Jerry's Blog

Is the Free Exercise of Religion Becoming an Intellectual Exercise?

Recently the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 975, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Many other states have established similar laws over the past two decades. Simply put, these laws say the state government cannot burden the free exercise of religion unless doing so furthers a compelling governmental interest—such as protecting children or public safety, and so forth.

Over the years, I have heard opponents of these laws comment that religion does not seem to be suffering in Arkansas. Some people have asked me how much more religious freedom we need—after all, there’s a church on almost every street corner in many of our communities.

These comments hint at an underlying assumption: Religion is something a person does for an hour or two every week. It’s a belief and a church service—an intellectual exercise, and nothing more.

That’s a shortsighted assumption.

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Lottery Gives Less than 19% to Scholarships Second Month in a Row

For the second month in a row this year, the Arkansas Lottery allocated less than 19% of gross revenue for scholarships. This comes as the Arkansas Lottery transitions from the purview of the Arkansas Lottery Commission to the Department of Finance and Administration.

Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue for Fiscal Year 2015:

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $30,925,067.43 $5,928,447.99 19.2%
August 31,571,412.10 5,296,965.80 16.8%
September 30,710,493.31 4,317,227.10 14.1%
October 32,959,739.29 5,939,625.59 18.0%
November 30,617,278.28 5,577,035.16 18.2%
December 34,507,731.54 5,474,318.77 15.9%
January, 2015 35,433,619.67 7,287,773.28 20.6%
February 41,770,314.46 6,161,343.01 14.8%
March 37,367,453.25 6,898,524.35 18.5%
Total $305,863,109.33 $52,881,261.05 17.3%

Common Core Review Council to Hear from Arkansans

This week Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin announced plans for the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review to tour the state to hear from Arkansans about Common Core.

According to Lt. Governor Griffin, the council will spend approximately 60 hours listening to Arkansans at 9 stops over the course of 8 weeks. The council also has several hearing scheduled in Little Rock regarding Common Core.

This is an opportunity for all Arkansans to voice their opinions on Common Core to members of the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review. If you would like to make your position on Common Core known, you may want to make plans to attend one of these meetings.

You can find additional details here.

Below is a list of tour stops and dates:

Thursday, April 23 – Little Rock
5:00PM – 7:00PM
Pulaski Technical College Little Rock-South
Transportation Technology Center, The Community Room
13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72210 (more…)