Family Council Action Committee Releases 2023 Legislative Report Card, Names ‘2023 Statesman Award’ Recipients

The following is a news release from Family Council Action Committee.

LITTLE ROCK, AR – On Friday Family Council Action Committee released its legislative report card for the 2023 Arkansas General Assembly. The report card scored 25 laws passed by the Arkansas House and Senate. Legislative topics ranged from right-to-life and education to the LGBT agenda, religious liberty, and other issues. Lawmakers earned letter grades ranging from A-F based on how they voted on the bills. Lawmakers had to vote on at least 60% of the bills in the report card in order to receive a letter grade and to be considered for the 2023 Statesman Award. 

Family Council Action Committee President Jerry Cox said, “One of the most common questions I hear from people around the state is, ‘How did my legislator vote?’ That’s the question this report card tries to answer. This report card is not an endorsement of any candidate or political party. It does not measure any lawmakers’ integrity, commitment to their faith, work ethic, or rapport with Family Council Action Committee. It is only a report on how each lawmaker voted. We chose bills based on our core belief in promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values. These bills were chosen because they address abortion, religious liberty, the LGBT agenda, education, and other issues conservative Arkansans care about. Arkansans can see their lawmakers’ votes and grades online at ArkansasReport.com.”

Family Council Action Committee also announced the recipients of the 2023 Statesman Award. “This year we again awarded legislators for their hard work and good votes,” Cox said. “We commend these legislators for promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values during the 2023 legislative session.” Seventy-seven legislators received the award based on how they voted on 25 different bills. 

The 2023 Statesman Award recipients included 20 senators and 57 representatives:

  • Sen. Justin Boyd (R-Fort Smith)
  • Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale)
  • Sen. Steve Crowell (R-Magnolia)
  • Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs)
  • Sen. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville)
  • Sen. Jane English (R-North Little Rock)
  • Sen. Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals)
  • Sen. Ben Gilmore (R-Crossett)
  • Sen. Kim Hammer (R-Benton)
  • Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs)
  • Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning)
  • Sen. Mark Johnson (R-Little Rock)
  • Sen. John Payton (R-Wilburn)
  • Sen. Clint Penzo (R-Springdale)
  • Sen. Jim Petty (R-Van Buren)
  • Sen. Terry Rice (R-Waldron)
  • Sen. Matt Stone (R-Camden)
  • Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch)
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro)
  • Sen. David Wallace (R-Leachville)
  • Rep. Brandon Achor (R-Maumelle)
  • Rep. Wade Andrews (R-Camden)
  • Rep. Sonia Barker (R-Smackover)
  • Rep. Howard Beaty (R-Crossett)
  • Rep. Rick Beck (R-Center Ridge)
  • Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville)
  • Rep. Mark Berry (R-Ozark)
  • Rep. Harlan Breaux (R-Holiday Island)
  • Rep. Matt Brown (R-Conway)
  • Rep. Karilyn Brown (R-Sherwood)
  • Rep. Rebecca Burkes (R-Lowell)
  • Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R-Walnut Ridge)
  • Rep. Cameron Cooper (R-Romance)
  • Rep. Cindy Crawford (R-Fort Smith)
  • Rep. Matt Duffield (R-Russellville)
  • Rep. Les Eaves (R-Searcy)
  • Rep. Jon Eubanks (R-Paris)
  • Rep. Brian Evans (R-Cabot)
  • Rep. Lanny Fite (R-Benton)
  • Rep. Charlene Fite (R-Van Buren)
  • Rep. Jack Fortner (R-Yellville)
  • Rep. Tony Furman (R-Benton)
  • Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould)
  • Rep. Zack Gramlich (R-Fort Smith)
  • Rep. Delia Haak (R-Centerton)
  • Rep. Grant Hodges (R-Centerton)
  • Rep. DeAnna Hodges (R-Springdale)
  • Rep. Mike Holcomb (R-Pine Bluff)
  • Rep. Lane Jean (R-Magnolia)
  • Rep. Lee Johnson (R-Greenwood)
  • Rep. Jack Ladyman (R-Jonesboro)
  • Rep. Wayne Long (R-Bradford)
  • Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs)
  • Rep. John Maddox (R-Mena)
  • Rep. Mindy McAlindon (R-Centerton)
  • Rep. Rick McClure (R-Malvern)
  • Rep. Ron McNair (R-Harrison)
  • Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier)
  • Rep. Jon Milligan (R-Lake City)
  • Rep. Jeremiah Moore (R-Clarendon)
  • Rep. Stetson Painter (R-Mountain Home)
  • Rep. Shad Pearce (R-Batesville)
  • Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R-Clarksville)
  • Rep. Chad Puryear (R-Hindsville)
  • Rep. R. Scott Richardson (R-Bentonville)
  • Rep. Marcus Richmond (R-Harvey)
  • Rep. Ryan Rose (R-Van Buren)
  • Rep. Johnny Rye (R-Trumann)
  • Rep. Bart Schulz (R-Cave City)
  • Rep. Trey Steimel (R-Pocahontas)
  • Rep. Dwight Tosh (R-Jonesboro)
  • Rep. Kendon Underwood (R-Cave Springs)
  • Rep. Steve Unger (R-Springdale)
  • Rep. Steven Walker (R-Horseshoe Bend)
  • Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (R-Warren)
  • Rep. Carlton Wing (R-North Little Rock)
  • Rep. Jeremy Wooldridge (R-Marmaduke)

