The group behind the effort to repeal the LEARNS Act has made its third attempt to get approval for its proposed referendum, it announced Friday.
Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Students (CAPES) said in a news release it is hopeful that language for their proposed referendum will be accepted. The group, which has criticized Republican Attorney General Tim Griffin for rejecting their previous attempts, took a different tone after meeting with him and his staff earlier this week.
"Despite the previous rejections of our submissions by Attorney General Tim Griffin on April 24th and May 11th, CAPES remains hopeful his office will receive the new submission with the intent to work with our organization in order to ensure the democratic process is supported, and trusts that the Attorney General's office will recognize the importance of expediting this process," according to the news release.
Griffin's office will have 10 business days to review the ballot language for the proposed referendum, and can either accept it, reject it or rewrite it. If approved, the group can begin collecting the signatures it needs to get their referendum on the November 2024 ballot.
Last week Griffin rejected the proposed ballot title for CAPES referendum a second time, saying it did not properly summarize the LEARNS Act. Ballot titles are meant to provide voters with a summary of the law they will be voting on. Griffin said the summary CAPES provided to his office was not sufficient. Griffin also criticized the small font size of the petition, saying "There is no point in carefully summarizing the LEARNS Act if citizens cannot read the summary."
The LEARNS Act is the 145-page education overhaul Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law in March. The legislation is all encompassing public education law, creating a voucher program to allow students to use state dollars to attend a public or home school, increased teacher pay, higher standards for literacy and school security and a ban on Critical Race Theory.