Opinion No. 2017-078

July 14, 2017

Scott C. Trotter, Attorney at Law
Trotter Law Firm
425 W. Capitol Avenue, Suite 216
Little Rock, AR 72201

Dear Mr. Trotter:

I am writing in response to your request for certification, pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107 (Supp. 2015), of the popular name and ballot title for a proposed initiated measure.

At the outset, I wish to make clear to you that the decision to certify or reject a popular name and ballot title is in no way a reflection of my view of the merits of a particular proposal. I am not authorized to, and do not, consider the merits of the measure when making my determination to certify or reject a popular name and ballot title.

The Attorney General is required, pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107, to certify the popular name and ballot title of all proposed initiative and referendum acts or amendments before the petitions are circulated for signature. The law provides that the Attorney General may, if practicable, substitute and certify a more suitable and correct popular name and ballot title. Or, if the proposed popular name and ballot title are sufficiently misleading, the Attorney General may reject the entire petition.

Section 7-9-107 neither requires nor authorizes this office to make legal determinations concerning the merits of the act or amendment, or concerning the likelihood that it will accomplish its stated objective. In addition, consistent with Arkansas Supreme Court precedent, unless the measure is “clearly contrary to law,”[1] this office will not require that a measure’s proponents acknowledge in the ballot title any possible constitutional infirmities.[2] Consequently, this review has been limited primarily to a determination, pursuant to the guidelines that have been set forth by the Arkansas Supreme Court, discussed below, of whether the popular name and ballot title you have submitted accurately and impartially summarize the provisions of your proposal.

The purpose of my review and certification is to ensure that the popular name and ballot title honestly, intelligibly, and fairly set forth the purpose of the proposed amendment or act.[3]

REQUEST

You have requested certification, pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107, of the following popular name and ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment:

Popular Name

An Amendment Preserving the Right of Juries to Set Damages,
Requiring Disclosures in Elections, Addressing Separate Powers of the
Three Branches of Government, and Imposing Limits on the Legislature


Ballot Title

An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, Article 19 to add the following:

Consistent with proposals made by the Arkansas Ethics Commission after notice for public comment and hearing, the General Assembly in its regular session in 2019 shall enact laws that require a person or entity that expends funds on advertisements or communications in an attempt to influence a vote for or against a specific candidate or specific set of candidates for non-federal public office in Arkansas to:

disclose expenditures by, and contributors and the amount of their contributions to, such person or entity; and

with respect to attempts to influence a vote for or against a specific candidate or specific set of candidates for judicial office in Arkansas, not accept a contribution in excess of the contribution limits imposed by Arkansas law for the campaign of a candidate for non-federal public office.

Consistent with proposals made by the Arkansas Ethics Commission after notice for public comment and hearing, the General Assembly in its regular session in 2019 shall enact laws that establish penalties for a violation of the disclosure requirements and contribution limits to be enacted pursuant to subsection (a)(1) and (2) of this section.

In making its proposals pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the Arkansas Ethics Commission shall include provisions requiring disclosure of the sources of funds transferred to facilitate contributions otherwise subject to disclosure under subsection (a) of this section.

The expenditure of funds in subsection (a) of this section does not include a contribution to or expenditures of a candidate’s own campaign, or a contribution to or expenditure of an approved political action committee under Ark. Code Ann. §7-6-201(1)(A) and (B). The Arkansas Ethics Commission may propose other exclusions in defining expenditures and contributions, and such exclusions shall be adopted by the General Assembly when enacting laws pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section.

The Arkansas Ethics Commission is directed to make its proposals pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section no later than January 31, 2019. The General Assembly shall enact laws pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section to be effective no later than July 1, 2019, and no amendments thereafter may be adopted by the General Assembly except upon a two-thirds vote of both houses. Such laws shall be subject to the rule-making, compliance, and enforcement authority of the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The General Assembly shall have no authority to approve or disapprove rules or regulations adopted by the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

An Amendment to Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 14 to add the following:

(c)        The General Assembly shall not pass an act, and no agency or office of the executive department shall execute an act, that allows, or results in, an individual legislator or group of individual legislators designating, directly or indirectly, (1) the manner in which appropriated funds are spent, (2) the entities on whose behalf the appropriated funds are spent, or (3) to whom appropriated funds are provided, whether by grant or otherwise.

