THV11's Guide to the 2016 Election: Candidates and ballot measures explained

A look at Issue 6 and Issue 7's disqualification.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The 20 months of campaigning and canvassing will all culminate on November 8. 

While the presidential campaign has been equal parts informative, outlandish, and entertaining, it is not the only issue on the ballot. 

When you walk into the voting both you will see Arkansans running for senator, mayor, sheriff, school board, and city council alongside the presidential candidates.  You will also see multiple amendments to the state constitution, such as expanding the governor’s executive power and the legalization of medical marijuana. 

These positions and issues will affect your life as much as (or more than) whomever is elected president.  To be an informed voter is to understand who and what you are voting for. Please vote. 

Early voting starts October 24 and lasts through Election Day on November 8.  For more information on voting, including where to vote, visit the Secretary of State's website.

 

Select an issue below to learn more:

Donald Trump // Hillary Clinton 

Senate Race // 1st District // 2nd District // 3rd District // 4th District

Issue 1 // Issue 2 // Issue 3 // Issue 6 // Issue 7

 

Party affiliation played no role in the compiling of this guide.  At points, a candidate will have more information than their opponents.  This is not an endorsement, but rather a reflection of the information available; some candidates, understandably, have longer records than others.

 

Donald Trump and Mike Pence

 Republican nominees

Donald Trump announced his campaign on June 16, 2015 with the promise to “Make America Great Again.”  As a real estate developer and business leader, he promised to rebuild the United States' infrastructure, military, factory labor force, and status aboard. 

Trump has run with an explicit disdain for “political correctness.”  He claims that his background, which includes zero elected or representative government experience, uniquely positions him to succeed as president.  If elected, Trump would be the first president elected without having any prior political experience since Dwight D. Eisenhower.  However, unlike Eisenhower, Trump has never held a position outside of his family’s privately-held organization.  (Eisenhower was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe.)

 

Issues 

Select an issue below to learn more about Trump's stances:

Immigration // Abortion // Foreign Policy // Same Sex Marriage

Healthcare // Taxes // Guns // Climate Change

 

Immigration

Trump began his presidential campaign by stating, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” He later clarified that he was referring to portions of the illegal immigrant population, not all immigrants from Mexico. 

Trump has also called for a wall on the United States' southern border.  He claims that “Mexico will pay for the wall.”  However, he was recently clarified that the United States will build the wall, then will be reimbursed by Mexico.  Numerous federal agencies, engineers, and land experts have raised questions about the implementation of his proposed border wall.  Trump himself has offered multiple, conflicting estimates of the wall’s potential cost.

He also has proposed a temporary ban on all immigration from countries “that sponsor terrorism” regardless of whether or not the individual immigrants have any history of terrorism.  He originally called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”   A religious test (which would be required to determine if individual immigrant is Muslim) is likely prohibited under the United States Constitution.

 

Abortion

Trump has stated that he is pro-life, saying, “I am opposed to abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother. I oppose the use of government funds to pay for abortions.”

Trump has also said that he plans to nominate Supreme Court justices that will “overturn” Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s decision that affirmed female citizens have the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.  

 

Foreign policy

Trump, like many presidential candidates, has been relatively and purposefully vague on his potential foreign policy.  He claims that his foreign policy “will be singularly focused on making America safe again by destroying radical Islamic terrorist groups.”

He has also stated that he will “absolutely bring back waterboarding,” a form of torture that was banned by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Trump as also expressed his disdain for the Iran Nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to redesign, convert, and reduce its nuclear facilities in order to lift all nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets.  Trump called it the “worse deal ever negotiated.”  And he claimed that it gave Iran the ability to create nuclear weaponry, which the drafters of the agreement claim is not true.

Trump has also claimed that he would not commit ground troops to the conflict in Syria.

 

Same-sex marriage

Trump has stated that Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision that affirmed same-sex’s couples’ right to marry, should have been decided by the states.  However, Trump has not promised to appoint Supreme Court justices that would overturn the case.

The ruling also nullifies many state constitutions that define marriage as a union between a man and woman.  This includes Arkansas’ state constitution, in which Amendment 3 makes it unconstitutional to grant a marriage license or civil union to a same-sex couple.  (This was approved by Arkansas voters in 2004 with a 75% - 25% vote.)

 

Healthcare

Trump has proposed a policy of “repelling and replacing Obamacare,” also known the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  However, it is not clear how the transition would go between the current healthcare system and Trump’s proposed plan.

He has said that he would rather have a policy that promotes completion in the healthcare marketplace.  He claims that if multiple insurance companies existed in the same market, the companies would have to offer lower deductibles and more comprehensive coverage. 

Trump has said that he would like to keep the ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions, which was a policy from the Affordable Care Act.  He has not offered a clear policy on if adults under 26 would be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance, which is allowed under the Affordable Care Act. 

 

Taxes

Trump has proposed an overhaul of both corporate and individual tax brackets.  He offered to cut business rate to 15%, which currently stands at 35%.  The nonpartisan Tax Foundation has cited the Untied States’ corporate tax as the third-highest in the world, behind only United Arab Emirates and Puerto Rico.

He also proposes to reduce individual rates to three brackets of 12%, 25%, and 33%, with a 0% rate “for many.”  He original claimed that individuals making less than $25,000 a year or families making less than a combined $50,000 would pay 0% in taxes, but he later abandoned that plan.

He also proposes to add an above-the-line deduction for childcare costs, including for stay-at-home parents.  He also has proposed eliminating the estate tax.

According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would reduce federal revenue by between $4.4 trillion and $5.9 trillion on a static basis. 

 

Guns

Trump has often strongly announced his support of the Second Amendment, which gives citizens the right to bear arms.  He has received the endorsement of and campaign advertising funds from the National Rifle Association, more commonly known by its initials, NRA. 

He has stated that there should be no ban and assault rifles, because “law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice.”  However, in his 2000 book, The American We Deserve, he had a deferring position, stating, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

He has not advocated a position on whether or not to close the gun show loophole, which allows private citizens to sell firearms at a gun show or other venue without asking for identification or conducting a background check, as long as “they do not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms.”

Trump has also proposed tougher prosecutions of violent criminals, expanding mental health programs, and keeping "the violent mentally ill off of our streets,” as ways for decreasing the increase in gun violence.

