SEN. ALAN CLARK: Not happy with lack of information on Collins murder.

The Senate today voted 27-3, with two voting present, to put Sen. Alan Clark’s SJR 15 on the 2020 election ballot to set Arkansas legislative term limits at 12 years, excepting current members of the legislature who’d hang onto the 16-year limit, plus some potential add-ons for certain senators.

Clark said the resolution was a potential antidote if Arkansas Terms Limits can qualify a 10-year limit for the ballot in 2020. The Supreme Court struck its amendment in 2018 because of petition-gathering questions.

Clark acknowledged a so-called term limits put on the ballot by the legislature in 2014, which actually extended term limits, was viewed by many as “sneaky.” His amendment is “good government,” he asserted. Shorter term limits would “gut government,” he said.  With more time in office, “I’m a lot more effective for my constituents.”

No one spoke against the amendment. It must be adopted by the House to make the ballot. If it and another term limits amendment reach the ballot, the one with the most votes prevails. Clark said voters tended to vote for anything called term limits, but he thought given a choice they’d choose the more “sensible” amendment.

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His amendment eliminates an existing provision that doesn’t count two-year terms — whether to fill vacancies or as a result of the decennial draw of Senate terms — against term limits. It also allows legislators to run again after a four-year absence.

The proposal no longer includes term limits for judges, as it once did. It also eliminates a provision that would have prevented the people from petitioning for changes.

During brief debate, Sen. Jason Rapert made a point that people outside Arkansas had been advocates for term limits and provided money in support of past proposals.