An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, § 15 to require a two-thirds majority, instead of a majority, vote of elected State Senators and of elected State Representatives to override a Governor’s veto of bills passed by the General Assembly.

An Amendment to Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 80, §3 to add the following:

(2)        By a three-fifths vote of each house, and subject to the approval and veto power of the Governor as provided by Article 6, § 15, the General Assembly may enact laws that amend any provision of a rule of pleading, practice or procedure prescribed by the Supreme Court after January 1, 2019 if the General Assembly finds that such provision abridges, enlarges or modifies any substantive right. Any such amendment so adopted by the General Assembly to a provision of a rule of pleading, practice or procedure prescribed by the Supreme Court after January 1, 2019 shall be limited to removing the abridgment, enlargement, or modification of the substantive right.

The General Assembly shall enact no law that abridges, limits or impairs a jury’s right to determine damages in a civil action, and Article 5, Section 32 of the Arkansas Constitution, as it existed prior to approval of this amendment by voters, shall remain inviolate.

The Arkansas Constitution shall impose no restrictions on the right of a client to contract with an attorney and no limitations on the terms or fees for legal services provided to a client by his or her attorney, nor shall the General Assembly enact laws that impose such restrictions or limitations. The provisions of this subsection (4) shall not affect a constitutional or statutory provision in existence prior to July 1, 2017.

Making the amendment effective on and after November 7, 2018, and providing that the provisions of this amendment are severable, and if any should be held invalid, the remainder shall stand.

RESPONSE

The popular name is primarily a useful legislative device.[4] It need not contain detailed information or include exceptions that might be required of a ballot title, but it must not be misleading or give partisan coloring to the merit of the proposal.[5] The popular name is to be considered together with the ballot title in determining the ballot title’s sufficiency.[6]

The ballot title must include an impartial summary of the proposed amendment or act that will give the voter a fair understanding of the issues presented.[7] According to the Court, a ballot title will not be legally sufficient unless it “adequately inform[s]” the voters of the contents of a proposed amendment or act so that they can make a “reasoned decision in the voting booth.”[8] A ballot title’s failure to “honestly and accurately reflect what is contained in the proposed [act or] Amendment” may lead the Court to conclude that the “omission is significant.”[9] The Court has also disapproved the use of terms that are “technical and not readily understood by voters.”[10] Without a definition of such terms in the ballot title, the title may be deemed insufficient.[11]

Additionally, if information omitted from the ballot title is an “essential fact which would give the voter serious ground for reflection, it must be disclosed.”[12] At the same time, however, a ballot title must be brief and concise;[13] otherwise voters could run afoul of Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-309’s five-minute limit in voting booths when other voters are waiting in line.[14] The ballot title is not required to be perfect, nor is it reasonable to expect the title to cover or anticipate every possible legal argument the proposed measure might evoke.[15] The title, however, must be “free of any misleading tendency whether by amplification, omission, or fallacy, and it must not be tinged with partisan coloring.”[16] The ballot title must be honest and impartial,[17] and it must convey an intelligible idea of the scope and significance of a proposed change in the law.[18]

Furthermore, the Court has confirmed that a proposed measure cannot be approved if the text of the proposal itself contributes to confusion and disconnect between the language in the popular name and the ballot title and the language in the proposed measure.[19] The Court concluded that “internal inconsistencies would inevitably lead to confusion in drafting a popular name and ballot title and to confusion in the ballot title itself.”[20] Where the effects of a proposed measure on current law are unclear or ambiguous, it is impossible for me to perform my statutory duty to the satisfaction of the Arkansas Supreme Court without (1) clarification or removal of the ambiguities in the proposal itself, and (2) conformance of the popular name and ballot title to the newly worded proposal.

It is my opinion that the popular name and ballot title you have submitted fail to meet these guidelines.

Popular Name

Your proposed popular name refers to the measure as an amendment “preserving the right of juries to set damages.” Although the amount of a damages award rests largely within the jury’s discretion,[21] Arkansas courts have inherent power to reduce jury awards.[22] It is therefore misleading, and potentially partisan, to suggest that juries have an absolute “right … to set damages” and that your amendment, if adopted, will preserve such a right.

