Autograph seekers may ask if you are registered to vote in coming months and seek your signature on a ballot proposal, including one that could authorize a casino in Jefferson County.

Autograph seekers may ask if you are registered to vote in coming months and seek your signature on a ballot proposal, including one that could authorize a casino in Jefferson County.

Backers of ballot proposals certified by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel have until July 6 to gather thousands of signatures required to qualify for the November general election ballot.

McDaniel has certified the names and ballot titles of one proposed initiated act and two proposed constitutional amendments so far and could approve additional measures in the weeks ahead. Several proposals have been rejected so far, but proponents could resubmit ballot titles for consideration.

The casino proposal has been considered several times since 2006. The latest measure is headed by Texas businessman Michael Wasserman, who backed a similar proposal that was certified in 2010 but failed to obtain enough signatures to gain a place on the ballot.

Under the proposal, Wasserman’s Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment Inc. could operate casinos in Jefferson, Pulaski, Garland, Boone, Crittenden, Miller and Sebastian counties.

It would declare all constitutional provisions and laws that conflict with the casino amendment inapplicable, but would not supersede amendments authorizing the state lottery and charitable bingo. Expect the Family Council to campaign against the gambling initiative if it collects the required 78,133 signatures to win a spot on the ballot.

Wasserman acknowledges he is paying hired canvassers 75 cents per signature to gather signatures and will pay another 25 cents for each name verified by the secretary of state’s office, noting more than 9,000 individuals have signed petitions so far.

The second proposed amendment would reduce the state conservation tax and drop the state Game and Fish Commission from the list of agencies that receive revenue from the tax and also requires more than 78,000 signatures to qualify. The agency would lose about $25 million annually under the proposal.

Sportsmen 2010 plans to circulate petitions for its proposal to lower the conservation tax and exclude Game and Fish from the revenues. The organization claims about 140 members and is recruiting organizers in all 75 counties.

The proposal would reduce the 1/8-cent conservation tax to 1/14-cent. The 1/8-cent conservation tax, approved as Amendment 75 in 1996, generates about $61 million, according to the state Department of Finance and Administration.

The Game and Fish Commission receives 45 percent of the revenue, as does Arkansas Parks and Tourism. The Arkansas Heritage Commission receives 9 percent and 1 percent goes to the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission.

Under the proposed amendment, state parks would receive about 82 percent of the tax revenue, Arkansas Heritage Commission 16 percent and Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission 2 percent.

A proposed initiated act to raise the state severance tax on natural gas from 5 percent to 7 percent needs 62,507 signatures.

Former gas company executive and failed gubernatorial candidate Sheffield Nelson is heading the Committee for a Fair Severance Tax, while a number of business organizations and government entities have voiced their opposition. Nelson said his campaign is utilizing volunteer canvassers.

Individuals opposed to any of the measures can cast a voice early during the signature-gathering process and refuse to sign the ballot petitions. Placing a signature on a petition is strictly a voluntary procedure.

The real opportunity to support or oppose a measure comes in November. However, that requires casting a vote.