LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Tuesday rejected proposed constitutional amendments that would change how state Game and Fish Commission members are selected and reduce the agency's conservation tax.
LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Tuesday rejected proposed constitutional amendments that would change how state Game and Fish Commission members are selected and reduce the agency’s conservation tax.
Both proposals were filed on behalf of a group called Sportsmen 2010. One would require commissioners to be elected and paid like legislators. The other would reduce the sales tax that benefits the agency and others from 1/8-cent to 1/14-cent.
Both proposals were filed by Jimmy White of Manila, chairman of the Sportsmen 2010.
The Game and Fish Commission was created as an independent state agency in 1944 when voters approved Amendment 35 to the Arkansas Constitution. The seven members are appointed by the governor.
In rejecting the proposal that would require commission members be elected and paid like members of the General Assembly, McDaniel said the measure was ambiguous.
“First, it appears unclear whether you intend … to impose a limitation on the total number of four-year terms a commissioner may serve, regardless of whether the commissioner is succeeding himself or herself, and regardless of whether the terms are successive,” McDaniel said.
Among several other problems cited, McDaniel said the proposal was not clear whether the commissioners would receive annual salary increases based on the Consumer Price Index, like the General Assembly, or whether they could receive expense reimbursements.
“I cannot certify a ballot title for your proposed amendment in the face of these ambiguities,” McDaniel said. “These confusing and ambiguous points must be remedied before I can perform my statutory duty.”
In rejecting the proposal to reduce the 1/8-cent conservation tax to 1/14-cent, McDaniel said he could not certify it “because the text of the proposed constitutional amendment you seek to have adopted” was not submitted.
“Instead, you have a submitted a line-edited copy of Amendment 75 — a document that can best be described as a work-in-progress preliminary to a finished product.”
The conservation sales tax was approved as Amendment 75 by voters in 1996. The commission receives 45 percent of the revenue, as does the Arkansas state parks. The Arkansas Heritage Commission receives 9 percent and 1 percent goes to the keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission.
White did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Tuesday.