ACLU Plans to Challenge Arkansas’ New Laws, Opposes Religious Freedom Amendment

Last week the ACLU of Arkansas issued a report calling the state’s 2021 legislative session “a catastrophe for civil and human rights in Arkansas.”

The report heavily criticized some of the good laws the Arkansas Legislature passed this year, including:

  • Act 309 / S.B. 6 (Prohibiting Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas, except in cases when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. This could save the lives of thousands of children and give the courts an opportunity to overturn bad, pro-abortion rulings. Read The Law Here.
  • Act 626 / H.B. 1570 (Prohibiting Sex-Reassignment on Children): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) prohibits sex-reassignment procedures on children. The law also prevents funding of sex-reassignment procedures performed on children. This law will protect children from being subjected to surgeries and procedures that can leave them sterilized and permanently scarred. Read The Law Here.
  • Act 461 / S.B. 354 (Protecting Fairness in Women’s Sports): This good law by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R -Smackover) would prevent male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics. This would protect fairness for girls’ sports at school in Arkansas. Read The Law Here.
  • S.J.R. 14 (Religious Freedom Amendment): S.J.R. 14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Measure Here.

The ACLU indicated it plans to file lawsuits to block the state from enforcing Act 309 and Act 626.

If the ACLU follows through with its lawsuit against Act 309 (S.B. 6), it will give the federal courts an opportunity to reverse decades of bad case law on abortion — including possibly overturning or Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and other pro-abortion decisions.

The ACLU also said “The Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment [S.J.R. 14] would be among the most extreme of its kind in the country, giving people a basis to challenge and exempt themselves from virtually any state law.”

But that simply is not the case.

Most states in America have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts similar to S.J.R. 14 already.

Alabama has had a religious freedom amendment very similar to S.J.R. 14 in its state constitution for many years.

Measures like S.J.R. 14 simply help restore protections for the free exercise of religion. It’s just a good amendment that will help ensure that our state constitution protects religious liberty in Arkansas.

That’s something that everybody ought to be able to support.

Summarizing the 2021 Arkansas Legislature

We just wrapped up our seventeenth legislative session!

Family Council had several major victories this year.

Below is a breakdown of the legislation passed and defeated at the 2021 Arkansas Legislature.

Good Bills Passed

Pro-lifers speak in support of S.B. 6 at a gathering at the capitol.

Act 309 / S.B. 6 (Prohibiting Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas, except in cases when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Family Council worked closely with Sen. Rapert to pass this good bill that could save the lives of thousands of children and give the courts an opportunity to overturn decades of bad, pro-abortion rulings. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 498 / S.B. 85 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) requires an abortionist to show an ultrasound image of the unborn baby to the pregnant woman before an abortion. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 561 / H.B. 1589 (Transactions With Abortionists): This good law by Rep. Harlan Breaux (R – Holiday Island) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) prohibits government entities, including public schools, in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers and affiliates of abortion providers. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Jerry Cox and Rep. Lowery visit following passage of H.B. 1592.

Act 820 / H.B. 1592 (Abortionists in Public Schools): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prohibits public schools in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers. Read The Law Here.

Act 740 / S.B. 527 (Abortion Facilities): This good law by Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with hospitals, and it fixes a flawed definition in a pro-life law passed in 2019. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 388 (Abortion Facilities): This good measure by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) requires any facility that performs abortions to be licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health as an abortion facility, and it prohibits abortions in hospitals except in cases of medical emergency. S.B. 388 will help ensure that every clinic that performs abortions follows all of Arkansas’ laws concerning abortion facilities. This has the potential to save many women and unborn children from abortion. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.C.R. 1007 (Abortion): This good resolution by Rep. Jim Wooten (R – Beebe) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) recognizes January 22 — the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision — as “The Day of Tears” in Arkansas. The resolution acknowledges the 61 million unborn babies killed in abortion in America over the past five decades, and it encourages Arkansans to lower their flags to half-staff on January 22 to mourn the innocent children who have lost their lives. Read The Resolution Here.