 

Climate change

Trump has called for investing in the nation’s aging infrastructure in order to provide cleaner water to citizens.  He also proposed to continue the Environmental Protection Agency restrictions on “natural land” development.  But he did criticize the EPA and the Obama administration for tough restrictions on off-shore drilling. 

In September, Trump told CNN that he believes in “clean air, immaculate air,” but he said he does not believe in “climate change.”  In November 2012, Trump tweeted that China had invented the notion of climate change to inhibit the manufacturing industry in the United States.

 

 

In 2014, the nonpartisan Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that scientists were more than 95% positive that global warming, also referred to in the report as “climate change,” is being caused by human activities. 

 

Controversies

Both major political party candidates have numerous controversies surrounding their campaigns, our guide offers two brief examples below.  For more information on Trump’s controversies, please see The Atlantic’s expansive article.

Trump University

In 2005, Trump founded a for-profit education company, offering “graduate programs, post graduate programs, and doctorate programs” in real estate development. However, Trump University was never accredited, meaning it never conferred actual degrees to its graduates.  Even referring to itself as a “university” was illegal, as any university or college in New York must obtain a state charter before beginning operations.

In an advertisement for Trump University, Trump claimed that had “handpicked” the instructors for the courses.  However, Trump gave a deposition in 2012 stating that he had never selected any of the instructors.

In August 2013, the State of New York filed a $40 million lawsuit against Trump University, citing its use of “illegal business practices and false claims.”  In October 2014, a New York judge found Trump personal liable after operating the business without a state charter.  Trump also faces two additional lawsuits, which will last past the November election.

 

Access Hollywood tape

A recording of Trump and former Access Hollywood host, Billy Bush, making lewd comments about women was leaked to The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, who had been investing Trump’s alleged charitable donations. 

 In the tape, Trump can be heard bragging about his sexual exploits with various women.  He described his unsuccessful attempt to sleep with a married woman and explained that even he attempted to trade sexual favors in exchange for taking her furniture shopping.  He said that years later he saw the woman again and said, “She’s now got the big phony ti** and everything.  She’s totally changed her look.”

He went on to describe how he utilizes his fame to kiss and grope women without their consent, which is a crime and the definition of sexual assault.  In the tape, he said, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.” Bush added, “Whatever you want.”

Trump then stated his fame allowed women to “grab them by the pu***,” gloating that he “could do anything."  He did issue an apology, but did not admit that these actions are against the law.  Moreover, he attempted to dismiss the issue, referring to the language as nothing more than “locker-room talk.”  

 

Mike Pence

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, is currently Indiana’s first-term governor.  He previously served in the United States House of Representatives from Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. 

As a congressman, Pence opposed Bush’s education policy, No Child Left Behind, and the Medicare prescription drug expansion (also known was Medicare Part D), which subsides prescription drugs and drug insurance for those on Medicare.  While there are benefits to Part D, including that many citizens that rely on its coverage, the program has faced criticism because it prohibits the federal government from negotiating prices of prescription drugs.  Many critics claim this increases the program’s cost. 

He also supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normal trade relations with China, and bilateral free-trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, Panama, Peru, Oman, Chile, and Singapore.  All are international trade agreements that Trump has repeatedly said cost the United States manufacturing jobs.

In 2012, Pence was elected governor against Democrat John R. Gregg.  As governor, Pence refused to compile with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (which placed a limit on greenhouse gases levels from power plants), signed Senate Bill 98 into law (which limited lawsuits against gun and ammunition manufactures and sellers), and signed Senate Bill 101 (or Religious Freedom Restoration Act) into law. 

Senator Bill 101 originally would have allowed companies and individuals to refuse services to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities.  After widespread criticism, Pence eventually revised the bill to prevent potential discrimination.  

 

 

 

 Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine

Democratic nominees

After her failed 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton accepted Obama’s offer to serve as his Secretary of State.  She had previously served as the junior senator from New York from 2000 to 2008.  She also served as the First Lady of both Arkansas and the United States, as the wife of former Arkansas governor and President, Bill Clinton. 

Clinton is also the first female senator from New York and the first female presidential nominee from either major political party.  If she were to be elected, she would also serve as the first female president in the nation’s history. 

She is often labeled as “hawkish” by her critics (both on the left and right of the political spectrum), because for willingness to support military action.  She not only voted for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, but also advocated a strong military response in Libya during the Arab Spring. 

She also has been a longstanding advocate for women and women’s rights.  However, her comments to and about the women accusing her husband of sexual misconduct have often been criticized.  Clinton has remained one of the most respected and confounding politicians in the United States.

 

 Issues

Select an issue below to learn more about Clinton's stances:

Immigration // Abortion // Foreign Policy // Same Sex Marriage

Healthcare // Taxes // Guns // Climate Change

 

 

Immigration

Clinton supports not only amnesty, but also a full pathway to citizenship for immigrants that are in the country illegally.  She maintains that any immigration policy that does not include an opportunity for citizenship would be unfeasible.  She has also stated that she would create the first federally operated Office of Immigrant Affairs in her administration. 

She has promised to introduce immigration legislation within her first 100 days of office.  Her policy is often considered to be in line with the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (also known as the “Gang of Eight” bill), which passed the Senate but failed in the House of Representatives.  She also supports Obama’s executive orders on immigration that shielded millions of children and families that are in the country illegally from deportation action.  The Supreme Court blocked his actions in a 4-4 split vote.

In September 2015, Clinton said in a Face the Nation interview that Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees was a good start, but the United States needed to do more.  She suggested that the number should increase to 65,000.  She has not yet offered a complete plan to address the issue though. 

 

Abortion

Clinton has long been a supporter of a woman’s constitutional right to receive an abortion.  She has promised that she will continue to support both publicly and financially the nation’s Planned Parenthood clinics, which not only provide reproductive services, such as abortion, but also other medical needs like sexual transmitted infection testing.

Her position on late-term abortions is less clear, however.  While she has said that some third-trimester abortions should be permitted, Clinton has also proposed some regulations on abortions that occur towards the end of the final trimester.   In a Meet the Press interview in September 2015 she said “there can be restrictions in the very end of the third trimester, but they have to take into account the life and health of the mother.”  