I believe it is also misleading to call the proposed measure an amendment “requiring disclosures in elections.” Article 19, Section 28 of the Arkansas Constitution and Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-201 et seq. (Repl. 2004 and Supp. 2015) require disclosure of contributions and expenditures (as defined therein) in elections. Your popular name may lead voters to mistakenly think there currently are no Arkansas laws requiring disclosures in elections. The popular name’s misleading tendency in this regard is compounded by the ballot title’s failure to adequately inform voters of the changes in election-related disclosure requirements under your proposed constitutional amendment (as discussed below).

I believe it is also impermissibly vague and likely partisan to characterize the proposed amendment as “imposing limits on the Legislature.” This language carries a connotation regarding the Legislature that may appeal to voters who would be favorably disposed, in the abstract, to placing “limits on the Legislature.” The Arkansas Supreme Court has made clear, however, that a proposed measure cannot contain “inviting catch words”[23] or “catch phrases or slogans that tend to mislead or give partisan coloring to a proposal.”[24] The use of such words and phrases is to promote by implication, not to summarize, a proposal.

I must therefore conclude that your proposed popular name is unacceptable under the standard set by the court.

Ballot Title

It is also my opinion that a number of additions or changes to your ballot title are necessary in order to more fully and correctly summarize your proposal. I cannot, however, at this time, fairly or completely summarize the effect of your proposed measure to the electorate in a ballot title without the resolution of the ambiguities in the text of the measure itself. And thus I cannot determine precisely what changes to the ballot title are necessary to fully and correctly summarize your proposal. It is therefore not appropriate, in my opinion, for me to try to substitute and certify a more suitable and correct popular name and ballot title pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107(b). Instead, you may, if you wish, redesign the proposed measure and popular name and ballot title, and then resubmit for certification.

In order to aid your redesign, I highlight below the more concerning ambiguities in the text of your proposal.

Section 1 of your proposal amends Article 19 of the Arkansas Constitution to add a new section 32, entitled “Arkansas Ethics Commission’s Rules on Elections.” The new section 32 states, under subsections (a) and (b), that “[c]onsistent with proposals made by the Arkansas Ethics Commission after notice for public comment and hearing, the General Assembly … shall enact laws” regarding certain “disclosure requirements and contribution limits….”

There are several fundamental ambiguities regarding the Arkansas Ethics Commission (“Commission”) “proposals” under your measure. As an initial matter, the term “proposals” in the context of your measure is likely misleading, absent some explanation of the respective roles and authority of the Commission and the General Assembly under the proposed Article 19, section 32. A “proposal” in common parlance is a suggestion or recommendation.[25] In the context of administrative bodies, a “proposed regulation” is a “draft administrative regulation that is circulated among interested parties for comment.”[26] Whether used as a common or technical term, therefore, “proposal” connotes a lack of finality or force of law. Thus, when the proposed Article 19, section 32 states, under subsection (a), that the General Assembly “shall enact laws” that are “consistent with [Commission] proposals,” the implication is that such proposals will not control the laws to be enacted. This further implies that the General Assembly is empowered to pass enabling legislation that will define words used in the new Article 19, section 32, and otherwise clarify the rights and obligations affected by the new constitutional provision.

Subsections (e) and (f) of the proposed Article 19, section 32 state, however, that the enacted laws “shall be subject to the rule-making, compliance, and enforcement authority of the Arkansas Ethics Commission” and that “[t]he General Assembly shall have no authority to approve or disapprove rules or regulations adopted by the Arkansas Ethics Commission.” (Emphasis added.) The precise scope of the Commission’s rule-making authority is not clear because the measure is silent on this point. But this grant of authority to the Commission may suggest that the new constitutional provision will ultimately be implemented through Commission rule-making. If that is the case, the Commission “proposals” will obviously have more force than that term ordinarily implies. And the charge to the General Assembly to enact laws “consistent with [Commission] proposals” should be read more as “pursuant to” or “in accordance with” Commission proposals.

Your proposed measure is therefore ambiguous, and potentially misleading, in stating both that the General Assembly shall enact laws consistent with Commission proposals and that such laws shall be subject to Commission rule-making.