Family Council staff members Charisse Dean and Erin Hogan pause for a photo outside the capitol.

Act 562 / H.B. 1402 (Abortion-Inducing Drugs): This good law by Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) and Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) updates Arkansas’ restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486. It outlines requirements that abortionists must follow in administering abortion-inducing drugs, and it prohibits abortion drugs from being delivered by mail in Arkansas. It also updates current law to ensure doctors who perform chemical abortions are credentialed to handle abortion complications and can transfer the woman to a hospital if she experiences complications. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 560 / H.B. 1572 (Informed-Consent to Chemical Abortion): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Mountain Home) outlines the informed-consent process for chemical abortion. Act 560 will help ensure women get all the facts about chemical abortion — including its risks, consequences, and pro-life alternatives. This will help save many unborn children from abortion. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 787 / S.B. 463 (Abortion Facilities): This good law by Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) and Rep. Tony Furman (R – Benton) requires the State of Arkansas to report abortion data to the federal Centers for Disease Control. It also tightens Arkansas law concerning abortion facility inspections, and it requires abortionists to file certain documentation when the woman is a victim of rape or incest. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 609 / S.B. 474 (Prohibiting Fraudulent Fertility Treatments): This good law by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) prohibits fraud and abuse in fertility treatments. The bill ensures people performing fertility treatments are honest, ethical, and abide by principles of informed-consent. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Family Council President Jerry Cox visits with Capitol Police officers following passage of H.B. 1570 in committee.

Act 626 / H.B. 1570 (Prohibiting Sex-Reassignment on Children): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) prohibits sex-reassignment procedures on children. The law also prevents funding of sex-reassignment procedures performed on children. This law will protect children from being subjected to surgeries and procedures that can leave them sterilized and permanently scarred. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 392 / H.B. 1544 (Pro-Life Cities Resolution): This good law by Rep. Kendon Underwood (R – Cave Springs) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) affirms the right of municipalities in Arkansas to declare themselves pro-life. H.B. 1544 outlines some of the findings and language that cities can put in their pro-life resolution. The bill also clarifies that Pro-Life Cities can install signs or banners announcing that they are pro-life. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead the Bill Here.

Act 358 / H.B. 1408 (Abortion): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) helps prevent abortion providers and their affiliates in Arkansas from receiving Medicaid reimbursements from the state. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Rep. Crawford and Family Council staff member Ken Yang testify in support of legislation in committee.

Act 90 / H.B. 1195 (Pro-Life): This good law by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) enacts legislation ensuring that women are offered information, assistance, and resources that could help them choose an option besides abortion. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 226 / H.B. 1116 (Simon’s Law): This good law by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs) is named in honor of an infant in Missouri who died after doctors put a Do Not Resuscitate order on his chart without his parent’s knowledge or permission. This will help protect children in Arkansas from being denied life support or having a DNR placed on their medical charts without parental consent. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 461 / S.B. 354 (Fairness in Women’s Sports): This good law by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R -Smackover) would prevent male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics. This would protect fairness for girls’ sports at school in Arkansas. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Family Council staff member Luke McCoy (right) visits with Rep. Brandt Smith and attorney Stephanie Nichols following passage of S.B. 289 protecting healthcare workers’ rights of conscience.

Act 462 / S.B. 289 (Conscience): This good law by Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects healthcare workers’ rights of conscience. Arkansas’ current conscience protections are narrowly focused on abortion, abortifacients, and end of life decisions, and they protect only a limited number of people. S.B. 289 helps broaden these protections for healthcare workers. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 94 / H.B. 1211 (Religion is Essential): This good law by Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton) recognizes that religion and religious organizations are essential in Arkansas. H.B. 1211 will protect churches and religious groups without hampering the government’s ability to respond during a pandemic. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 311 / H.B. 1061 (No Patient Left Alone): This good law by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) protects patients from being left alone and denied visitors in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities. No one should be barred from being in the hospital with their dying child, spouse, or parent. This law helps address that in Arkansas. See how your state representative votedSee how your state senator voted here. Read The Bill Here.