 

Foreign policy

Compared to Obama, her policy could be described as more interventionist.  Clinton has often favored policies that involve military action, whereas he relies more on diplomatic resolutions.  As Secretary of State, she sided with military advisers calling for an “Afghanistan surge,” which suggested 40,000 more troops on the ground with no public timetable for withdrawal.  She eventually agreed with Obama to reduce the number to 30,000 and announce a withdrawal date.  

However, that is not to say that she will not utilize diplomacy.  In October 2009, she—along with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey—signed the historic Turkish-Armenia peace accord in Switzerland.  The deal not only established a working diplomatic relationship, but it also opened the border between the hostile nations.  The deal had many Armenian critics as it did not force Turkey to acknowledge the killings of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I as genocide.  Clinton said in her 2008 campaign that if elected president she would label the Turkish actions as genocide.

 

Same-sex marriage

Clinton publicly announced support for same-sex marriage in 2013, following more than a decade of opposition.  While she has supported civil unions since her husband’s administration, she has repeatedly expressed that marriage “has always been between a man and a woman.”   Many critics have seen her evolution on the issue as act of political maneuvering, because her support came after a majority of citizens supported the issue.  In June 2014, NPR’s Terry Gross pressed Clinton about her changing positions.  Clinton claimed she thought “it's good if people continue to change.” 

During the 2016 campaign, Clinton said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show that she originally supported her husband signing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as between a man and woman and allowed states to ban same-sex marriage.  She claimed, inaccurately, that her husband signed DOMA in order to ward off a Constitutional Amendment that would ban gay marriage.

As Secretary of State, Clinton did add gender identity to the State Department's Equal Employment Opportunity policy and made it easier for Americans to change their sex on their passport.  She also gave a speech at the headquarters of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva with the goal of placing LGBT rights in the international community's framework of human rights.  She received praise for including transgender as a group that requires protection from discrimination.

 

Healthcare

She has said that she will continue to support the Affordable Healthcare Act, but has acknowledged its failures.  As deductibles continue to rise and many citizens have only one healthcare provider to choose from, she has called for reform.   She has proposed expanding tax credits for individuals shopping on personal marketplaces, letting citizens buy into Medicare at an earlier age, and adding a “public option,” which is a government-run insurance plan.  She also wants to expand Medicaid and Medicare on a state level to increase funding for low-income and elderly citizens.

Clinton attempted to reform the healthcare system in 1994 as First Lady, but the measure failed in Congress.  However, with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah, she was able to secure funding for State Children's Health Insurance Program.  The program covers uninsured children in families with moderate incomes that are too low to obtain affordable insurance and too high to qualify for Medicaid. 

 

 Taxes

Clinton has promised to raise taxes on the top earners in the United States.  She has proposed creating a 4% “surcharge” on high-income taxpayers, which would add a marginal tax rate of 43.6% for taxable income over $5 million.  She has also promised to not raise taxes on “middle class” citizens, but has not specified what would qualify as “middle-class.”

Clinton also proposed raising the estate tax rate to 45% and reduce its exemption level to $3.5 million.  The nonpartisan Tax Foundation concluded that Clinton’s tax plan would “reduce the economy’s size by 1 percent in the long run" and would lead to "0.8% lower wages, a 2.8% smaller capital stock, and 311,000 fewer full-time equivalent jobs.”

 

Guns

Clinton has proposed numerous actions to curb gun violence and the sale of guns.  She has proposed closing the “gun show loophole,” which allows private citizens to sell guns at a gun show or other venue without asking for identification or conducting a background check.  She has also publicly supported the “No-Fly, No Buy” restriction currently in Congress.  This bill would bar anyone on the federal No-Fly list or terror watchlist from buying a gun.  However, many have claimed the No-Fly List includes many citizens unfairly, as the list is not comprehensive, inaccurate, and difficult to get off.  She also proud maintains an “F” rating from the NRA.

Clinton has also has repeatedly cited that 33,000 citizens die a year from gun violence.  While statically true, her calculation does not cite that difference between gun-related homicides and gun-involved suicides, which can be seen as misleading. Her critics claim that her proposals would not stop gun-related suicide effectively.  Although, she had repeatedly called for an overhaul in mental healthcare to combat the issue. 

 

Climate change

She has publicly stated that she both believes in climate change and supports measures to limit greenhouse gase emissions.  She has proposed banning off-shore drilling in the Arctic region of the United States.  She also proposed ending the corporate tax cuts that oil and gas companies have often received the past administrations.

 

 

Her Democratic primary opponent, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, has criticized her position on fracking.  The EPA considers hydraulic fracking to extract natural gas as clean energy; however, many environmental groups claim it causes methane leaks, earthquakes, and contamination of clean water.  As Secretary of State, Clinton used her position to advocate the practice.  She launched the Global Shale Gas Initiative, which encouraged other countries to explore shale as an energy source.

She has also proposed investing in clean energy jobs to decrease the nation’s usage of oil and coal; however, she has not announced the details of her plan.

 

Controversies

Both major political party candidates have numerous controversies surrounding their campaigns, our guide offers two brief examples below.  For more information on Clinton’s controversies, please see The Atlantic’s expansive article.

Clinton Foundation

The Clinton family founded the nonprofit corporation in 1997 to “"strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.”  However, there have been many, credible accusations that the donors to the foundation have received special treatment.

Clinton agreed to separate herself from the foundation after accepting the Secretary of State position; however, both Bill and Chelsea Clinton stayed active in the foundation.  The Associated Press has reported that more than of half of the non-governmental parties Clinton met with as Secretary of State were donors to the Clinton Foundation.

While the story failed to detail any special treatment the individuals may have received, the meeting along with the released emails from her personal email server (see The Atlantic’s article for discussion of her email server controversy) show that Clinton likely breached her ethics agreement.  

Clinton has maintained that the over $2 billion raised by the Clinton Foundation has gone to humanitarian work, which is mostly true.  However, she has refused to acknowledge her alleged blurring of the lines between her foundation and governmental office.  Her longtime aide, Huma Abedin was even simultaneously employed by both the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. 

 

Benghazi Embassy attacks

The United States Embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked on September 11, 2012.  The attack left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and another State Department employee dead.  Militants also attacked a nearby CIA annex with mortar fire, killing two American security personnel engaged who was battling the attackers.

