Fayetteville Law Firm | Booneville Law Firm
CALL US: (479) 935-8313
1-888-274-8466

Everything you need to know about Arkansas’s Issue 1

What is ISSUE 1?

Vote NO on Issue 1Before amending the Arkansas Constitution with, first listen to its purpose:

We, the People of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government; for our civil and religious liberty; and desiring to perpetuate its blessings, and secure the same to ourselves and posterity; do ordain and establish this Constitution.

But Issue 1 (which would become the 95th Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution) actually hurts the civil liberty of the People of the State of Arkansas and corrupts Arkansas’s long-standing form of government by tipping the balance of power to the whim of the legislature.

Issue 1 does three things.  

A shortened version of the Ballot Title that will appear on ballots in November is as follows:

A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT LIMITING CONTINGENCY FEES AND AWARDS OF PUNITIVE AND NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES; AND CHANGING THE POWERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND THE SUPREME COURT REGARDING RULES OF PLEADING, PRACTICE, AND PROCEDURE.

The Arkansas Bar Association is opposing Issue 1 on the first ground – Rulemaking. Other organizations believe all three of those things — limiting contingency fees, limiting damages, and taking rule-making authority away from the courts — are bad for Arkansas.

1. Rule-making

Issue 1 upsets the careful checks and balances among the three branches of our government.

The Arkansas Supreme Court makes the rules for Arkansas Courts (such as, the Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules of Civil Procedure, Jury Instructions, and Rules of Evidence).  The Court has the expertise to write these rules. Issue 1 takes that power and gives it to the Legislature. That’s a bad idea.

The Court’s rule-making power is not influenced by campaign contributions or special interests.   Changes to the rules are carefully developed, debated, and amended by several committees of judges and lawyers and then published for public comment.  The rules are the product of experience and the needs of the court system, not political deals.

Issue 1 poisons the Court’s rule-making process by shifting it to a legislative committee where lobbyists and special interests dominate the process.

Issue 1 creates the real possibility that a well-connected individual or company can re-write the rules (in their favor) in the middle of the game.

2. Damages

Issue 1 takes the power to award damages away from local juries made up of ordinary citizens.   It caps the value of a human life at an arbitrary figure, regardless of the value that a jury may place on a life.

Issue 1 caps the amount of punitive damages a jury can award, no matter how bad the conduct or how evil the wrong-doer may be.

3. Attorney Fees

Issue 1 takes aim at lawyers by capping certain attorney fees.  Regardless of how you feel about lawyers and their fees, that’s a terrible idea.  Who’s next? Plumbers? Barbers? Why should the Constitution bother with restricting the right to contract between consumers and any professional?  

What do I do?

Constitutions are rightly revered.  Constitutions are the foundation of our State and National government.  Constitutions aren’t perfect, but by design they are difficult to change to protect citizen rights.  Don’t let special interests dilute your rights. Vote NO on Issue 1.

Leave a Reply

News

Fayetteville Law Office

(479) 935-8313

909 Rolling Hills Dr.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Booneville Law Office

(479) 935-8060

4 Village Loop
Booneville, AR 72927

Consumer Ratings