Four Northeast Arkansas Lawmakers Offer Proposals to Change State's Constitution

FEBRUARY 10, 2005 - Posted at 7:29 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislators have proposed 44 possible amendments to the state constitution, though they can only approve three for the ballot next year.

One of the proposed amendments would group public school districts that struggle to meet academic, fiscal or facilities standards into a single statewide district run by the Legislature.

Several other of the proposed amendments filed by Wednesday's deadline also dealt with public schools or their funding.  A number of others would legalize various forms of gambling.

The constitution allows the Legislature to put up to three proposed amendments on the general election ballot every two years.  As this year's session continues, committees of the House and Senate will negotiate to narrow the proposals to three that will be offered to voters.

Among the proposals offered by northeast Arkansas legislators...

-SJR4, by Senator Tim Wooldridge of Paragould, concerning city and county redevelopment projects.

-SJR16, by Senator Wooldridge, to clarify property taxes and bond issues.

-SJR12, by Senator Jerry Bookout of Jonesboro, to change sessions of the General Assembly from biennial to annual sessions; and to establish the length of the sessions.

-HJR1022, by Representative Leroy Dangeau of Wynne, requires the numbering and recording of ballots.

-HJR1007, by Representative Denny Sumpter of West Memphis, provides for annual legislative sessions; to require a majority vote for appropriation bill approval; and to permit either one or two year appropriation bills.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)