Clinton, as head of the State Department at the time, was charged with not providing adequate security for the facility.  Clinton did take responsibility for the lack of proper security, but stopped short of saying she lied about the reason for the attack.

Republican critics claim that Clinton initially said that the cause of the attack was an anti-Islam video that surfaced online days before the attack.  Clinton did cite the video as a possible cause, but it was then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice who publicly cited the video as the reason for the attack.  During a House of Representatives investigation, the Select Committee on Benghazi discovered Clinton’s private email server, which contained emails referring to the attack.

 

Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, is the current first-term senator from and former governor of Virginia.  He previously served as mayor of Richmond, Virginia and lieutenant governor. 

As governor, he opposed Bush’s No Child Left Behind, claiming it was “wreaking havoc on local school districts.”  He also formed the Climate Change Commission, a bipartisan panel to study climate change issues.  However, he did support a coal-fired power plant project in Wise County, clashing with environmentalists who opposed the project.  Kaine claimed it was necessary to provide energy and vital jobs to Virginia workers. 

He has historically supported some restrictions on abortion, such as limiting late-term abortions if the woman’s health is not at risk.  He has also offered an increase in adoption programs as an alternative to the abortion of unwanted pregnancies.

As a senator, he voted against the Keystone Pipeline and supported fracking.  He has also supported off-shore drilling, citing the cost-benefit of oil extraction.

Kaine joined with Republican Senator John McCain from Arizona to propose the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, which would allow Congress to consult with the president on the deployment of military forces.   He also argued that the war against ISIS conducted by Obama was unconstitutional without a vote by Congress, a position that Clinton disagrees with.

He also voted to fast-track Obama authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  However, he has now altered his position to align with Clinton, saying he opposes the agreement.  

 

 Arkansas voters will also find the following candidates and political parties represented on the presidential ballot:

 Darrell Lane Castle and Scott Bradley (Constitution)

 Evan McMullin and Nathan Johnson (Better for America)

 Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka (Green)

 Lynn S. Kahn and Kathleen Monahan (Independent)

 Jim Hedges and Bill Bayes (Independent)

 Gary Johnson and Bill Weld (Libertarian)

 

 

 

John Boozman

Republican incumbent

John Boozman served five terms in the House of Representatives from Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District.  He first assumed office after then-representative Asa Hutchinson was selected as head of the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

As a congressman, Boozman was the lead author of Stop Marketing Illegal Drugs to Minors Act, a bill that would have increased penalties on criminals who design and market drugs, such as candy-flavored meth.  The bill was introduced the House without a vote and was then referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.  In 2006, Congress passed Boozman’s provision for an expanded role for drug courts in efforts to reduce drug abuse and recidivism.

In September 2004, Boozman voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  The amendment did not pass.

He also voted against the Affordable Health Care Act, claiming that the bill would do more harm than good.  In April 2009, Boozman voted against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which sought to define crimes committed against an individual because of that individual's sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes. Boozman stated that he "opposed this legislation because it creates a new federal offense for so-called ‘hate crimes, and adds a special class crimes potentially motivated by the victims ‘sexual orientation, 'gender identity,' or the ‘perceived' thoughts of the alleged criminal.”  The act passed in the House of Representatives. 

He ran against Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln and was elected as senator in 2012.  

In September 2012, Boozman voted to block the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, even though Boozman partially authored the bill.  The law would have established a $1 billion Veterans Jobs Corps, during a time when then unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was 10.9%.  The bill failed to pass, receiving 58 votes for and 40 against; it required 60 for passage.

In February 2013, Boozman voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act.  The law has attempted to improve the criminal justice response to violence against women and ensure that victims and their families have access to safety and programs that hope to rebuild their lives. The bill passed by a 78 - 22 margin in the Senate.

On December 11, 2014, Boozman voted “yea” on Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s point of order declaring the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (commonly known as the "cromnibus" bill) to be unconstitutional because it funded Obama's executive order shielding children who are undocumented immigrants from deportation.  However, he then voted for the bill, which he had moments before declared unconstitutional.  

 

Conner Eldridge

Democrat

In 1999, Conner Eldridge served as a legislative correspondent for then-senator Lincoln, focusing primarily on agriculture issues.  He was later confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.  He was originally nominated to the position by Obama.

Eldridge has been seen as an aggressive prosecutor of child abusers and drug traffickers.  If elected to the Senate, he proposed to introduce legislation that would increase the maximum sentence for child predators, including first-time offenders, to life in prison.  This would include criminals who sexually abuse children and those criminals who produce images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

While a proponent of the Second Amendment, Eldridge has proposed increasing the enforcement of current gun laws preventing criminals and mentally ill from purchasing guns.  He has openly disagreed with Obama executive actions on guns, but also has blamed Congress for inaction. 

Because he has no legislative or electoral experience, he has no congressional voting record nor has introduced or sponsored any bills in Congress.

 

1st Congressional District

 

 

 

Rick Crawford

Republican incumbent 

Rick Crawford has served Arkansas’ 1st Congressional District since 2011 and has been reelected twice in both 2012 and 2014.  He is the first Republican to represent the district since the Civil War Reconstruction era. 
 
In 2010, Crawford signed a pledge with the Americans for Prosperity organization, promising to vote against any global warming o climate change legislation that would raise taxes.
 
On January 18, 2013, Crawford introduced the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act.  The act was designed to "ease the burden placed on farmers and ranchers.”  It would require the EPA to modify the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule to allow farmers have oil spill prevention plan approved by a professional engineer rather than the EPA directly.  The bill passed the House and was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works in the Senate. 

Crawford also voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which has attempted to improve the criminal justice response to violence against women and ensured that victims and their families have access to safety and programs that hope to rebuild their lives.  The bill passed the House, 286 - 138.

In 2015, he voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization.  It did offer some strict exceptions for abortions after 20 weeks,  if the woman’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is a result of a rape (but it did require the woman receive consultation 48 hours prior to the procedure and required minors to report the rape to law enforcement agencies prior to the procedure).  The bill passed the House with a 242 - 184 vote; however, it was removed from consideration in the Senate.

He also voted to fact-track Obama’s authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  He was one of the 191 Republican to vote for the measure.

 

Mark West

 Libertarian

Mark West has served as the corporate office manager for Mechanical Construction Services, Inc. in Newark, Arkansas.

