Notice Regarding Proposed Action at the June 16, 2017 Meeting of the Arkansas Bar Association House of Delegates

By Ms. Denise Hoggard posted 05-16-2017 03:59 PM


LITTLE ROCK, AR (May 15, 2017) – Today, I notified the association membership that a proposed initiated constitutional amendment will be considered June 16 by the House of Delegates during the 2017 Annual Meeting in Hot Springs.  A copy of the proposed amendment is being provided to the membership for its review.  The House of Delegates is the Association’s policy making body.  The Association’s rules require 2/3rds of the House vote to support or oppose any proposed constitutional amendment.

The proposed amendment is comprised of five key provisions on ethics and good government.  They are as follows:

(1)  Requiring standards be adopted relating to establish increased transparency in campaign contributions and campaign expenditures;

(2)  Prohibition of local and special acts where legislators direct how appropriated funds are spent, the approval process for spending or who is to receive the funds;

(3)  Increase the threshold from a simple majority to two-thirds of votes to override a gubernatorial veto;

(4)  Retaining in the Arkansas Supreme Court authority to make procedural, pleading and practice rules, retaining to juries the authority to decide damages to be paid, and retaining in the public the freedom to contract with attorneys as they choose; and

(5)  Returning to the Governor authority for administrative regulations.

The Association’s Legislation Committee has reviewed the proposed initiated amendment and unanimously it is recommending the House of Delegates support the amendment.  Our state-wide Bar Association was established in 1898 and has a rich tradition of serving the profession, the judiciary, the state, and the fair administration of justice exercising its efforts in the public’s interest.  The ingenious founding fathers for our nation divided power three ways to ensure that ultimate power resided in three words – “We the People.”  The proposed amendment is directed towards restoring or protecting the balance of power in Arkansas between the three branches of government.   It is also directed to promoting that the people of the state retain ultimate authority.

Historically, the Association has worked in partnership with the Arkansas Judicial Council on issues which face the judicial system.  We have reviewed this proposed amendment with the Judicial Council President Judge David Guthrie.  s always, it is the intention of the Association to harness the legal skills of Arkansas attorneys for the benefit of our state.

The Association is a non-profit organization that relies upon the volunteerism of our state’s attorneys to accomplish its goals.  As one of the Association’s volunteers, Scott Trotter drafted the proposed amendment.