A Senate committee on Monday advanced a bill that would impose new restrictions on the petition process for ballot initiatives. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to Senate Bill 860 by Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana. Under the bill, the sponsor of a statewide initiative or referendum would be required to obtain background checks of all paid canvassers, at the sponsor’s expense, and register the results with the Arkansas State Police. Each paid canvasser also would have to sign a statement swearing that he or she has never been convicted of a felony, a violation of an election law, fraud, forgery or identity theft.
The sponsor also would have to certify to the secretary of state that all paid canvassers have passed a background check. A sponsor or canvasser who violated the measure would commit a Class A misdemeanor, and signatures collected in violation of the measure would not be counted.
Also, a canvasser would commit a Class A misdemeanor if he or she knowingly misrepresented a proposed measure for the purpose of securing a signature, knowingly made a false statement on a petition verification form or, as a notary, failed to witness a canvasser’s signing of a petition in person or obtain proof of the signer’s identity.
Full Article: Bill on petition process advances | Arkansas News.