He has proposed defunding the Department of Education and allowing local school districts to administer funding and educational programs to schools; he has suggested that the Department of Education is “unconstitutional.”  He has also advocated eliminating the income tax. 

He has advocated in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana and releasing non-violent drug offenders that are currently held in prison. 

Because he has no legislative or electoral experience, he has no congressional voting record nor has introduced or sponsored any bills in Congress.

 

2nd Congressional District

 

 

 

French Hill

Republican incumbent

French Hill previously served as Bush’s executive secretary to the Economic Policy Council and as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for Corporate Finance.  He decided to run for the Arkansas 2nd Congressional District after Tim Griffin ran for Lieutenant Governor.  In 2015, he defeated Democrat Pay Hays, the North Little Rock mayor.

In 2015, he voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization.  It did offer some strict exceptions for abortions after 20 weeks, such as allowing an abortion if the woman’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is a result of a rape (but it did require the woman receive consultation 48 hours prior to the procedure and required minors to report the rape to law enforcement agencies prior to the procedure).  The bill passed the House with a 242 - 184 vote; however, it was removed from consideration in the Senate.

He also voted to fact-track Obama’s authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  He was one of the 191 Republican to vote for the measure.

 

Dianne Curry

Democrat

Dianne Curry is a three-term former-member of the Little Rock School Board.  She previously ran for Arkansas’ Lieutenant Governor in 2014, but lost the democratic primary to John Burkhalter, who eventual lost to Griffin.  If elected, she would have been the first African-American to win a statewide election in Arkansas.

She is a retired state employee and has proposed to increase funding for the pre-school program.  She has also promised to persevere Social Security and Medicare funding.  

 

Chris Hayes 

Libertarian

Chris Hayes is a member of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas leadership.  He previously ran for the 2nd congressional district in 2012 against Tim Griffin, but lost.  In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran for Arkansas Treasurer.

Hayes has said that he not only opposes a $15 an hour minimum wage, but also any mandated minimum wage.  He claims that the free market should determine labor wages.

Because he has no legislative or electoral experience, he has no congressional voting record nor has introduced or sponsored any bills in Congress.

 

3rd Congressional District

 

 

Steve Womack

 Republican incumbent

Steve Womack assumed office in 2011 after Boozman was elected to the Senate.  He defeated Democrat David Whitaker in the 3rd Congressional District election.  He previously served as the mayor of Rogers, Arkansas for 17 years.

In 2010, Womack signed a pledge with the Americans for Prosperity organization, promising to vote against any global warming or climate change legislation that would raise taxes.

In 2011, Womack filed an amendment to a spending bill as an attempt to defund Obama's teleprompter.  The measure was tabled without a vote.

In 2013, Womack introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, a bill that would allow states to charge and collect sales taxes on internet purchases.  It was considered, but expired without enactment.  It was later referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial And Antitrust Law.

In 2015, he voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization.  It did offer some strict exceptions for abortions after 20 weeks, such as allowing an abortion if the woman’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is a result of a rape (but it did require the woman receive consultation 48 hours prior to the procedure and required minors to report the rape to law enforcement agencies prior to the procedure).  The bill passed the House with a 242 - 184 vote; however, it was removed from consideration in the Senate.

He also voted to fact-track Obama’s authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  He was one of the 191 Republican to vote for the measure.

 

Steve Issacson

Libertarian

Steve Isaacson has proposed instituting a “fair tax” that would have all individuals regardless of income pay the same tax rate.  He also has proposed repealing the Internal Revenue Service. 

He supports Issue 7 on the November ballot.

Because he has no legislative or electoral experience, he has no congressional voting record nor has introduced or sponsored any bills in Congress.

 

4th Congressional District 

 

 

Bruce Westerman

Republican incumbent

Before being elected the United State House of Representatives, Bruce Westerman served in the Arkansas state house of representatives, as the majority leader.  In 2015, he decided to run for Arkansas’ 4th Congressional District, seeking the position after Tom Cotton ran for Senate. 

As a state representative, he was the co-sponsor of legislation that would require photo identification to cast a ballot in Arkansas.  Then-governor Mike Beebe vetoed the bill, but it was overridden by a majority of votes in the state house of representatives.

He also co-sponsored legislation that banned abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.  Beebe veto the bill, and again his veto was overridden in the state house of representatives. 

Westerman co-sponsored legislation that would allow officials of universities and religious institutions to conceal-carry firearms.  He also voted to prohibit use of cell phones in school zones and voted to require the state driver’s license tests be administered only in the English.

As a United States Congressman, he voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization.  It did offer some strict exceptions for abortions after 20 weeks, such as allowing an abortion if the woman’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is a result of a rape (but it did require the woman receive consultation 48 hours prior to the procedure and required minors to report the rape to law enforcement agencies prior to the procedure).  The bill passed the House with a 242 - 184 vote; however, it was removed from consideration in the Senate.

Westerman also voted to fact-track Obama’s authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  He was one of the 191 Republican to vote for the measure.

 

Kerry Hicks 

Libertarian

Kerry Hicks maintains that the national budget deficit cannot be resolved without cutting defense spending.  He is also opposed to increasing taxes. 

Because he has no legislative or electoral experience, he has no congressional voting record nor has introduced or sponsored any bills in Congress.

 

Issues

 


 

Issue 1: Terms, election and eligibility of elected officials

Popular name: Proposing an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the terms, election and eligibility of elected officials

 A proposed amendment that would approve multiple changes to the Arkansas Constitution.  The Arkansas state legislature can place up to three proposed amendments to the state constitution on the general election ballot. This amendment was sponsored by Republican state representatives Jack Ladyman of Jonesboro and David Branscum of Marshall.

 

The amendment—

1.) Would expand the two-year terms to four-year terms for the following elected county officials: county judge, coroner, sheriff, treasurer, circuit clerk, county surveyor, county clerk, tax collector, surveyor. Justices of the peace and quorum courts would stay as two-year terms.

It would set no terms limits on how long and individual can serve in these positions.  It would start for those elected in 2018.

 

2.) Would prevent elected county officials from also being appointed or elected to “civil offices.”  The elected county officials effected would be the following: county judge, coroner, sheriff, treasurer, circuit clerk, county surveyor, county clerk, tax collector, surveyor, or Justices of the peace (quorum court members).

