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Group sues the Arkansas attorney general for refusing to approve the ballot measure on government documents



Little Rock, Arkansas – On Tuesday, a group from Arkansas filed a lawsuit against the state attorney general for allegedly rejecting the language in their proposed ballot issue, which aims to make access to public meetings and documents a constitutionally protected right.

In a fourteen-page document, Arkansas Citizens for Transparency requested that the state Supreme Court direct Attorney General Tim Griffin to either adopt the proposal’s wording or replace it with one that is more appropriate.

Before the group can start collecting the 90,704 signatures from registered voters needed to qualify, Griffin’s approval is required. The group wants to have its proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, but they have until July 5 to collect signatures.

The group contended that Griffin had overreached himself in rejecting the measure, claiming that he was required by law to either approve the measure’s wording or find an alternative.

“The attorney general’s rejection of the ballot title and popular name demonstrates that he has either a complete lack of understanding of his role in the initiative process or he is intentionally thwarting the effort of the petitioner to get this amendment approved for the ballot so that the voters of the state can decide its merits,” the group said in its filing.

Griffin rejected the proposed ballot measure’s wording in December, citing a “lack of clarity” on several important issues. Four amended versions of the group’s proposed measure were rejected by Griffin in January, citing their inability to address the issues he had previously raised.

“I am confident in our review and analysis of ballot submissions and look forward to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s review in this case,” the Republican attorney general said in a statement released by his office.

Following the Republican governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ signing of a bill limiting the public access to documents on her security and travel, a ballot measure campaign was launched. Sanders had originally advocated for more expansive exemptions that would have restricted public access to documents about her administration, but conservatives and media organizations opposed her plan.


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