Washington County Republican Committee Passes Resolution Against Hate Crimes Legislation

On Wednesday the Washington County Republican Committee passed a resolution calling on the Arkansas Legislature to reject any hate crimes legislation in Arkansas.

The resolution reads,

A Resolution Opposed to Hate Crime Legislation in Arkansas

WHEREAS, the Republican Party was founded in 1854 by a group of people who were united in their desire to abolish slavery; and,

WHEREAS, the Republican Party abolished slavery in 1865, passed the 14th Amendment to the United States constitution in 1866, passed the 19th Amendment in 1919 guaranteeing women the right to vote, granted Native Americans citizenship in 1924, and integrated the Little Rock School District and passed the Civil Rights Act in 1957; and,

WHEREAS, the Republican Party has been the only party fighting “hate crimes” throughout the history of our county; and,

WHEREAS, in addition to these achievements, the Republican Party has also fought for the adherence to impartial justice and equity, all of which is shared by the Washington County Republican Committee; and,

WHEREAS, our Nation currently is seeing partiality, intemperate behavior, and violence stemming from situations unwittingly or deliberately presented as unjust;

Whereas against such a background, legislation is to be considered by the Arkansas Legislature to enact a “hate crime” bill;

Whereas such a bill proposes to increase criminal penalties due to perceived intents of perpetrators, intents stemming from characteristics of victims which can be based upon what is increasingly being known as identity politics;

Whereas Arkansas and Federal laws already contain provisions for aggravating and mitigating circumstances based upon empirical evaluation of criminal activities;

Whereas those provisions include divisions between misdemeanors and felonies and recognition of varied degrees of offense;

Whereas prosecutors and the courts are permitted further discretions in application of such laws;

Whereas such divisions and discretions against the backdrop of dispassionate legislation allow for careful application of justice designed to be separate from emotions and transient thoughts;

Whereas hate crime legislation is largely symbolic and provides no deterrent to criminal activity;

Whereas provisions to minutely examine intents of criminal defendants can ultimately expand into the criminalization of beliefs, or so-called “thought crimes;”

Whereas such expansion can also have a chilling effect on legitimate First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religious practice and belief;

Whereas such expansion can also open the door to criminalization of other legitimate social behaviors considered by some to be politically incorrect, behaviors which in some cases are already being sanctioned by job and other income losses and by social harassment;

Now, therefore, given our concerns listed above, be it resolved by the Washington County Republican Committee that we request the Arkansas Legislature to affirm its adherence to dispassionate justice by rejecting any hate crime legislation for our State.

On Monday, Sen. Jim Hendren (R – Gravette) and Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) filed S.B. 3 to enact hate crimes legislation in Arkansas.

Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation like S.B. 3 for more than 25 years. You can read more about why we oppose it here.

Family Council Action Committee Releases 2019 Legislative Report Card

LITTLE ROCK, AR – On Thursday Family Council Action Committee released its legislative report card for the 2019 Arkansas General Assembly. The report card scored 25 bills in the Arkansas House and Senate. Bills ranged from right-to-life, education, marijuana, religious liberty, and other issues. Lawmakers earned letter grades ranging from A-F based on how they voted on the 25 bills. Lawmakers had to vote on at least 15 of the 25 bills in the report card in order to receive a letter grade and to be considered for the award.

Jerry Cox, President of Family Council Action Committee, stated, “We chose bills based on our core belief in promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values. These bills were chosen because they address issues conservative Arkansans care about, including abortion; religious liberty; marijuana; education; and others. We wanted to answer the common question from constituents, ‘How did my legislator vote?’” Arkansans can order the report card by calling 501-375-7000, emailing ken@familycouncilactioncommittee.com or see candidates’ votes online at www.ArkansasReport.com

Family Council Action Committee also announced the recipients of the 2019 Statesman Award. “This year we are awarding a record number of legislators for their hard work and good votes,” Cox stated, “we commend these legislators for promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values during the 2019 legislative session.” Ninety legislators received the award based on how they voted on the 25 bills in the report card.