The amendment would define “civil office” as “an office created by law, with tenure, compensation, and duties fixed by law and a position that includes the taking an oath of office and the giving of a bond.”  Examples of these offices include: Board of Workforce Education, Board of Commissioners of a drainage improvement district, State Board of Pardons, School director, mayor, alderman, municipal judge, city attorney, county parks and recreation commissioner, deputy prosecuting attorney, and County Election Commission. 

More positions could be considered a “civic office” by the courts in the future and would be effected by this amendment.

 

3.) Would allow unopposed candidates to be elected without their name appearing on the ballot.

 

4.) Would define an “infamous crime,” and thus bar those who have been convicted of one from holding office.  It would define an “infamous crime as “a felony offense, an abuse of office as defined under Arkansas law, tampering as defined by Arkansas law, or a misdemeanor offense involving an act of deceit, fraud or false statement, including misdemeanor offenses related to the election process.

 

If passed the entirety of the amendment would go into effect on January 1, 2017.

 


Issue 2: Allowing the governor to retain power and duties when absent from the state

Popular name: A Constitutional Amendment to allow the governor to retain her or his powers and duties when absent from the state

A proposed amendment that would approve a change to the Arkansas Constitution.  The Arkansas state legislature can place up to three proposed amendments to the state constitution on the general election ballot. This amendment was sponsored by Republican state senator Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot.

The amendment would change the constitution to allow the governor to remain in power when traveling outside the state of Arkansas.  The phrase “absence from the state” would be deleted from Amendment 6 of the Arkansas Constitution, meaning the governor remains in charge when she or he leaves the state to travel to another state or country.

Amendment 6 currently states that the Arkansas lieutenant governor takes over when gone impeachment, removal from office, resignation, inability to discharge the powers and duties of the office, absence from the state, or death.  The lieutenant governor position was created in 1914 by Amendment 6. 

21 states have already passed similar laws; although, some define “absent” differently. In Alabama, the governor only retains power for up 20 days if absent, and in New Hampshire, the governor retains power if he or she is absent because of state-related business.  There is no specified definition of or restriction on “absent” within this proposed definition.

In 2002, Arkansas voters rejected a similar constitution amendment with a 55% - 45% vote.  The proposal would have given the Arkansas Supreme Court the authority to determine whether the governor was disabled or unable to lead. 

 

If passed the amendment would go into effect 30 days after the election.  

 

Issue 3: Job creation, job expansion and economic development

Popular name: An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning job creation, job expansion, and economic development.

A proposed amendment that would approve multiple changes to the Arkansas Constitution.  The Arkansas state legislature can place up to three proposed amendments to the state constitution on the general election ballot. This amendment was sponsored by Republican state senator Jon Woods and Republican state representative Lance Eads, both of Springdale.

The amendment has the stated intent to encourage job creation, job expansion, and economic development. It proposes modifications to Article 12 and Amendments 62 and 82.

 

If approved by voters, this amendment—

1.) Would remove the limitation on the amount of general obligation bonds the state may issue to pay for economic development projects. Amendment 82 currently states that bonds cannot exceed 5% of state general revenues from the most recent fiscal year. 

Currently, Amendment 82 allows the state to issue general obligation bonds to pay for infrastructure or other needs to attract large economic development.  In 2004, Arkansas voters approved the amendment with a 64% - 36% vote.

A general obligation bond is a certificate of debt issued by the state. And the government agrees to pay the pay debt over time with an agreed, fixed interest rate.  Typically, bonds are used on large capital project, such as roads and buildings.  The state legislator can approve general obligation bonds in a general or special session.  Once it is approved, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority issues the bonds. 

 

2.) Would allow a county, city, town, or other municipal corporation to obtain or provide money for other entities to support economic development projects or services.

The amendment would also the entities to obtain money from a private corporation, association, institution, or individual to finance economic development projects or provide economic development services.  This comes in response to ruling from a Pulaski County judge, which stated that Arkansas cities had been violating Article 12 of the state’s constitution, which prohibits municipal payments to private corporations.  Moreover, the judge ruled that the cities had been in violation since the 1990s. 

It will define the following terms:

  • “economic development project” as “land, buildings, furnishings, equipment, facilities, infrastructure and improvements”
  • economic development services” as “planning, marketing and strategic advice and counsel”
  •  “infrastructure” related to economic development projects and services to include: land acquisition, site preparation, road and highway improvements, rail spur, railroad and railport construction, water services, wastewater treatment, employee training and equipment to support it, and environmental mitigation or reclamation

The legislature will also be able to changes these definitions with a three-fourths vote.

 

3.) Would clarify the authority of counties and municipalities to issue bonds for economic development projects instead of industrial development purposes, which the constitution currently authorizes but does not define.  This would modify Amendment 62, which voters approved in 1984 with a 54% - 46% vote.

Amendment 62 currently gives cities and counties the authority to pay for “facilities for the securing and development of industry.”  However, the amendment does not define “industry.”

Counties and cities will still be required to hold election for voter approval before issuing bonds.  

 

4.) Would allow state legislators to authorize the use of other taxes (beyond special taxes) to pay off municipal and county bond debt.  This would also modify Amendment 62. 

It would also not allow the use of excess revenue tax revenues, collected past the amount needed to repay the bond issues, to be used for additional bonds.

The proposed amendment nor the Arkansas Constitution define “other taxes.”

 

5.) Would remove the requirement that municipal and county bonds may be sold only at public sale. This would modify Amendment 62 to allow a proposed bond to be sold privately or publicly.  Whether to sell the bond will be at the discretion the government entity. 

Currently, the proposed bonds must be listed in the newspaper, including when and how the bids will be accepted.  Private bond sales will not be required to publish a notice of sale.  Typically, private bonds are offered to a smaller number of investors.

 

6.) Would allow cities, towns, school districts and counties to form compacts for economic development projects.  It would modify Amendment 62 to expand the authority of cities, towns, school districts, and counties to enter compacts for economic development projects—which are defined in previous sections of this proposed amendment. 

A compact is a general agreement to share the costs and revenues associated with a specific economic development project. 

In order for the compact to be adopted, the governing quorum court, city council, or school board of each entity (a city, town, school district, or county) must agree not the terms, and the voters must approve the compact in a special election. 

