashamed to use tax dollars for this increase for only a part time job. I could understand a raise of 2 or 3 percent but a raise of this size is absurd. I know that all teachers and state employees would like to have a nice raise also!”

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“I do not take the Sunday Democrat Gazette but a friend who does told me about the proposed salary increases for state legislators, governor, judges, etc. I was sure she had the facts wrong since I knew the legislature was in session every other year for only 60 days. I also know that most senators and representatives have either retired from the work force or still hold a position in some kind of business for which they are well compensated. They return to a paying job when the legislature adjourns. As the legislators work only 2 months or one-sixth of a year the pro rated salaries would be $236, 400.00! So, I did some searching online and found the proposal for the salary increases. I am 67 years old and worked as an RN 40 plus hours a week for 20 years. Then, my husband and I opened a retail store which became quite successful, but, we both worked 14 hours a day seven days a week to insure that success. Right now, I am actually sick to my stomach after reading the recommendations. Little did I know when I voted for the constitutional amendment to create this commission that I was opening up the state treasury to be looted by our elected officials. A sad day for Arkansas.”

peasant1

“I do feel as if the last increase for State employees being only one percent was at best insulting. State employees work hard for every dollar that we earn and the cost of living, as well as minimum wage has went up and minimum wage went up more than one percent so why did the States wages not. I know that at our level we can do better than this and would hope that someone would stand up and fight for us. Thank you for listening,.”

 

“I do not believe that anyone at the higher end of state level i.e. the governor almost doubling his salary is a joke. This is opposed by so many voting Arkansas that it should not pass. This is an outrage to anyone has ever voted an elected official in to office and who do you people that are asking for these increases think you are. I work for the state for DHS and we got a 1% cost of living increase so that the jokers on the hill can almost double their salaries. If this goes through I will not vote anyone that is an elected official at this time back into office so enjoy our pay bump because if it’s in my power you will not see another one as you will no longer be in office.”

 

plebs2

“I’ve was against this issue when it came up last year. I’m against your recommendations now. Not only was the Ballot #3 title/synopsis at the voting booth deceptive so is your 5-state comparison now. Tennessee is in sessio45 days a year, Louisiana 65, Iowa 110, Oklahoma 120 and Missouri 150. Arkansas averaged is 30 days a year Except for Iowa their population is 2 and 3 times that of Arkansas. Do you think this ballot issue would have passed if the terminology at the voting booth had read “increase the legislature’s term limits” instead of setting term limits? Or a bill to “increase the pay of our elected officials?”In the executive branch, do you think we could get the Governor to buy his own groceries, do his own cooking, drive himself to and from work and reduce the expense of the plush Governor’s Mansion we put him in if we raise him from $87,000 to $140,000 annually? In conclusion I think our General Assembly should have the intestinal fortitude to make these salary/expense decisions. Not an autonomous 7-member committee they hand pick.”

lietous

“I am AGAINST the proposed pay increase for Arkansas legislators. While many Arkansas programs that benefit children, families, veterans, and the elderly are constantly being asked to “cut back” because there is “not enough money”, you request that your pay is more than doubled for part-time public service? Most working professional in the State are being looked over for cost of living raises year after year, and when it is received, it is likely 1.52%! Arkansas social workers, DCFS employees, teachers, and mental health therapists working in Community Mental Health Centers, all with bachelors degrees and many with Master’s degrees, do not make $39,400. per year working 50-60 hours per week, many times 7 days/week, all year long! Additionally, DCFS CPS workers are imbursed for mileage at 0.42/mile. Why do legislators receive 15 more cents per mile than the DCFS workers running the city streets and back roads of the state every day of the week? This proposal is a slap in the face to hard working Arkansans and will not stand. It is shameful! Please reconsider.”

 

“I am opposed to the salary increases. I do not believe the amount of salary indicates the level of intelligence you will get through an elected official. I think the higher salary could be the deciding factor to run for an office opposed to the desire to help the people in the great state of Arkansas. Do not insult the majority of the working people by voting yourselves a raise that most of us haven’t had in years.”

peasant2

“Hello… I think you all know the TAXPAYER VOTERS were DECEIVED with issue 3 . I hope you all will take into consideration that TAXPAYERS were deceived with issue 3. I think most TAXPAYERS would be very happy if the whole thing was trashed and let the elected officials but the panel on the ballot in 2016 by its self. Also do the term limits the same way. The AMERICAN and ARKANSAS people are so fed up with being DECEIVED FROM WASHINGTON TO LITTLE ROCK. I for one hope the voters will trow the whole bunch out and start over.”