Additionally, there are no clear guidelines or procedures for developing the Commission proposals. I believe the process for developing Commission “proposals” under the new Article 19, section 32, will be of significant interest to voters. However, your measure identifies no clear process in this regard. It states only that the proposals are to be made “after notice for public comment and hearing.” It is unclear whether this means the proposals will be subject to the notice and public-comment requirements of the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), which applies to proposed “rules” and “rule making.”[27] By way of comparison, pursuant to Article 19, section 28 and its implementing legislation, the APA plainly applies to Commission rule-making regarding “contributions” and “expenditures” as defined therein.[28] There are no such clear guidelines or procedures for developing Commission proposals under your measure. The applicable process cannot be adequately summarized in a ballot title without clarification of this important matter.

2. As noted above, Section 1 of your proposal also adds two subsections to the new section 32 of Arkansas Constitution Article 19, stating that the laws enacted by the General Assembly pursuant to this new constitutional provision “shall be subject to the rule-making, compliance, and enforcement authority of the Arkansas Ethics Commission” and “[t]he General Assembly shall have no authority to approve or disapprove rules or regulations adopted by the Arkansas Ethics Commission.” (Emphasis added.)

The measure is unclear with respect to the procedures governing Commission “rule-making” and “enforcement authority.” The measure addresses new election-related spending requirements distinct from current requirements. Hence, the Commission’s “rule-making, compliance, and enforcement authority” is presumably also new. But the measure is silent regarding the applicable procedures. This silence introduces additional ambiguity and uncertainty on an essential matter, given the potential scope and effect of the Commission rules, as discussed above.

The significance of this ambiguity concerning Commission rules is compounded by the measure’s reference, in subsection (d) of the proposed, new Article 19, section 32, to the Commission “defining expenditures and contributions.” The meaning of these terms is plainly an essential fact that would give voters serious ground for reflection. This further heightens the concern that the process for Commission rules promulgation be clear. The absence of definitions, coupled with uncertainty regarding the rule-making process, could be important factors in a ballot title challenge, where the Court, in assessing the ballot title’s sufficiency, will be deciding how necessary and appropriate it is to interpret the language of your proposal. I believe the Arkansas Supreme Court would be particularly concerned regarding the voters’ ability to fully understand and appreciate the issues related to expenditures and contributions presented by the proposed amendment.[29] In sum, I believe it will be critical to a sufficient ballot title that the voters have an intelligible idea of the respective roles and authority of the Ethics Commission and the General Assembly as to the “disclosure requirements and contribution limits” under your proposed amendment.

In addition, your proposal may, in effect, reverse the usual roles and functions of the executive and legislative branches of government in the context of this measure’s subject matter. This would mark a significant change in the “separation of powers” between the branches.[30] The ballot title you have submitted does not, however, adequately convey this potential change in law so that voters will have a fair understanding of the issues. The Arkansas Supreme Court has elaborated on the duty to describe the changes in law under a ballot proposal:

It is evident that before determining the sufficiency of the present ballot title we must first ascertain what changes in the law would be brought about by the adoption of the proposed amendment. For the elector, in voting upon a constitutional amendment, is simply making a choice between retention of the existing law and the substitution of something new. It is the function of the ballot title to provide information concerning the choice that he is called upon to make. Hence the adequacy of the title is directly related to the degree to which it enlightens the voter with reference to the changes that he is given the opportunity of approving.[31]

The Court has held that “a ballot title is not insufficient merely because it fails to reflect the current state of the law.”[32] But a ballot title will be deemed insufficient if it does not give the voters a clear understanding of the “extent and import” of the proposal, particularly when they are being asked to amend the constitution:

If the voter knows the extent and import of such a proposal, it is the voter’s decision, not ours, as to the wisdom of the proposal. But at the same time the voters have placed on this court the duty and responsibility to see that when they vote that change, or decline to vote that change, especially one to alter their constitution, they are allowed to make an intelligent choice, fully aware of the consequences of their vote.[33]

Without resolution of the above ambiguities, I believe it will be impossible to construct a ballot title that explains these important features in adequate detail.