 

If passed the amendment would go into effect 30 days after the election.  

 

Issue 4: Medical-injury lawsuits

REMOVED FROM BALLOT

Issue 4 will still be printed on many ballots, but no votes will count toward its approval.

It would have barred attorneys for charging clients more than 1/3 of the money received in medical injury lawsuits.  It would have also allowed the state legislature to establish a maximum dollar amount that people can receive in medical-injury lawsuits.

It was a constitution amendment sponsored by Heath Care Access for Arkansans.

Two lawsuits were filed against the proposal.  A special master appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court raised questions about the signature-gathering process, but justices said the term "non-economic damages" was not clear.

 

Issue 5: Authorizing three casinos

REMOVED FROM BALLOT

Issue 5 will still be printed on many ballots, but no votes will count toward its approval.

It would have authorized three casino gaming establishments, one in each of Boone, Miller, and Washington counties. 

It was a constitutional amendment sponsored by Arkansas Wins in 2016/Arkansas Winning Initiative.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the ballot title "does not honestly and accurately reflect what is contained in the proposed amendment.”

 

Medical Marijuana ballot measures

 

 

 

Issue 6: Medical marijuana amendment

Popular title: The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016

A proposed amendment that would approve multiple changes to the Arkansas Constitution.  The amendment is sponsored by Arkansas United for Medical Marijuana. 

 

If approved by voters, this amendment—

1.) Would make the regulated medical use of marijuana legal under Arkansas state law, while recognizing the drug remains illegal under federal law.

 

2.) Would establish a system for growing, acquiring, and distributing marijuana for medical purposes.  The amendment states that a dispensary could dispense up to 2.5 ounces to a qualifying patient or designated caregiver (see 4) in a 14-day period.

 

3.) Would identify medical conditions that qualify a person for using medical marijuana.  The medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana are separated into three categories. 

  • The first includes specific conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe arthritis,  fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The second includes “chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions or their treatments” that produce one or more of the following conditions: cachexia or wasting syndrome; peripheral neuropathy; intractable pain, which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months; severe nausea; seizures, including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
  • The third category are potential diseases, medical conditions, treatments that the Arkansas Department of Health approves as qualifying conditions.  The amendment grants the ADH the authority to add conditions as needed to the list.

 

4.) Would protect qualified patients, caregivers, growers, providers and doctors from arrest, prosecution, penalty or discrimination under Arkansas law. It does not offer protection from federal law.

Qualified participants could name a “caregiver,” and this person could obtain medical marijuana from any dispensary location.  To be named a “caregiver,” an individual must not have been convicted of a felony involving violence or substance abuse in the past 10 years.

The proposed amendment bans the use and possession of medical marijuana in public places, schools, daycares, colleges, community or recreation centers, on public transportation, in drug and alcohol treatment facilities, and in correctional facilities. It also forbids driving a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft under the influence of medical marijuana.

 

5.) Would direct the state ADH to establish rules related to medical access of marijuana and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to establish rules related to growing and selling marijuana for medical purposes. 

The amendment would require dispensaries to grow plants in enclosed, locked facilities. The proposal defines “enclosed, locked facility” as “a room, greenhouse or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by an authorized individual.”

Dispensaries could grow up to 50 mature plants at one time, and cultivation facilities could grow an amount to be determined by the Medical Marijuana Commission (see 6).

Qualifying participants will receive a “registry identification card” from the ADH.  Those under 18 would have to have written permission from parent/guardian/legal custodian.  The cards expire after a year or earlier, if the doctor determines it should. 

 

6.) Would establish the Medical Marijuana Commission to administer and regulate the licensing of cultivation and dispensary facilities.

The amendment requires there be at least 20, but not more than 40 dispensary licenses issued.  It also states that there shall be at least four but not more than eight cultivation facility licenses issued.  Moreover, no more than four dispensaries are permitted in any one county.

None of the owners, board members, officers or employees of a dispensary or cultivation facility could have been convicted of a felony involving violence or the violation of a substance-control law within the past 10 years.

A person would not be allowed to own an interest in more than one dispensary and one cultivation facility. People submitting an application to license a dispensary or cultivation facility must be current residents of Arkansas and have resided in the state for the previous seven years.  In addition, 60% of the facility’s ownership must be a current Arkansas resident and have resided in the state for the last seven years.

Doctors are prohibited from having an economic interest in a nonprofit cannabis care center if certifying people to qualify for medical marijuana, and no exams can take place at a location where cannabis is sold or distributed.

 

7.) Would allow cities and counties to enact zoning regulations that guide where dispensaries and cultivation facilities may locate, providing that the regulations are the same as those for a licensed pharmacy.

A dispensary could not be located within 1,500 feet of a public or private school, church, or daycare that existed before the date of the dispensary’s application.  Cultivation facilities could not locate within 3,000 feet of those buildings.

A city, incorporated town or county could prohibit dispensaries and cultivation facilities within their limits only if voters approve such a prohibition in a local election.

 

8.) Apply state and local taxes to the sale of medical marijuana and require that state tax revenues be used to offset the state’s cost of administering the law and be distributed to various state workforce and education programs.

  • 50% to the Department of Finance and Administration for grants to technical institutes and vocational-technical schools
  • 30% to the state General Revenue Fund
  • 10% to the Department of Career Education for workforce training programs
  • 5% to the Department of Health
  • 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration Division
  • 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division
  • 1% to the Medical Marijuana Commission

 

9.) Prohibit anyone other than a licensed dispensary or cultivation facility from growing marijuana for medical purposes.

This is a clear difference from Issue 7 and from the failed Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2012.  Issue 7 allows those that live 20 miles or more from a dispensary (or cannabis care center) to grow their own plants with certain restrictions. 

 

11.) Would permit legislators to change some sections of the amendment at a later date with a two-thirds vote.  Sections legalizing medical use of marijuana and the number of dispensaries and cultivation facilities could not be changed.

 

The Medical Marijuana Commission must begin accepting applications for licenses to operate a dispensary and cultivation facility no later than June 1, 2017.

 

Issue 7: Medical Cannabis Act

DISQUALIFIED FROM BALLOT
 

Issue 4 will still be printed on many ballots, but no votes will count toward its approval.