Family Council Action Committee is working with the recipients to schedule presentations of the awards to the legislators at the capitol in October. 

Family Council Action Committee is a conservative, pro-family, Christian 501(c)(4) organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Here are the Bills Lawmakers Have Passed at the Special Session

State legislators have been in Little Rock for a special session this week.

Below is a brief overview of legislation that has advanced through the capitol so far.

Income Tax Legislation

The Arkansas Legislature passed S.B. 8 by Sen. Jonathan Dismang and Rep. Les Eaves reducing income tax rates for individuals, trusts, estates, and corporations.

S.B. 8 does the following:

  • Amends income taxes for residents, individuals, trusts, and estates whose net income is less than or equal to $87,000.
    • Those who earn $0 – $5,099 pay 0% income tax.
    • Those who earn $5,100 to $10,299 pay 2% income tax.
    • Those who earn $10,300 to $14,699 pay 3% income tax.
    • Those who earn $14,700 to $24,299 pay 3.4% income tax.
    • Those who earn $24,300 to $87,000 pay 4.4% income tax.
  • Amends income tax bracket adjustment amounts for those whose net income is $87,001 – $90,800.
  • Amends the tax on corporate net income.
  • Amends the tax on net income for foreign corporations doing business in Arkansas.
  • Creates income tax credits for individual Arkansas residents whose net income is less than $103,600.
  • Creates income tax credits for residents filing a joint tax return whose net income is less than $207,200.

Budgeting Surplus State Funds

The Arkansas Legislature has passed S.B. 1 and H.B. 1004 by Sen. Jimmy Hickey and Rep. Lane Jean. The bills budget $710,612,508 for a special sub-fund within the state’s Restricted Reserve Fund.

This money may be used from time to time for general revenue operating funds or fund accounts, the Miscellaneous Agencies Fund Account, and the State Central Services Fund.

These funds may be transferred upon approval of the Chief Fiscal Officer of the State and a ⅔ vote of the Joint Budget Committee or the Legislative Council committee.

COVID Mandates

The Arkansas Legislature passed H.B. 1002 and S.B. 3 by Sen. Joshua Bryant and Rep. Howard Beaty prohibiting the government from mandating vaccinations for COVID-19 and its subvariants.

These bills prohibit the state and its agencies from coercing individuals in any way for refusing to receive a vaccine or immunization for COVID-19 or its subvariants.

If a state official determines federal funding requirements make it is necessary for an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the state official must ask Legislative Council for approval to require the individual to be vaccinated before mandating the vaccine.

These bills would apply to the state, a state agency or entity, a political subdivision of the state, or a state or local official.

Freedom of Information Act Legislation

Lawmakers passed S.B. 10 by Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. David Ray exempting the following from disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act of 1967:

  • Communications concerning the governor’s security detail;
  • Records that reflect the planning or provision of security for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, land commissioner, legislators, supreme court justices, or judges on the court of appeals.

The bill requires the Executive Protection Detail to give lawmakers a quarterly expense report that categorizes the expenses for the governor’s security.

Public School Safety

Legislators passed S.B. 4 and H.B. 1005 by Sen. Jane English and Rep. Brian Evans clarifying that public schools are not required to keep all their doors and exits unlocked during school hours.

Education Funding for Students With Disabilities

Lawmakers passed S.B. 5 by Sen. Breanne Davis and Rep. Sonia Barker addressing how students with disabilities receive educational services and access to additional funding under the state’s Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids Program Act, the Succeed Scholarship Program, and the Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account Program.

Felony Sentencing

The General Assembly passed H.B. 1006 and S.B. 6 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway and Sen. Ben Gilmore clarifying that criminals convicted of certain egregious felony offenses involving a firearm are not eligible for early release or parole.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Updated: Here are the Bills Lawmakers are Considering at the Special Session

The Arkansas Legislature convened for a special session in Little Rock on Monday.

Below is a brief overview of the legislation that has been filed so far and what each bill would do.

Many of these bills are identical or virtually identical to one another and are sponsored by the same lawmakers — which is why they appear grouped together.