Act 342 / H.B. 1353 (Marijuana Advertisements): This good law by Rep. Delia Haak (R – Gentry) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) closes a loophole in Arkansas’ laws regarding medical marijuana advertisements. It clarifies the law to say that marijuana dispensaries and cultivators cannot use a cross of any color or other symbols commonly associated with the practice of medicine in their advertisements. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Family Council staff member Charisse Dean and Rep. Penzo address the House Public Health Committee.

Act 623 / H.B. 1429 (Home School): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) makes it easier for a student to withdraw from a public school to home school. The law reduces the fourteen-day waiting period currently in Arkansas law for families wishing to transfer out of a public school. It also makes technical corrections to the home school law. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.R. 1021 (Home School): This good resolution by Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) recognizes and celebrates 35 years of homeschooling in Arkansas. The resolution passed the Arkansas House on a voice vote. Read The Resolution Here.

Act 902 / S.B. 662 (Prayer): This good law by Sen. Ricky Hill (R – Cabot) and Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) establishes a Day of Prayer for Arkansas Students annually on the last Wednesday of September. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Good Bills Defeated

H.B. 1882 (Privacy): This good bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) would have protected physical privacy and safety of Arkansans in showers, locker rooms, changing facilities, and restrooms on government property. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 649 (Lottery): This good bill by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Richard Womack (R – Arkadelphia) would have required the Arkansas Lottery to increase the percentage of its revenue budgeted for scholarships to 25% over the next six years. Read The Bill Here.

Bad Bills Passed

Jerry Cox testifies against hate crimes legislation in committee.

Act 681 / S.B. 622 (Hate Crimes): This bad law by Sen. Jimmy Hickey (R – Texarkana) and Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R – El Dorado), commonly being called a “hate crimes law,” outlines vague, protected classes in state law. This bill is so ambiguous that it’s impossible to know just how far-reaching this legislation may be. S.B. 622’s protections for religious liberty are not adequate. The bill does not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent cities and counties from enacting their own, more stringent hate crimes ordinances. It does not do enough to protect free speech or prevent thought-policing. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 874 / H.B. 1228 (Public Drinking): This bad law by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would let cities in dry counties approve public drinking in “entertainment districts” if the city contains a private club that serves alcohol. Under Arkansas’ “entertainment district” law, alcohol can be carried and consumed outdoors on city streets and sidewalks around bars and restaurants, if approved by the city council. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Bad Bills Defeated

Jerry Cox testifies against H.B. 1685 in the House Public Health Committee.

H.B. 1685 (End-of-Life Care): This bad bill by Rep. Michelle Gray (R – Melbourne) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would have let healthcare workers who are not physicians work through end-of-life decisions with patients and family members. It would not require healthcare workers making these decisions to have appropriate training in end-of-life care. It would have made it easier to deny a dying person food or water. Family Council strongly opposed this bad bill. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1686 (End-of-Life Care): This bad bill by Rep. Michelle Gray (R – Melbourne) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would have let healthcare workers who are not physicians complete Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms. It removed an important provision in state law that says a POLST form is not intended to replace an advance directive. It inadvertently prevented consulting physicians — such as palliative care physicians — from completing POLST forms with patients. Family Council strongly opposed this bad bill. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1697 (No-Fault Divorce): This bad bill by Rep. Ashley Hudson (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) would have permitted no-fault divorce in Arkansas. Under current law, couples in Arkansas can divorces in cases such as infidelity, abuse, following a lengthy separation, and other circumstances. H.B. 1697 would have allowed divorce due to irreconcilable differences, discord, or conflict of personalities regardless of if the husband or wife is at fault. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 3 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) and Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) would have enacted hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill was virtually identical to H.B. 1020. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we opposed this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1020 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) would have enacted hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill was virtually identical to S.B. 3. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we opposed this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 510 (LGBT Counseling): This bad bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) and Rep. Tippi McCullough (D – Little Rock) would have prohibited healthcare professionals from helping children overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion. However, the bill would have permitted pro-LGBT counseling that encourages children embrace a different sexual orientation or gender identity. This was a bad bill that would have hurt healthcare professionals and endangered the welfare of children. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 655 (Sex-Education): This bad bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) and Rep. Megan Godfrey (D – Springdale) would have implemented Planned Parenthood-style comprehensive sex-education in public schools in Arkansas. Read The Bill Here.

