Arkansas Court Blocks Issue 1 ‘Tort Reform’ Measure, Keeps Wage Hike

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas’ highest court has ordered election officials to not count votes for Issue 1, a proposal to limit damages awarded in civil lawsuits, and rejected an effort to block an initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled on the two ballot measures Thursday, days before early voting begins for the Nov. 6 midterm election.

Justices upheld a state judge’s ruling that the Issue 1 ballot measure limiting civil lawsuit damages unconstitutionally combined separate proposals. The measure also would have given the Legislature control over court rules in the state.

Justices rejected a separate lawsuit trying to disqualify Issue 5, the proposal to gradually raise Arkansas’ minimum wage from $8.50 an hour to $11 by 2021. Opponents of the proposal had challenged some of the signatures submitted for the initiative.

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