BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Arkansas Gubernatorial Power When Governor is Absent from State Amendment, also known as Issue 2, is on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Arkansas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, meaning members of the state legislature referred the issue.
As is, Amendment 6 of the Arkansas Constitution, approved in 1914, states that when the governor of Arkansas is out of the state, the lieutenant governor takes over gubernatorial duties until the governor’s return. With the passage of Issue 2, the governor of Arkansas would keep their political authority over the state whether physically inside the state or traveling out of state.
A similar measure was brought before voters in 2012 and more than 54% of the vote rejected that proposed amendment. Issue 2 is being brought to voters over an issue that occurred in 2013 when then Governor Mike Beebe was out of state for a National Governors Association meetings. While away, Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr signed legislation into law that Governor Beebe opposed.
The current measure, known as Issue 2, was sponsored by Sen. Eddie Joe Williams in the Arkansas Legislature and is supported by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin. It passed through the Arkansas Legislature with only one opposing the issue.
Voting yes on Issue 2 will allow Arkansas governors to keep their political authority while out of state. Voting no on Issue 2 will support continuing to allow the lieutenant governor to have political authority while the governor is away.
For more non-biased information on this year’s election, go to www.uaex.edu/business-communities/voter-education/state-ballot-issues.aspx.