The Senate voted 26-7 today to approve SB  614 to cripple paid canvassing to put constitutional amendments and initiated acts on the state ballot.

The bill would require canvassers to be citizens of the U.S. and Arkansas. It would prohibit paying them per-signature. It would prohibit using canvassers with even a misdemeanor criminal record. (Sen. Breanne Davis, the sponsor, said she hoped to clarify this on the House end.)

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David Couch, a lawyer who’s long been active in petition campaigns, said he will sue if the law is passed. He said it’s a simple assault on the ability of citizens to put legislation on the ballot.

Davis contended the bill only covers state measures, not local ballot initiatives.

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