Recapping Another Week at the Legislature

Family Council staff members Charisse Dean and Erin Hogan pause for a photo outside the Arkansas Capitol.

We’re wrapping up another week at the Arkansas Legislature. Here’s a quick recap of what happened:

  • Planned Parenthood’s Arkansas PAC Shows No Activity, $15K+ in Funds
  • Arkansas Congressmen Sign Pro-Life Petition
  • On Monday Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) filed H.B. 1942. This bad bill lets casinos in Arkansas conduct internet gambling on sporting events.
  • On Monday the Arkansas Senate passed H.B. 1592. This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prohibits public schools in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers.
  • On Tuesday the Arkansas House of Representatives passed S.B. 662.
  • On Tuesday the Arkansas House of Representatives passed S.B. 388. This good bill by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) requires any facility that performs abortions to be licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health as an abortion facility.
  • On Tuesday the Arkansas Senate narrowly passed H.B. 1228 by a vote of 18 to 14. This bad bill by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) lets cities in dry counties approve public drinking in “entertainment districts” adjacent to private clubs that sell alcohol.
  • On Tuesday Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed pro-life measure S.B. 527 into law. This good law by Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with hospitals to handle complications from abortion.
  • On Wednesday the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee passed H.B. 1912. This good bill by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) reduces the tax on used cars sold for $4,000 – $10,000 from 6.5% to 3.5%.
  • On Wednesday Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed S.B. 463 into law. This good law by Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) and Rep. Tony Furman (R – Benton) requires the State of Arkansas to provide abortion data to the federal Centers for Disease Control for statistical purposes.
  • On Wednesday Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed H.B. 1592, the Student Protection Act, into law. This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prohibits public schools in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers. It passed the Arkansas Legislature with strong support.
  • Operation Rescue reports that the surgical abortion facility in Little Rock recently placed its 68th emergency call for an ambulance transport at the facility.

Good Bills Passed So Far

Act 820 / H.B. 1592 (Abortionists in Public Schools): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prohibits public schools in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers. Read The Law Here.

Rep. Cloud presents S.B. 388 in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Act 740 / S.B. 527 (Abortion Facilities): This good law by Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with hospitals, and it fixes a flawed definition in a pro-life law passed in 2019. See how your state senator voted here. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 388 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro), Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville), and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) requires any facility that performs abortions to be licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health as an abortion facility, and it prohibits abortions in hospitals except in cases of medical emergency. S.B. 388 will help ensure that every clinic that performs abortions follows all of Arkansas’ laws concerning abortion facilities. This has the potential to save many women and unborn children from abortion. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.C.R. 1007 (Abortion): This good resolution by Rep. Jim Wooten (R – Beebe) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) recognizes January 22 — the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision — as “The Day of Tears” in Arkansas. The resolution acknowledges the 61 million unborn babies killed in abortion in America over the past five decades, and it encourages Arkansans to lower their flags to half-staff on January 22 to mourn the innocent children who have lost their lives. Read The Resolution Here.