3. Section 1 of your proposal also adds a subsection to the new section 32 of Arkansas Constitution, Article 19, stating that the Ethics Commission proposals “shall include provisions requiring disclosure of the sources of funds transferred to facilitate contributions otherwise subject to disclosure under subsection (a) of this section.” (Emphasis added).

In addition to the uncertainty, noted above, regarding the meaning of “contributions,” the emphasized language is of uncertain meaning. The words “sources,” “funds transferred,” and “facilitate” have no “general currency among the public”[34] such that it can be assumed most voters will readily understand what these terms entail in the context of your proposed amendment. Without definitions or some other clarification, therefore, the voter will be placed in a position of having to guess as to the meaning of these terms. For the reasons explained above, moreover, it is unclear from a procedural standpoint how this disclosure requirement will be clarified. The Court has made clear that the voter should not be placed in this position.[35]

4. Section 2 of your proposal amends Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 14 to add a subsection prohibiting the enactment or execution of an act that “allows, or results in, an individual legislator or group of individual legislators designating, directly or indirectly, (1) the manner in which appropriated funds are spent, (2) the entities on whose behalf the appropriated funds are spent, or (3) to whom appropriated funds are provided, whether by grant or otherwise.” (Emphasis added).

The “group of individual legislators” language is unclear. Although it is unlikely this is intended to include groups such as the Joint Budget Committee or the Legislative Council, the meaning is sufficiently uncertain such that these sub-groups of the General Assembly might be included by virtue of their roles in connection with state budgeting and contracting. This would have obvious implications for those processes under current state law. Until the ambiguity created by the reference to “group of individual legislators” is clarified, this provision cannot be adequately summarized in the ballot title.

5. Section 4 of your proposal amends Arkansas Constitution Amendment 80, section 3 (regarding rules of pleading, practice, and procedure) to add subsection (a)(2), stating that “the General Assembly may enact laws that amend any provision of [such a rule] prescribed by the Supreme Court after January 1, 2019 if the General Assembly finds that such provision abridges, enlarges or modifies any substantive right.” (Emphasis added).

The term “substantive right” is a technical term in the context of rules of pleadings, practice, and procedure.[36] It will not be readily understood by most voters. The Court has consistently disapproved the use of technical terms:

 We have disapproved the use of terms that are technical and not readily understood by voters, such that voters would be placed in a position of either having to be an expert in the subject or having to guess as to the effect his or her vote would have. [Internal citations omitted.]... Without a definition of [a technical term], the voter would be in the position of guessing as to the effect his or her vote would have unless he or she is an expert in the legal field. In other words, the voter would be unable to reach an intelligent and informed decision for or against the proposal without an understanding of the terms and the consequences of his or her vote. [Internal citation omitted.][37]

The undefined use of the term “substantive right” in your proposed ballot title consequently does not meet the legal requirements for initiated measures.

6. Section 4 of your proposal also adds subsection (a)(3) to Arkansas Constitution Amendment 80, section 3, stating: “The General Assembly shall enact no law that abridges, limits or impairs a jury’s right to determine damages in a civil action….” (Emphasis added).

The emphasized language suggests that juries have an absolute right to set damages. As noted above regarding your proposed popular name, however, Arkansas courts have inherent power to reduce jury awards.[38] It is therefore misleading, and potentially partisan, to suggest in the ballot title for your proposal that juries have an absolute “right … to set damages” and that this constitutional amendment, if adopted, will preserve such a right.

7. Section 4 of your proposal also adds subsection (a)(4) to Arkansas Constitution Amendment 80, section 3, stating: “The Arkansas Constitution shall impose no restrictions on the right of a client to contract with an attorney and no limitations on the terms or fees for legal services provided to a client by his or her attorney, nor shall the General Assembly enact laws that impose such restrictions or limitations.”

The statement that “[t]he Arkansas Constitution shall impose no restrictions … and no limitations on the terms or fees for legal services” is extraordinarily broad language that gives rise to uncertainty regarding possible unintended consequences or implications. Under a plain reading, this indicates that there can be no future amendments to the Constitution imposing any such restrictions or limitations. So read, this provision would seemingly amend by implication Article 5, section 1[39] and Article 19, section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution, which authorize, respectively, Arkansas legal voters and the Arkansas General Assembly to propose amendments to the state constitution through certain established procedures. Your proposal’s effect on these constitutional provisions must be acknowledged in the ballot title.[40] The ballot title is plainly insufficient without an acknowledgement of such an extremely significant change in current constitutional law.

