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story.lead_photo.caption Supporters of a candidate cavort across the street from a polling place in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, March 3, 2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/John Sykes Jr.)

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower-court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit to remove from the Nov. 3 general election ballot proposed constitutional amendments that would make it more difficult for Arkansans to qualify proposed measures for the ballot and would eliminate lifetime term limits for state lawmakers.

In September, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mary McGowan dismissed a lawsuit filed by Tom Steele, chairman of the Arkansas Term Limits committee.

McGowan held that proposed constitutional amendments referred to voters by the Legislature cannot be held to the same standard as the ones that reach the ballot by public petition.

The proposed constitutional amendment that would make it more difficult to qualify proposed measures for the ballot is Issue 3 on the general election ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment that would limit lawmakers elected in the future to serving 12 consecutive years before requiring them to take a four-year break from legislative service is Issue 2 on the Nov. 3 ballot. Two-year Senate terms related to redistricting would be included in that total under this proposal.

Existing lawmakers are limited to serving up to 16 years in the House and the Senate or in total in one chamber. The two-year terms that some senators serve after the redistricting of legislative boundaries don’t count against that 16-year limit. These lawmakers would be allowed to serve again after they are out of office for four years.

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