Act 787 / S.B. 463 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) and Rep. Tony Furman (R – Benton) requires the State of Arkansas to report abortion data to the federal Centers for Disease Control. It also tightens Arkansas law concerning abortion facility inspections, and it requires abortionists to file certain documentation when the woman is a victim of rape or incest. See how your state senator voted here. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 623 / H.B. 1429 (Home School): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) makes it easier for a student to withdraw from a public school to home school. The law reduces the fourteen-day waiting period currently in Arkansas law for families wishing to transfer out of a public school. It also makes technical corrections to the home school law. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 626 / H.B. 1570 (Prohibiting Sex-Reassignment on Children): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) prohibits sex-reassignment procedures on children. The law also prevents funding of sex-reassignment procedures performed on children. This law will protect children from being subjected to surgeries and procedures that can leave them sterilized and permanently scarred. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 609 / S.B. 474 (Prohibiting Fraudulent Fertility Treatments): This good law by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) prohibits fraud and abuse in fertility treatments. The bill ensures people performing fertility treatments are honest, ethical, and abide by principles of informed-consent. See how your state senator voted here. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 562 / H.B. 1402 (Abortion-Inducing Drugs): This good law by Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) and Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) updates Arkansas’ restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486. It outlines requirements that abortionists must follow in administering abortion-inducing drugs, and it prohibits abortion drugs from being delivered by mail in Arkansas. It also updates current law to ensure doctors who perform chemical abortions are credentialed to handle abortion complications and can transfer the woman to a hospital if she experiences complications. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 561 / H.B. 1589 (Transactions With Abortionists): This good bill by Rep. Harlan Breaux (R – Holiday Island) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) prohibits government entities, including public schools, in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers and affiliates of abortion providers. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 560 / H.B. 1572 (Informed-Consent to Chemical Abortion): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Mountain Home) outlines the informed-consent process for chemical abortion. Act 560 will help ensure women get all the facts about chemical abortion — including its risks, consequences, and pro-life alternatives. This will help save many unborn children from abortion. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 461 / S.B. 354 (Fairness in Women’s Sports): This good law by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R -Smackover) would prevent male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics. This would protect fairness for girls’ sports at school in Arkansas. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 462 / S.B. 289 (Conscience): This good law by Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects healthcare workers’ rights of conscience. Arkansas’ current conscience protections are narrowly focused on abortion, abortifacients, and end of life decisions, and they protect only a limited number of people. S.B. 289 helps broaden these protections for healthcare workers. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 498 / S.B. 85 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) requires an abortionist to show an ultrasound image of the unborn baby to the pregnant woman before an abortion. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 309 / S.B. 6 (Prohibiting Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas, except in cases when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Family Council worked closely with Sen. Rapert to pass this good bill that could save the lives of thousands of children and give the courts an opportunity to overturn decades of bad, pro-abortion rulings. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 358 / H.B. 1408 (Abortion): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) helps prevent abortion providers and their affiliates in Arkansas from receiving Medicaid reimbursements from the state. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 94 / H.B. 1211 (Religion is Essential): This good law by Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton) recognizes that religion and religious organizations are essential in Arkansas. H.B. 1211 will protect churches and religious groups without hampering the government’s ability to respond during a pandemic. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 90 / H.B. 1195 (Pro-Life): This good law by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) enacts legislation ensuring that women are offered information, assistance, and resources that could help them choose an option besides abortion. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 226 / H.B. 1116 (Simon’s Law): This good law by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs) is named in honor of an infant in Missouri who died after doctors put a Do Not Resuscitate order on his chart without his parent’s knowledge or permission. If passed, it would help protect children in Arkansas from being denied life support or having a DNR placed on their medical charts without parental consent. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 311 / H.B. 1061 (No Patient Left Alone): This good law by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) protects patients from being left alone and denied visitors in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities. No one should be barred from being in the hospital with their dying child, spouse, or parent. This law helps address that in Arkansas. See how your state representative votedSee how your state senator voted here. Read The Bill Here.

Act 342 / H.B. 1353 (Marijuana Advertisements): This good bill by Rep. Delia Haak (R – Gentry) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) closes a loophole in Arkansas’ laws regarding medical marijuana advertisements. It clarifies the law to say that marijuana dispensaries and cultivators cannot use a cross of any color or other symbols commonly associated with the practice of medicine in their advertisements. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 392 / H.B. 1544 (Pro-Life Cities Resolution): This good bill by Rep. Kendon Underwood (R – Cave Springs) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) affirms the right of municipalities in Arkansas to declare themselves pro-life. H.B. 1544 outlines some of the findings and language that cities can put in their pro-life resolution. The bill also clarifies that Pro-Life Cities can install signs or banners announcing that they are pro-life. The bill has passed the Arkansas House and the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead the Bill Here.

