AG certifies proposal to extend county officials' terms


LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Monday approved the wording of a proposed ballot item that would amend the Arkansas Constitution to lengthen the terms of office of elected county officials and constables.

The proposal by David Dinwiddie of Pine Bluff would extend terms from two years to four years for county judges, justices of the peace, sheriffs, county collectors, county treasurers, county assessors, circuit clerks, county clerks, county coroners, county surveyors and constables.

McDaniel had rejected an earlier version of the proposal because of ambiguities in the text.

Dinwiddie has until July 7 to collect 78,133 signatures of registered Arkansas voters to place the proposed amendment on the November 2014 ballot.

Dinwiddie, who ran unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate for governor in 2010 and as a state Senate candidate in 2012, has never held a county office and said Monday he has no plans to seek one. He said he believes four-year terms would allow county officials to be more efficient.

“They can plan for long-term budgeting and they can concentrate on the job instead of having to run every two years,” he said.

Dinwiddie said he did not have a plan in place for gathering signatures but he expected the measure to have broad support.

“It’s something I think is good for everybody,” he said.