Voters have approved a measure creating a statewide lottery for Arkansas and a ban on unmarried couples adopting or fostering children, according to The Associated Press.
On the lottery issue, with 1578 of 2,588 precincts or 55% reporting, the unofficial vote total from The Associated Press was:
Yes: 472,679 - 64%
No: 270,429 - 36%
In 1996 and 2000, Arkansas voters rejected proposed amendments to allow lotteries. But they also included provisions to explicitly allow casinos. This latest proposal didn't mention casinos, although critics claimed that it would open the door so such places.
The proposed amendment would change the Arkansas Constitution's existing lottery prohibition. It would authorize the General Assembly to establish, operate and regulate lotteries. Lottery proceeds would be used solely to pay the operating expenses of lotteries, including all prizes, and "to fund or provide for scholarships and grants to citizens of this State enrolled in public and private nonprofit two-year and four-year colleges and universities located within the State that are certified according to criteria established by the General Assembly."
Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has been the chief backer of the lottery proposal. Gov. Mike Beebe voted against it.
Proposed Initiative Act No. 1 would have barred unmarried, cohabiting adults from adopting or fostering children.
With 1578 of 2,588 precincts or 61% reporting, the unofficial results were:
For 419,755- 57%
Against 320,638 - 43%
During a heated campaign, both sides said their primary concern was the foster children.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and social worker and pediatrician associations argued that a blanket ban on potential foster or adoptive parents would unnecessarily restrict the number of homes available for children in need.
The Family Council Action Committee contended that a married man and woman is the best environment for children and other types of families harm children in ways that show up later in life.
Stay with ArkansasOnline throughout the night for the latest election news and numbers.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
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