Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Tuesday rejected a group's proposed ballot measure to block Arkansas from enforcing the new federal health care law, saying it would violate the U.S. Constitution.
It was the second time McDaniel rejected a proposed ballot measure put forward by Secure Arkansas to keep the federal government from forcing state residents to buy health insurance. The head of the group said it was likely to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Secure Arkansas' proposal is similar to measures approved in other states such as Idaho, but experts say the legality is questionable because courts usually say federal laws supersede those of the states. Groups such as Secure Arkansas have argued the issue falls under the Constitution's 10th Amendment dealing with state sovereignty.
McDaniel's office must certify the measure as a first step to it appearing on the November ballot. Supporters then must gather 77,468 signatures by July 2 to put it on the fall ballot.
McDaniel said in his opinion that the group can revise the measure and resubmit it.
Activists from Secure Arkansas have been holding protests urging McDaniel and Gov. Mike Beebe to sue the federal government over the health care law. McDaniel and Beebe, who are both Democrats, have declined to do so.
Last year, McDaniel approved a separate amendment by the group that would require state agencies to verify that all those seeking benefits are legal U.S. residents.Associated Press. “Arkansas AG Rejects Health Care Ballot Measure”. Baxter Bulletin (Mountain Home, AR). April 7, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-07.