Arkansas State Information
Arkansas is located in the southern United States and was admitted into the Union on June 15, 1836 as the 25th state. In the United States, it is the 32nd most populous state. The capital and most populous city of Arkansas is Little Rock, located in the central portion of the state.
Arkansas has two members of the U.S. Senate, a total of four members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 35 members of the State Senate and 100 members of the House of Representatives.
Arkansas Became a State
In 1836, Arkansas held a constitutional convention to draft a document in order to qualify for statehood. The constitution created at that convention was ratified by Congress on January 30, 1836. On June 15, 1836, President Andrew Jackson signed the act, making Arkansas a state.
That constitution was the first of five in the state’s history. The next constitution was created when the state seceded from the Union in May 1861. It was kept mostly in tact from the original but changed references to the United States of America to the Confederate States of America. The third constitution was adopted in 1864 and was a requirement to qualify for wartime reconstruction. The fourth constitution officially brought Arkansas back to the Union in 1868. It was written following the terms of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. The fifth and final constitution was adopted in 1874. This document transferred a great deal of power from the state to local governments. Eighty-three amendments have been adopted to the current constitution since then.
Preamble to the Arkansas Constitution
We, the People of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government; for our civil and religious liberty; and desiring to perpetuate its blessings, and secure the same to our selves and posterity; do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Amending the Arkansas State Constitution
The current Constitution allows for two methods of amendment.
Under Section 22 of Article 19, both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly may propose amendments. The amendment requires majority approval from both houses, and the vote must be recorded. The amendment must also be published in at least one newspaper in each county for six months prior to the next election of the Assembly and also requires majority approval from the voters.
However, the Section places further restrictions on legislative amendments:
Each amendment must be separately placed on the ballot.
No more than three amendments may be placed on any one ballot.
Amendment by Initiative
Under Section 1 of Article 5, ten percent of legal voters may propose a constitutional amendment by initiative. Majority approval of the voters is needed to pass it. No less than four months before the election, the proposed amendment must be filed with the Arkansas Secretary of State, and 30 days prior to the election the petitioners must publish the amendment “in some paper of general circulation.”
Are You Aware?
Article 2, Section 1: Source of power. All political power is inherent in the people and government is instituted for their protection, security and benefit; and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same, in such manner as they may think proper.
Article 2, Section 2: Freedom and independence. All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; amongst which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and reputation; and of pursuing their own happiness. To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Article 2, Section 5: Right to bear arms. The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms, for their common defense.
Article 19, Section 1: Atheists Disqualified from Holding Office or Testifying as Witness. No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.
Amendement 83, Section 1: Marriage. Marriage consists only of the union of one man and one woman.