 

plebs4

 

One in favor

“You have been tasked with a decision that is uber political and will incite strong opinions from both sides. Thank you for your willingness to take this on.I fully support your findings! There are tons of folks that have life experiences that would be invaluable in state offices – whether the legislature or other offices -that simply can’t afford the sacrifice. Literally.The changes you have proposed will hopefully encourage business owners, general workers and folks with great plans for the state that otherwise couldn’t afford to be elected and forgo their pay an opportunity to serve.Arkansas does not have “lifelong politicians”, rather, we have elected volunteers. Let’s encourage the best of the best to volunteer to serve.Thank you for your due diligence. Let’s resemble our comparable states. That is our best bet to move AR forward.”

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Another asking for the Supreme Court to be paid an additional 20k annually.

 

“It never ceases to amaze me at the sheer ludicrous ideas that you people come up with. First, in comparing us to  surrounding states, you leave out the one that more closely matches us and has been our constant companion in the cellar of just about everything, Mississippi. Secondly, these “public servants” do not do this for the money, but for the “honor” of being able to serve the public. The only people that can actually be a legislator are retired people, owners of their own business or farms and lawyers. There are a few other exceptions, but the point is that your regular worker’s boss is not going to let them off for 60 days to vote on the state’s business. This is a part-time job. The salary needs to reflect that. If you need to suggest raises, then why not try your state employees, that’s the backbone of our Arkansas government.”

 

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Additional comments can be read here.

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Filed under Arkansas Term Limits, politicians

Top 7 Election Manipulations of 2014

Election manipulation is a problem. It happens when elected government officials manipulate citizens by using their power to trick voters at the ballot box or preventing a ballot question from reaching voters. It happens more often than you would think, bond proposals placed on special low turnout election dates, deceptive ballot language, or undercutting citizens when they attempt to place initiatives on the ballot. Here are the top voter manipulations of 2014.

 

7. California’s AG shut down an initiative with biased ballot language.

California’s Attorney General used political power to stop a petition drive before it started. Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose proposed a statewide amendment to allow changes to future pensions in California. The AG wrote language naming the most popular state workers (teachers, nurses, peace officers) and suggesting their retirement security would be compromised. Voters never had the chance to decide this issue.

 

6. Election to increase road taxes scheduled for the worst month for potholes.

Michigan voters were justifiably angry last spring when it became obvious the legislators had neglected one of their core duties, funding road repair. All year the legislature avoided the issue, promising to find a resolution after the November election. Late in the session a senate proposal for $1.2 billion in new taxes was pitted against a revenue neutral ($0 new taxes) house proposal. Elected officials then avoided the issue by proposing a constitutional amendment for a $1.7 billion tax increase. They chose to have a special election will be in early May, during Michigan pothole season.

 

5. Change the law to undermine petition gatherers.

Petitioners in Michigan gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures to change the state minimum wage law. However, as they neared the deadline to submit the signatures politicians passed a lesser minimum wage increase. When the legislators passed their increase they changed the law and negated all the petition signatures that had been gathered. This was not an example of legislators passing a law to compromise. The legislature went out of its way to prevent a vote on increasing the minimum wage, most likely to avoid higher democrat voter turn-out in November.

 

4. Lie on the ballot.

Phoenix voters voted against something that was never proposed. The issue? The city council wrote ballot language that lied to voters, the section of interest “prohibit City contributions to any other retirement plan, including deferred compensation plans, post-employment benefit plans and the police officer and firefighter retirement system.” The initiative did not affect police or fire employees (the pension programs for police and fire are covered under state law not touchable by city initiative).  At the ballot box voters were mislead to believe they were protecting public safety employees but they were instead protecting the city council’s ability to continue promising benefits without paying.

 

3. Cheat voters through legal loopholes.

After legislators passed a law allowing wolf hunting the HSUS (Human Society of the United States) petitioned to call a vote using the Michigan’s referendum process. Rather than back down, legislators passed another law to allowing wolf hunting, again the HSUS stepped in and gathered signatures using Michigan’s referendum process. Yet a third time the legislature passed yet another law to allow wolf hunting, but this time they included a spending provision to preclude another referendum petition. In November Michigan voted against wolf hunting (twice) but wolf hunting goes forward due to this voter deception.

 

2. Politicized courts block initiative.

Illinois courts stopped voters from voting on term limits. In 1994 petitioners in Illinois gathered signatures to place term limits on the ballot. Courts at that time decided the proposed law was only structural and must be structural and procedural due to this clause in the state constitution “Amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV.” This year an amendment was proposed that included structural and procedural changes. The courts this year changed their justification and simply shot down the measure as “unconstitutional.”