H.R. 1021 (Home School): This good resolution by Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) recognizes and celebrates 35 years of homeschooling in Arkansas. The resolution passed the Arkansas House on a voice vote. Read The Resolution Here.

S.B. 662 (Prayer): This good bill by Sen. Ricky Hill (R – Cabot) and Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) establishes a Day of Prayer for Arkansas Students annually on the last Wednesday of September. See how your state senator voted here. Read The Bill Here.

Good Bills Filed So Far

H.B. 1882 (Privacy): This good bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) protects physical privacy and safety of Arkansans in showers, locker rooms, changing facilities, and restrooms on government property. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 649 (Lottery): This good bill by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Richard Womack (R – Arkadelphia) requires the Arkansas Lottery to increase the percentage of its revenue budgeted for scholarships to 25% over the next six years. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1830 (Religious Freedom): H.B. 1830 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) protects the right of public school students to express a religious viewpoint in class assignments the same way they could appropriately express a secular viewpoint in an assignment. See how your state representative voted here. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.14 (Religious Freedom): S.J.R. 14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1024 (Religious Freedom): H.J.R. 1024 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1025 (Life): H.J.R. 1025 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It says that the sanctity of life is paramount to all other rights protected by the constitution. It states that Arkansas citizens, acting as jurors, have the sole authority to determine the amount of compensation or civil penalty imposed because of injuries resulting in death or resulting from acts that create a significant risk to life. H.J.R. 1025 will help prevent the State of Arkansas from placing a price tag on human life. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1006 (Recall): H.J.R. 1006 by Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R – Walnut Ridge) amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit voters to recall elected officials and judges in Arkansas. Upon initial review, Family Council supports this amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1010 (Casino Gambling): H.J.R. 1010 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends the Arkansas Constitution to remove authorization of a casino in Pope County. This is a good amendment that will help curtail casino gambling in Arkansas. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1010. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1011 (Casino Gambling): H.J.R. 1011 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It changes the casino amendment that authorizes casino gambling in Pope, Jefferson, Garland, and Crittenden counties. Under H.J.R. 1011, the Arkansas Racing Commission would not issue a casino license in Pope County unless the voters of the county approve conducting casino gaming at a local election. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1011. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1018 (Lottery): H.J.R. 1018 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that proceeds from the Arkansas Lottery may be used to fund scholarships and grants to students at vocational-technical and technical institutes. Currently, lottery scholarships are only available to students enrolled in public or private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Family Council supports legislation that ensures lottery-funded scholarships are managed responsibly. We support H.J.R. 1018. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.16 (Boys and Girls Athletics): S.J.R. 16 by Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require public schools to designate their athletic teams as “male” or “female,” and require student athletes to compete according to their biological sex. This would prevent boys who claim to be girls from competing in girls’ sports at school — and vice versa. Family Council supports this measure. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1160 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) would eliminate the tax on used cars sold for less than $7,500; the bill contains a provision that would take effect in 2023 eliminating the tax on used cars sold for less than $10,000. Family Council has worked for years to eliminate the used car tax, because it hurts single moms and middle class families who often can barely afford to buy a used vehicle, much less pay sales tax on one. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1431 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) eliminates the sales tax on used cars sold for less than $10,000. The bill is similar to H.B. 1160 by Rep. Payton and Sen. Rapert. Family Council has worked for years to eliminate the used car tax, because it hurts single moms and middle class families who often can barely afford to buy a used vehicle, much less pay sales tax on one. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1523 (The Equal Justice Act): This good bill by Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) identifies various protections and criminal penalties currently found in Arkansas law. The bill expands on Arkansas’ law regarding felonies involving violence. It creates the offense of committing a felony involving violence for the purpose of preventing a person from exercising his or her constitutional right. The bill outlines minimum and maximum sentences for this type of felony. It also requires the state to collect and report statistics regarding felonies involving violence committed for the purpose of preventing a person from exercising his or her constitutional right. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1324 (Substance Abuse Treatment for Pregnant Women): This good bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) gives pregnant women priority in accessing substance abuse treatment programs that accept Medicaid. Read The Bill Here.

