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Arkansas voters OK minimum wage, voter ID, casino issues

edit:casino time:2018-11-08

Arkansas voters OK minimum wage, voter ID, casino issues  

The Associated Press

Wednesday Nov 7, 2018 at 12:01 AM Nov 7, 2018 at 8:13 AM



Arkansas voters approved three issues on Tuesday's ballots, which included a minimum wage increase and adding a voter ID requirement to the state constitution.

Voters approved a plan to gradually raise the state's minimum wage from $8.50 an hour to $11. Voters on Tuesday approved the proposed initiated act, which raises the state's minimum wage to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1. The law then raises the wage to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020, and $11 an hour on Jan. 1, 2021.

The state Supreme Court last month rejected a lawsuit from business groups who had challenged the signatures submitted in favor of the wage hike measure. The proposal is the second minimum wage hike increase Arkansas voters have approved over the past four years. Voters in 2014 approved a plan to gradually raise the state's previous minimum wage from $6.25 an hour.

The voter ID constitutional amendment was approved in Tuesday's election. The measure adds showing photo ID to the list of qualifications to vote in the state.

Arkansas already has a voter ID law in effect that was approved by the state's Republican-led Legislature and governor last year. The state Supreme Court last month upheld the measure and said the Legislature had the power to enact such a restriction.

The state Supreme Court in 2014 struck down a nearly identical version of the voter ID law that's now in effect.

A constitutional amendment on the ballot would legalize casinos in four Arkansas counties, including at a dog track and a horse track that already offer video poker and other forms of electronic gambling.

Blake Murchison, 52, said he voted for the casino amendment because he was worried about Arkansas missing out on revenue as gambling expands in other states.

"If we're not going to be a beneficiary of that, I think the state is going to pay a price for that," Murchison said after voting at a Little Rock church.

Arkansas voters also approved a measure legalizing casinos in four counties, including at a horse track and dog track that already offer video poker and other electronic gambling.

Voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that allows the casinos at the Southland dog track in West Memphis and the Oaklawn horse track in Hot Springs. The measure also legalizes casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.

The Cherokee and Quapaw tribes in Oklahoma spent more than $4 million combined campaigning for the measure, which supporters have touted as a way to keep gambling revenue in Arkansas. The state Supreme Court last month rejected two lawsuits that tried to get the proposal disqualified from the ballot.

Statewide races

Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge defeated Democratic challenger Mike Lee, a former consumer product regulator. Republican Land Commissioner John Thurston defeated Democrat Susan Inman in the race for secretary of state. Those two offices and the governor sit on the Board of Apportionment that will redraw state House and Senate districts in three years.

Classification

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