Even if this part of the measure is clarified to make clear it will not prevent future amendments to the Constitution pursuant to existing procedures, the scope and effect of this prohibition on “the Arkansas Constitution” will remain uncertain absent some clarification. For example, it is unclear whether the measure would exempt legal services from a future constitutional amendment that controls the terms or fees of service for commercial transactions generally.

CONCLUSION

The ambiguities noted above are not necessarily all the ambiguities contained in your proposal, but they are sufficiently serious to require me to reject your popular name and ballot title. I am unable to substitute language in a ballot title for your measure due to these ambiguities. Further, additional ambiguities may come to light on review of any revisions of your proposal.

My office, in the certification of ballot titles and popular names, does not address the merits, philosophy, or ideology of proposed measures. I have no constitutional role in the shaping or drafting of such measures. My statutory mandate is embodied only in Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107, and my duty is to the electorate.

Based on what has been submitted, my statutory duty is to reject your proposed popular name and ballot title for the foregoing reasons and instruct you to redesign the proposed measure and ballot title.[41] You may resubmit your proposed amendment along with a proposed popular name and ballot title at your convenience.

Sincerely,


Leslie Rutledge
Attorney General

Enclosure



[1]See Kurrus v. Priest, 342 Ark. 434, 445, 29 S.W.3d 669, 675 (2000); Donovan v. Priest, 326 Ark. 353, 359, 931 S.W.2d 119, 121 (1996); Plugge v. McCuen, 310 Ark. 654, 841 S.W.2d 139 (1992).
[2]As part of my review, however, I may address constitutional concerns for consideration by the measure’s proponents.
[3]See Arkansas Women’s Political Caucus v. Riviere, 283 Ark. 463, 466, 677 S.W.2d 846 (1984).
[4]Pafford v. Hall, 217 Ark. 734, 739, 233 S.W.2d 72, 75 (1950).
[5]See, e.g., Chaney v. Bryant, 259 Ark. 294, 297, 532 S.W.2d 741, 743 (1976); Moore v. Hall, 229 Ark. 411, 316 S.W.2d 207 (1958). For a better understanding of the term “partisan coloring,” see note 16 infra.
[6]May v. Daniels, 359 Ark. 100, 105, 194 S.W.3d 771, 776 (2004).
[7]Becker v. Riviere, 270 Ark. 219, 226, 604 S.W.2d 555, 558 (1980) (internal citations omitted).
[8]Lange v. Martin, 2016 Ark. 337, 500 S.W.3d 154, at n. 2.
[9]Id. at *9, 500 S.W.3d at 159.
[10]Wilson v. Martin, 2016 Ark. 334, *9, 500 S.W.3d 160, 167.
[11]Id., 500 S.W.3d at 167.
[12]Bailey v. McCuen, 318 Ark. 277, 285, 884 S.W.2d 938, 942 (1994).
[13]See Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107(b).
[14]Bailey, 318 Ark. at 284, 884 S.W.2d at 944.
[15]Id. at 293, 844 S.W.2d at 946-47.
[16]Id. at 284, 884 S.W.2d at 942. Language “tinged with partisan coloring” has been identified by the Arkansas Supreme Court as language that “creates a fatally misleading tendency” (Crochet v. Priest, 326 Ark. 338, 347, 931 S.W.2d 128, 133 (1996)) or that “gives the voter only the impression that the proponents of the proposed amendment wish to convey of the activity represented by the words.” (Christian Civic Action Committee v. McCuen, 318 Ark. 241, 249, 884 S.W.2d 605, 610 (1994)).
[17]Becker v. McCuen, 303 Ark. 482, 489, 798 S.W.2d 71, 74 (1990).
[18]Christian Civic Action Committee, 318 Ark. at 245, 884 S.W.2d at 607 (internal quotations omitted).
[19]Cf. Roberts v. Priest, 341 Ark. 813, 825, 20 S.W.3d 376, 382 (2000).
[20]Id.