The 2019 Statesman Award recipients included 24 senators and 66 representative:

Senator Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville)

Senator Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers)

Senator Ronald Caldwell (R – Wynne)

Senator Eddie Cheatham (D – Crossett)

Senator Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale)

Senator John Cooper (R – Jonesboro)

Senator Jonathan Dismang (R – Beebe)

Senator Lance Eads (R – Springdale)

Senator Jane English (R – North Little Rock)

Senator Scott Flippo (R – Bull Shoals)

Senator Trent Garner (R – El Dorado)

Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton)

Senator Jim Hendren (R – Gravette)

Senator Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs)

Senator Jimmy Hickey (R – Texarkana)

Senator Ricky Hill (R – Cabot)

Senator Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View)

Senator Blake Johnson (R – Corning)

Senator Mark Johnson (R – Little Rock)

Senator Jason Rapert (R – Conway)

Senator Terry Rice (R – Waldron)

Senator Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch)

Senator James Sturch (R – Batesville)

Senator David Wallace (R – Leachville)

Representative Sonia Barker (R – Smackover)

Representative Rick Beck (R – Center Ridge)

Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville)

Representative Stan Berry (R – Dover)

Representative Justin Boyd (R – Fort Smith)

Representative Ken Bragg (R – Sheridan)

Representative Harlan Breaux (R – Holiday Island)

Representative Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood)

Representative Sarah Capp (R – Ozark)

Representative Craig Christiansen (R – Bald Knob)

Representative Joe Cloud (R – Russellville)

Representative Cameron Cooper (R – Romance)

Representative Bruce Cozart (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith)

Representative Carol Dalby (R – Texarkana)

Representative Marsh Davis (R – Cherokee Village)

Representative Gary Deffenbaugh (R – Van Buren)

Representative Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville)

Representative Les Eaves (R – Searcy)

Representative Jon Eubanks (R – Paris)

Representative Brian Evans (R – Cabot)

Representative Charlene Fite (R – Van Buren)

Representative Lanny Fite (R – Benton)

Representative Jack Fortner (R – Yellville)

Representative Mickey Gates (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould)

Representative Justin Gonzales (R – Okolona)

Representative Michelle Gray (R – Melbourne)

Representative Spencer Hawks (R – Conway)

Representative David Hillman (R – Almyra)

Representative Grant Hodges (R – Rogers)

Representative Mike Holcomb (R – Pine Bluff)

Representative Steve Hollowell (R – Forrest City)

Representative Douglas House (R – North Little Rock)

Representative Lane Jean (R – Magnolia)

Representative Joe Jett (R – Success)

Representative Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood)

Representative Jasen Kelly (R – Benton)

Representative Jack Ladyman (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle)

Representative Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs)

Representative Roger Lynch (R – Lonoke)

Representative John Maddox (R – Mena)

Representative Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley)

Representative Austin McCollum (R – Bentonville)

Representative Gayla McKenzie (R – Gravette)

Representative Ron McNair (R – Alpena)

Representative Stephen Meeks (R – Greenbrier)

Representative Josh Miller (R – Heber Springs)

Representative John Payton (R – Wilburn)

Representative Clint Penzo (R – Springdale)

Representative Marcus Richmond (R – Harvey)

Representative Laurie Rushing (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Johnny Rye (R – Trumann)

Representative Keith Slape (R – Compton)

Representative Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Stu Smith (R – Batesville)

Representative James Sorvillo (R – Little Rock)

Representative Nelda Speaks (R – Mountain Home)

Representative Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Dwight Tosh (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Jeff Wardlaw (R – Hermitage)

Representative Les Warren (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Danny Watson (R – Hope)

Representative Carlton Wing (R – North Little Rock)

Representative Richard Womack (R – Arkadelphia)

Family Council Action Committee Political Director Ken Yang is working with the recipients to schedule presentation of the awards to the legislators in their districts in the coming weeks.

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

###

Gov. Hutchinson Signs Marijuana Restrictions

This week Gov. Asa Hutchinson held a bill-signing ceremony for two bills that restrict marijuana edibles and marijuana advertising.

S.B. 440 by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) prohibits marijuana stores from selling marijuana-infused candy and other foods that are likely to appeal to children.

We have read time and again about children hospitalized after eating gummies, cookies, or other foods laced with so-called “medical” marijuana. S.B. 440 helps protect Arkansas’ children from this dangerous drug.

S.B. 441 by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) restricts medical marijuana advertisements in much the same way as tobacco advertisements. Marijuana ads cannot target children. They cannot be placed near schools or daycares. And they have to include disclaimers about the dangers of marijuana.

This bill will help tighten Arkansas’ restrictions on “medical” marijuana.

Family Council was pleased to support both of these bills during the legislative session, and we enjoyed attending the bill-signing ceremony with Gov. Hutchinson, Sen. Bledsoe, and Rep. Lundstrum this week.