  1. Income Tax Breaks: S.B. 2, S.B. 8, H.B. 1001, and H.B. 1007 by Sen. Jonathan Dismang and Rep. Les Eaves reducing income tax rates for individuals, trusts, estates, and corporations.
    • Amends income taxes for residents, individuals, trusts, and estates whose net income is less than or equal to $87,000.
      • Those who earn $0 – $5,099 pay 0% income tax.
      • Those who earn $5,100 to $10,299 pay 2% income tax.
      • Those who earn $10,300 to $14,699 pay 3% income tax.
      • Those who earn $14,700 to $24,299 pay 3.4% income tax.
      • Those who earn $24,300 to $87,000 pay 4.4% income tax.
    • Amends income tax bracket adjustment amounts for those whose net income is $87,001 – $90,800.
    • Amends the tax on corporate net income.
    • Amends the tax on net income for foreign corporations doing business in Arkansas.
    • Creates income tax credits for individual Arkansas residents whose net income is less than $103,600.
    • Creates income tax credits for residents filing a joint tax return whose net income is less than $207,200.
  2. Surplus State Funds: S.B. 1 and H.B. 1004 by Sen. Jimmy Hickey and Rep. Lane Jean creating and transferring existing surplus funds for state departments, agencies, and institutions.
    • Budgets $710,612,508 for a special sub-fund within the state’s Restricted Reserve Fund
    • This money may be used from time to time for general revenue operating funds or fund accounts, the Miscellaneous Agencies Fund Account, and the State Central Services Fund.
    • These funds may be transferred upon approval of the Chief Fiscal Officer of the State and a ⅔ vote of the Joint Budget Committee or the Legislative Council committee.
  3. COVID Mandates: S.B. 3 and H.B. 1002 by Sen. Joshua Bryant and Rep. Howard Beaty prohibiting the government from mandating vaccinations for COVID-19 and its subvariants.
    • Prohibits the state and its agencies from coercing individuals in any way for refusing to receive a vaccine or immunization for COVID-19 or its subvariants.
    • If a state official determines federal funding requirements make it is necessary for an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the state official must ask Legislative Council for approval to require the individual to be vaccinated before mandating the vaccine.
    • These bills would apply to the state, a state agency or entity, a political subdivision of the state, or a state or local official.
  4. FOIA: S.B. 7 and H.B. 1003 by Sen. Scott Flippo and Rep. David Ray amending the Freedom of Information Act of 1967.
    • Exempts the following from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of 1967:
      • Communications concerning the security of the Governor’s Mansion and mansion grounds
      • Records that reflect the planning or provision of security for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, land commissioner, legislators, supreme court justices, or judges on the court of appeals
      • Records revealing the deliberative process of state agencies, state boards, and state commissions. These include:
        • Memos and letters within an agency and between agencies, provided that the letter wouldn’t otherwise be available by law.
        • Advisory opinions, recommendations, and deliberations that are part of formulating decisions and government policies
        • Attorney records prepared as part of representing a public official in a lawsuit.
        • Records that are considered confidential under Arkansas Rules of Evidence.
    • Requires the Division of Arkansas State Police to submit a quarterly expense report categorizing the Executive Protection Details expenses for the governor’s security.
    • Amends the process by which attorney’s fees and other litigation expenses are collected for violating the Freedom of Information Act.
  5. FOIA: S.B. 9 and H.B. 1009 by Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. David Ray amending the Freedom of Information Act of 1967.
    • Exempts the following from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of 1967:
      • Communications concerning the security of the Governor’s Mansion and mansion grounds
      • Records that reflect the planning or provision of security for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, land commissioner, legislators, supreme court justices, or judges on the court of appeals
      • Attorney records prepared as part of representing a public official in a lawsuit.
      • Records reflecting communications between the governor or the governor’s staff and the cabinet secretary of a state department
      • Records that are considered confidential under Arkansas Rules of Evidence.
    • Requires the Division of Arkansas State Police to submit a quarterly expense report categorizing the Executive Protection Details expenses for the governor’s security.
    • Amends the process by which attorney’s fees and other litigation expenses are collected for violating the Freedom of Information Act.
  6. Public School Security: S.B. 4 and H.B. 1005 by Sen. Jane English and Rep. Brian Evans clarifies that public schools are not required to keep all their doors and exits unlocked during school hours.
  7. Education Funding for Students With Disabilities: S.B. 5 and H.B. 1008 by Sen. Breanne Davis and Rep. Sonia Barker addresses how students with disabilities receive educational services and access to additional funding under the state’s Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids Program Act, the Succeed Scholarship Program, and the Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account Program.
  8. Felony Sentencing: H.B. 1006 and S.B. 6 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway and Sen. Ben Gilmore clarifies that criminals convicting of certain egregious felony offenses involving a firearm are not eligible for early release or parole.

Updated at 7:45 AM 9/12/2023 to to include S.B. 9 and H.B. 1009 concerning the Freedom of Information Act of 1967.