The Arkansas Supreme Court removed nearly 10,000 signatures from its ballot initiative, which then left the amendment 2,412 signatures shy of approval. 

 

Popular title: The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act

The proposed bill would create new laws in the state of Arkansas; however, the federal law would still prohibit the use or sell of medical marijuana.  This ballot measure is sponsored by Arkansans for Compassionate Care. 

Had it not been disqualified, this law—

1.) Would make the regulated medical use of marijuana legal under Arkansas state law, while recognizing the drug remains illegal under federal law.

 

2.) Would establish a system for growing, acquiring, and distributing marijuana for medical purposes.

A nonprofit cannabis care center or designated caregiver could dispense no more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana to a qualifying patient or designated caregiver in a 15-day period.

Nonprofit cannabis care centers could grow and possess whichever amount is greater: 100 cannabis plants, of which 50 may be mature or 10 cannabis plants (of which five may be mature) for each qualifying patient who has designated the center as his or her dispensary. 

The law would require patients, caregivers and dispensaries to grow plants in enclosed, locked facilities. The proposal defines “enclosed, locked facility” as “a closet, room, greenhouse or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a cardholder.”

Plants and harvested cannabis in varying stages of processing must be kept in these facilities unless they are being transported to a patient’s property.

3.) Would identify medical conditions that qualify a person for using medical marijuana.  The medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana are separated into three categories. 

  • The first includes specific conditions, including adiposis dolorosa (Dercum’s disease); Alzheimer’s disease or the agitation thereof; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); anorexia; Arnold-Chiari malformation; arthritis; asthma; attention de cit disorder/attention de cit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD); autism; bipolar disorder; bulimia; cancer; causalgia; chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP); chronic insomnia; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) – types 1 and II; Crohn’s disease; dystonia; emphysema;  fibrous dysplasia;  fibromyalgia; general anxiety disorder; glaucoma; hepatitis C; positive status for human immunodeficiency virus and/or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS); hydrocephalus; interstitial cystitis; lupus; migraines; myasthenia gravis; myoclonus; Nail-Patella syndrome; neurofibromatosis; Parkinson’s disease; posterior lateral sclerosis (PLS); post-concussion syndrome; post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); re ex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD); residual limb and phantom pain; restless leg syndrome (RLS); Sjogren’s syndrome; spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA); spinal cord injury and/or disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis); syringomelia; Tarlove cysts; Tourette’s syndrome; traumatic brain injury; ulcerative colitis; or the treatment of any of these conditions.
  • The second includes “chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions or their treatments” that produce one or more of the following conditions: cachexia or wasting syndrome; peripheral neuropathy; intractable pain, which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than three months; severe nausea; seizures, including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
  • The third category are potential diseases, medical conditions, treatments that the ADH approves as qualifying conditions.  The amendment grants the ADH the authority to add conditions as needed to the list.

 

4.) Would allow patients or their caregivers to grow marijuana for medical purposes if they live 20 or more miles away from a dispensary.  The person would have to apply for a license to grow the plant.

Qualified participants, who live more than 20 miles away from a nonprofit cannabis care center, could apply for a hardship cultivation certificate from the ADH, which would allow them grow up to 10 plants, of which five could be greater than 12 inches in height or diameter.  A person convicted of a felony could not receive a cultivation certificate.

Qualified participants could name a person as their “caregiver” and this person could obtain marijuana from the dispensary.  Caregivers could also grow the plant for people who live more than 20 miles from a dispensary and have a hardship cultivation certificate from the ADH.  Caregivers can have up to 10 plants for each person they are assisting. They are limited to assisting five people, which would mean no more than 50 plants at one time.  A person convicted of a felony could not serve as a caregiver.

 

5.) Would direct the state ADH to establish rules related to Registry Identification Cards, hardship cultivation certificates, the operations of nonprofit cannabis care centers and cannabis testing labs, and the addition of qualifying medical conditions.

Those under 18 would have to have written permission from parent/guardian/legal custodian.

According to the proposal, the ADH may not issue more than one nonprofit cannabis care center certificate for every 20 pharmacies that have obtained a pharmacy permit from the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy and operate within the state. Based on the current number of pharmacies in the state, there could be 39 nonprofit cannabis care center certificates issued.  The proposal also allows the ADH to issue more certificate beyond the maximum number originally allowed, if it deems it necessary.

“Cannabis testing labs” as facilities where cannabis-based products would be tested for their potency and quality.  According to the proposals, nonprofit cannabis care centers must submit samples of usable cannabis to a testing lab to be tested and labeled for potency and to guarantee a pesticide-free and organic product. Labs must registered with the ADH before to operation.

None of the owners, board members, officers or employees of a nonprofit cannabis care center or testing lab could have been convicted of a felony.  Doctors are prohibited from having an economic interest in a nonprofit cannabis care center if certifying people to qualify for medical marijuana.

 

6.) Would protect qualified patients, caregivers, providers and doctors from arrest, prosecution, penalty, or discrimination under Arkansas law.  It does not offer protection from federal law.

The proposed law bans the use and possession of medical marijuana in public places, schools, daycares, community centers, on public transportation, in drug and alcohol treatment facilities and in correctional facilities.  The proposed law would also forbid driving a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft under the influence of medical marijuana

 

7.) Would allow cities and counties to limit the number of dispensaries and enact zoning regulations guiding where dispensaries may locate.

Dispensaries and testing labs could not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a pre-existing public or private school.

 

8.) Would apply state and local taxes to the sale of medical marijuana and require that the state tax revenues offset the ADH’s administrative expenses and be used to assist low-income patients with acquiring the drug.

State taxes would be used to offset the cost of the Department of Health’s administration of the law. Any remaining funds would be used to provide cannabis to qualifying patients who, based on their income, couldn’t afford it.

 

9.) Would require the state to create a system for helping low-income people afford the drug.

The proposed law requires the state health department to establish a system of providing marijuana to qualifying patients. The system would take into consideration a person’s income and financial resources and provide financial relief to ensure affordable access. State taxes collected from the sale of cannabis products would fund the program.

Additionally, each dispensary would be required to devote a maximum of 1% of its gross revenue to provide cannabis to qualifying patients who qualify for assistance under the health department’s program.

 

The agency would have one year to adopt rules governing applications for hardship cultivation certificates.


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