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Ballot amendment choices start

List of 32 includes monument, legal-damages proposals by Michael R. Wickline | February 9, 2017 at 3:47 a.m. | Updated February 9, 2017 at 3:47 a.m.

Lawmakers have filed 3̶2̶ 31* proposed constitutional amendments to consider referring to voters in the 2018 general election.

Twenty proposed amendments were filed by representatives, while a̶ ̶d̶o̶z̶e̶n̶ 11* were introduced by senators by the deadline late Wednesday to file proposed amendments, according to the General Assembly's website.

Among other things, the proposed amendments would repeal the Legislature's fiscal session that's been held in even-numbered years since voters authorized fiscal sessions in 2008; provide more rights to crime victims; and bar a monument or statue from being placed on the Capitol grounds unless at least 200,000 registered voters sign a petition in favor of its placement.

So far, the proposal with the greatest legislative backing is Senate Joint Resolution 8 by Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View. The proposal would limit attorneys' contingency fees and awards of punitive damages and noneconomic damages. Beyond Irvin, it is co-sponsored by 14 senators. The Senate has 35 members.

Five senators on the eight-member Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, which recommends proposed amendments to the Senate, are either sponsors or co-sponsors of the measure. In the 100-member House, the proposal has 53 co-sponsors, including 13 members of the 20-member House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, which recommends amendments to the House.

The House-proposed amendment with the largest number of lawmakers listed on it is House Joint Resolution 1016 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Elm Springs, which would require the Legislature to enact laws to require a valid photo ID to be presented when voting in person or casting an absentee ballot.

Beyond Lundstrum, 37 representatives and 12 senators are co-sponsoring the amendment. They include 10 members on the House State Agencies committee and four members of the Senate State Agencies committee.

The Senate committee will begin hearings about senators' proposed amendments at 10 a.m. today and try to complete the hearings Tuesday before deciding its recommendations, said the committee chairman, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot.

Under the House and Senate's new joint rules for this year, the Senate and House is each allotted one proposed amendment to refer to voters with the approval of the other chamber. A two-thirds vote of the House and Senate is required to consider referring a third proposal to voters.

The state constitution now has 98 amendments. The Legislature may propose up to three amendments every two years.

A Section on 02/09/2017

*CORRECTION: Arkansas lawmakers have filed 31 proposed constitutional amendments and will consider which of those to refer to voters in the 2018 general election. Senators have proposed 11 amendments and representatives have proposed 20 amendments. A previous version of this article incorrectly reported the number of amendments proposed by senators and the total.

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