Arkansas Supreme Court Pulls Casino Proposal From November Ballot

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) -- The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled to pulled Issue 5, which would allow casinos in three Arkansas counties, from the November ballot.

If voters had passed the issue, the Arkansas constitution would have been amended to allow casinos in the state. Washington County is one of three counties that would be allowed a casino.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the ballot title insufficiently represented the amendment, according to court documents. Although the ballot title tells voters the issue would permit sports gambling, it does not mention that the amendment violates federal law. Therefore the Supreme Court ruled the title does not accurately reflect the amendment's proposal.

"As someone who opposed this particular amendment I suppose I`m glad.  Although I always live to see people have a choice. The state supreme court has decided that they aren`t going to have a choice this time, but I`m sure this is not the end of this particular issue," Greg Leding said.

Issue 5 was brought to the Arkansas Supreme Court after opponents challenged the amendment, arguing the ballot title is legally insufficient and the amendment violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

Arkansas state rep Greg Leding said he's not against casinos but couldn't agree with carving out space in our state constitution for out of state interest.

“I recommend supporters of this particular amendment sit down with people who had concerns about their approach and see if there isn`t some room for compromise, some other way to go about this,” Leding said.

Arkansas Wins in 2016, the group pushing for the proposal to make the November ballot, has five days to call for a rehearing. They released this statement:

“Our campaign is disappointed in the court`s decision today.  Most importantly, it`s a shame that the voters of Arkansas, including the more than 100,000 that signed our petitions, are being denied the opportunity to vote on an amendment that would create thousands of jobs and more than 120 million dollars in new tax revenue for the state and local communities.”

The Arkansas attorney general is also weighing in on the Supreme Court’s decision because the attorney general is the one who certifies a ballot title before supporters can start gathering signatures to get their measure on the ballot.

Leslie Rutledge’s office says they disagree with the court and released this statement:

"The attorney general takes very seriously her responsibility to certify or reject ballot titles and believes that both of these measures met the standard of being impartial, honest and not misleading to the voters."

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