 

1. Trojan Horse, hide something people don’t want in something they like.

Arkansas legislators tricked voters on term limits and pay increase. Arkansas legislators are allowed to put three legislative referrals on the ballot every 2 years. Historically this has worked to limit legislative attempts to push through too many constitutional changes each election cycle. However, in a move to trick voters in to passing an unpopular term limit extension and avoid asking voters for a pay increase politicians rolled thirteen amendments to the state constitution into one ballot question. This twenty-two page proposal labeled “ethics reform” gave lip service to popular issues like banning gifts from lobbyists, stopping legislators becoming lobbyists, and a commission to set pay for elected officials. The last phrase of a long ballot title (written by the politicians) “establishing term limits for members of the General Assembly” was obviously intended to deceive voters. Arkansas had 6 and 8 year term limits, this amendment more than doubled those limits to 16 years. Pay raises will now be approved by a commission appointed by the people getting the raises. Voters were duped and approved this measure 52%-48%.

 

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas Term Limits, Ballot measures, Michigan Term Limits, Uncategorized

Add 22 Pages to Arkansas Constitution?

ISSUE 3 KILLS TERM LIMITS, HIKES POLS’ PAY!!!

Have YOU Read It?

While you’re reading this story, thousands of Arkansas voters are being cheated, robbed of their right to vote – at least, to vote without their votes being counted against them.

Issue 3 on the Arkansas ballot kills and guts the term limits law voters enacted by citizen initiative in 1992 and supported again in even higher numbers ten years ago.

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Now comes Issue 3 to weaken the current House limit of 6 years to a whopping 16 years! Senators now limited to 8 years would be able to stay in power for 16 years as well. SIXTEEN YEARS? That’s no limit!

WORST OF ALL? The ballot wording doesn’t tell voters this simple fact. If it did, as the politicians who devised this dirty trick well know, Issue 3 would go down in flames.

Instead of informing voters that the amendment lengthens the limits, the ballot wording actually lies to voters, telling them that the measure is “setting term limits.”

Here is what voters will read on their ballot about Issue 3:

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

The first part of the ballot wording is about contributions because Issue 3 outlaws corporate contributions. Not mentioned is the fact the U.S. Supreme Court has already said that provision is unconstitutional.

The second part says it will bar gifts from lobbyists to certain state officials. But this watered down provision will continue to allow plenty of gifts to legislators, including all-expense paid travel junkets from the biggest, richest lobbyists and special interests.

The third part of the ballot wording says the measure “provides for setting salaries.” Care to know how it “provides” for those salaries? Issue 3 sets up an “independent citizens commission” to set salaries. Elected? No. They’re appointed. By whom? By the very same politicians behind Issue 3.  So much for “independence”!

Issue 3 allows a group of cronies appointed by legislative leaders to hike the pay of legislators and other elected officials. How high, you ask? Well, there is no limit. The pay raise could be $25,000 or $50,000 or $100,000.

What can citizens do about that? If Issue 3 passes, NOTHING. This crony commission has absolutely no check on their power to set salaries – and to set them as high as they wish.

Last, but not least, is the ballot wording’s FLAT-OUT FALSEHOOD about “setting term limits.” Issue 3 is a world record for lies and deceptions – even for politicians!

THE PEOPLE ARE ARKANSAS ARE BEING DECEIVED AND DEFRAUDED.

Virtually no one – including the media – has read the entire 22-page, more than 7,500-word longest constitutional amendment in Arkansas history and knows what’s in it. And there has been a nearly total news blackout about its numerous provisions, with little if any reporting about the UNLIMITED PAY RAISE in Issue 3 or the DESTRUCTION of TERM LIMITS.

Already about a third of registered voters in Arkansas have cast their ballots in early voting completely unaware that the “tough-on-politicians” sounding Issue 3 is a lie written by politicians to destroy their term limits and snatch a big fat pay raise.

If you live in Arkansas, please warn your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. And do it NOW. If you know people in Arkansas, please call them or email them a link to this story. Don’t let the politicians and special interests steal their vote.

READ ALL 22 PAGES POLITICIANS ARE ATTEMPTING TO JAM INTO YOUR STATE CONSTITUTION (the gutting of term limits is on Page 16):

Issue 3 – Longest Amendment in AR History

 

 

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by | October 30, 2014 · 7:50 pm