On election day in November, Arkansas voters will make their voices heard. In addition to voting for specific candidates, you will also vote on several issue proposals listed on the state ballot. Do you know how you will use your voice?
Issue 1 is one of the most significant proposals on the 2018 ballot. Today we are breaking down this lengthy proposal to help explain what’s at stake.
The popular name for Issue 1 is “An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules.” You can read the full title and text of the proposal online. It would make several changes to the Arkansas Constitution, setting caps on the damages that can be awarded to personal injury victims, and giving the legislature more power to change the rules of legal proceedings.
Why is Issue 1 on the Ballot?
Arkansas senators and representatives voted last year to put Issue 1 on the November 6, 2018 ballot for voters to decide. It has been quite controversial.
Why is Issue 1 So Significant?
To put it simply, Issue 1 has the power to impact every person in Arkansas. We firmly believe that voting “NO” to Issue 1 will protect local Arkansans and their families and will hold insurance companies and big industries accountable.
What Changes are Proposed in Issue 1?
Issue 1 proposes several amendments to the Arkansas Constitution, which should never be taken lightly. The changes would include the following:
- Cap contingency fees (fees charged by attorneys if they win a case) at 33.3% of the awarded amount.
- Cap punitive damages at $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages awarded.
- Cap non-economic damages at $500,000.
- Allow the legislature to pass laws of pleading, procedure, and practice.
Let’s recap: Issue 1 would give the Arkansas state legislature the power to determine the maximum amount that should be awarded to the victim of a personal injury or wrongful death, no matter the circumstances. It would also make it easier for the legislature to enact laws that change the way legal trials are conducted in Arkansas by reducing the number of votes needed to pass these laws.
What’s Wrong with the Proposed Changes in Issue 1?
While there are many red flags in Issue 1, we believe there are three core problems that Arkansas voters should understand:
- Issue 1 infringes on the rights of Arkansans to a trial by jury. Citizen-juries are trusted to make wise decisions in personal injury trials. When Arkansas lawmakers set arbitrary boundaries on compensation, it undermines the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It gives power to the legislative branch that should be reserved for the judicial branch.
- Issue 1 sets an arbitrary value on human life. Each personal injury case is different. Whether it involves a defective product, negligent driver or doctor, or even wrongful death, each situation is unique. It is immoral and unethical to set the same cap for every future injury in Arkansas.
- Issue 1 protects big business interests at the expense of the Arkansas people. We believe that when someone acts in a reckless or negligent manner and injures another person, they should be held accountable. Issue 1 limits that accountability, and individual Arkansans will be the ones who suffer because of it.
We’ll dive deeper into each of these problems in the coming weeks. Every Arkansas voter should continue to learn and educate themselves on these important issues.
Taylor King Law has advocated for the rights of Arkansas injury victims for more than 20 years, and we won’t stop now. We believe that people deserve protection and that big businesses should be held accountable for their actions. We will continue to fight any laws that would infringe on the rights of citizens and threaten separation of powers in government. To learn more about Taylor King Law, or to begin a free consultation on your own personal injury, visit our website at taylorkinglaw.com or call today at 1-800-CAR WRECK (227-9732).