Bad Bills Passed So Far

Act 681 / S.B. 622 (Hate Crimes): This bad bill by Sen. Jimmy Hickey (R – Texarkana) and Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R – El Dorado), commonly being called a “hate crimes law,” outlines vague, protected classes in state law. This bill is so ambiguous that it’s impossible to know just how far-reaching this legislation may be. S.B. 622’s protections for religious liberty are not adequate. The bill does not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent cities and counties from enacting their own, more stringent hate crimes ordinances. It does not do enough to protect free speech or prevent thought-policing. See how your state senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1228 (Public Drinking): This bad bill by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would let cities in dry counties approve public drinking in “entertainment districts” if the city contains a private club that serves alcohol. Under Arkansas’ “entertainment district” law, alcohol can be carried and consumed outdoors on city streets and sidewalks around bars and restaurants, if approved by the city council. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Bad Bills Defeated So Far

H.B. 1685 (End-of-Life Care): This bad bill by Rep. Michelle Gray (R – Melbourne) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) lets healthcare workers who are not physicians work through end-of-life decisions with patients and family members. It does not require healthcare workers making these decisions to have appropriate training in end-of-life care. It makes it easier to deny a dying person food or water. Family Council strongly opposes this bad bill. The bill has failed to pass the Arkansas House. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1686 (End-of-Life Care): This bad bill by Rep. Michelle Gray (R – Melbourne) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) lets healthcare workers who are not physicians complete Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms. It removes an important provision in state law that says a POLST form is not intended to replace an advance directive. It inadvertently prevents consulting physicians — such as palliative care physicians — from completing POLST forms with patients. Family Council strongly opposes this bad bill. The bill has failed to pass the Arkansas House. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1697 (No-Fault Divorce): This bad bill by Rep. Ashley Hudson (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) permits no-fault divorce in Arkansas. Under current law, couples in Arkansas can divorces in cases such as infidelity, abuse, following a lengthy separation, and other circumstances. H.B. 1697 would permit divorce due to irreconcilable differences, discord, or conflict of personalities regardless of if the husband or wife is at fault. The bill has failed to pass the Arkansas House. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Bad Bills Filed So Far

S.B. 655 (Sex-Education): This bad bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) and Rep. Megan Godfrey (D – Springdale) implements Planned Parenthood-style comprehensive sex-education in public schools in Arkansas. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1869 (Gambling): This bad bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Russellville) would legalize internet gambling and Keno under the Arkansas Lottery. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1014 (Capping Damages): H.J.R. 1014 by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages that courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, H.J.R. 1014 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.8 (Capping Damages): S.J.R. 8 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View), Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, S.J.R. 8 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1015 (Restricting Evidence): H.J.R. 1015 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.7 (Restricting Evidence): S.J.R. 7 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) and Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.9 (Restricting Evidence): S.J.R. 9 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark), Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 3 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) and Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) enacts hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill is virtually identical to H.B. 1020. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we oppose this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1020 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) enacts hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill is virtually identical to S.B. 3. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we oppose this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1008 (Initiatives and Referenda): H.J.R. 1008 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R – Horatio) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives and referenda submitted to voters via petition drives to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. However, it would not require constitutional amendments submitted by the General Assembly to be approved by 60% of the vote. Family Council opposes this measure. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1066 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) would let microbrewery operators ship beer directly to private residences anywhere in the state of Arkansas or to residences in other states that allow direct shipment of alcohol. The bill may not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1148 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R – Walnut Ridge) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) overhauls Arkansas’ local option election law concerning alcohol. The bill reduces the threshold for taking a county wet or dry via a petition drive. Liquor stores in wet counties would be able to continue operating even if the county voted to go dry. The bill would make it easier for some cities or towns in a dry county to be wet while the rest of the county is dry. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 510 (LGBT Counseling): This bad bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) and Rep. Tippi McCullough (D – Little Rock) would prohibit healthcare professionals from helping children overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion. However, the bill would permit pro-LGBT counseling that encourages children embrace a different sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a bad bill that hurts healthcare professionals and endangers the welfare of children. Read The Bill Here.