[21]See Fritz v. Baptist Mem’l Health Care Corp., 92 Ark. App. 181, 187, 211 S.W.3d 593, 597 (2005) (citing Coca–Cola Bottling Co. v. Adcox, 189 Ark. 610, 74 S.W.2d 771 (1934)).
[22]Martin v. Rieger, 289 Ark. 292. 711 S.W.2d 776 (1986). See also Op. Att’y Gen. 2001-058.
[23]Arkansas Women’s Political Caucus, note 3, supra, 283 Ark. at 468, 677 S.W.2d at 849.
[24]Kurrus, note 1, supra, 342 Ark. at 441, 29 S.W.3d at 672.
[25]See The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 1413 (5th ed. 2011) (defining “proposal” and “propose”).
[26]Black’s Law Dictionary 1311 (8th ed. 2004).
[27]See Ark. Code Ann. § 25-15-202 (Repl. 2014) (definitional section of APA).
[28]See Ark. Const. art. 19, § 28(d)(2) (Supp. 2015) (directing the General Assembly to provide for this constitutional provision to be under the jurisdiction of the Commission and authorizing commission rule-making) and Ark. Code Ann. § 7-6-217(g)(1) (Supp. 2015) (authorizing the Commission to promulgate rules under the APA “to implement and administer,” inter alia, Ark. Const. art. 19, § 28, “and to govern procedures before the commission, matter of commission operations, and all investigative and disciplinary procedures and proceedings[.]”).
[29]See Cox v. Daniels, 374 Ark. 437, 491, 288 S.W.3d 591 (2008) (refusing to speculate, in a challenge to a ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment, on the precise contours of permissible “State lotteries,” given the General Assembly’s clear authority under the amendment to “enact laws to establish, operate, and regulate State lotteries”); May v. Daniels, 359 Ark. 100, 194 S.W.3d 771 (2004) (declining to interpret language of non-self-executing proposals).
[30]The separation of powers doctrine is embodied in Ark. Const. art. 4, §§ 1 and 2.
[31]Bradley v. Hall, 220 Ark. 925, 927, 251 S.W.2d 470, 471 (1952).
[32]May v. Daniels, note 6 supra, 359 Ark. at 116, 194 S.W.3d at 783.
[33]Dust v. Riviere, 277 Ark. 1, 4, 638 S.W.2d 663, 665 (1982). See also Scott v. Priest, 326 Ark. 328, 932 S.W.2d 746 (1996).
[34]Christian Civic Action Committee, 318 Ark. at 248, 884 S.W.2d at 609.
[35]See Kurrus, 342 Ark. at 444, 29 S.W.3d at 674 (internal citations omitted) (“Placing the voter in a position of either having to be an expert in the subject of [the proposal] or having to guess as to the effect his or her vote would have is impermissible.”).
[36]See, e.g., ProAssurance Indem. Co. v. Metheny, 2012 Ark. 461, 15, 425 S.W.3d 689, 698 (2012) (“We are cognizant of [the appellant’s] argument that this court[] ... created a substantive right with regard to allocation of liability. But, we do not interpret our holding in that case as broadly as [the appellant] does.”).
[37]Wilson v. Martin, note 10 supra, 2016 Ark. 334, *9, 500 S.W.3d 160, 167.
[38]Note 22 and accompanying text supra.
[39]Ark. Const. art. 5, § 1 is the codification of the initiative and referendum amendment to the constitution, which is sometimes referred to as “Amendment 7.”
[40]With regard to the right of the initiative, the Court has observed: “There can be no doubt that the power reserved to the people in the Initiative and Referendum Amendment, Amendment 7 to the Arkansas Constitution of 1874, is a cornerstone of our state’s democratic government.” Parker v. Priest, 326 Ark. 123, 133, 930 S.W.2d 322, 328 (1996) (further quoting the statement in Dust v. Riviere, note 32 supra, 277 Ark. at 4, 638 S.W.2d at 665, that “the voters of this state essentially have, within constitutional limits, a right to change any law or any provision of our Constitution they deem appropriate through Amendment 7 to the Constitution.”).
[41]Ark. Code Ann. § 7-9-107(c).