Casino group drops suit against attorney general after supreme court decision
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) —
A casino group suing the Arkansas attorney general has dropped their lawsuit against her following a state supreme court's ruling late Wednesday evening.
Driving Arkansas Forward had filed suit earlier this month, claiming she was violating Arkansans constitutional rights after she reportedly denied 70 out of the 70 ballot title proposals since the 2016 general election. On Thursday, the group dropped the suit against Leslie Rutledge, but it was only after the state supreme court ordered her to certify a separate ballot issue on minimum wage. In doing so, she also approved two other ballot titles, including the casino proposal.
Driving Arkansas Forward is casino proposal includes bringing two new casinos to the state, one in Pope County and the other in Jefferson County.
"We want to give the voters of Arkansas an opportunity to vote on a fair merit based casino amendment. This state is losing millions of dollars out of state where people are going to Missouri, they're going to Oklahoma, they're going to Mississippi, Louisiana and so Arkansans deserve the right to at least vote on whether or not they want casinos in the state,” said casino group attorney, Alex Gray.
Now the group is faced with fast approaching deadlines. Gray tells KATV they'll have to gather around 85,000 signatures by July 6th to submit them for certification to make the November ballot.
"We've missed out on some crucial days to gather signatures, but we are where we are, we're not looking back we're looking forward and we're going to do everything we can to get the requisite signatures and get this amendment on the ballot,” added Gray.
KATV also reached out to attorney David Couch, whose lawsuit against Rutledge for minimum wage led to the supreme court's decision. He released this statement to KATV:
The law has been clear since the 1950s and in 2016 when the supreme court removed tort reform and casinos from the ballot, they cited those same precedents from 50s and the language was the same. The supreme court has thrown off, in the past decades, progressive measures such as casinos and conserve measures such as a right to life amendment. In 2012, they took two casino amendments off the ballot so the supreme court didn't change the law. It's just that the attorney general wanted to be the judge and the jury and her role is nothing other than to give the citizens of Arkansas advice on ballot measures and to do her best job and approve or substitute a ballot title.