Too Close for Comfort (Editorial)

by Arkansas Business Editors  on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 12:00 am  

Consider us among those relieved when the Arkansas Supreme Court effectively knocked from the November ballot the last of two aggressively pernicious proposals to make casino gambling part of the state Constitution.

The court last week rejected the proposed amendment advanced by Nancy Todd, the figure behind the eponymous The site, last time we checked, hailed Nancy Todd's Poker Palace for its "hospitality & charm that is uniquely Arkansas." This despite the fact that Todd is from Nevada and moved to the state because the professional poker player saw a chance for the big payout, the one that would have given her and her backers exclusive rights to open casinos in four Arkansas counties.

The ruling came less than two weeks after the court sunk a similarly self-aggrandizing proposal, the one put forth by Texan Michael Wasserman that would have given him the exclusive rights to run casinos in seven Arkansas counties.

Now, though the proposals will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, votes for or against them won't be counted.

The court ruled Thursday that the signatures Todd gathered to get the proposal on the ballot were invalid because she changed the proposal's language after getting the signatures.

And though the Todd proposal followed a somewhat tortuous path to rejection, the outcome in both the Todd and the Wasserman cases counted toward a greater good.

We usually support giving the electorate the opportunity to weigh in on issues of statewide importance. We acknowledge, however, that voters' approval in 2008 of a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to meet annually instead of the previous practice of every two years dampened our enthusiasm for direct democracy. We hope we're forgiven for admitting we're pleased voters can't again ratify another measure against their interest.



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