The following is a press release from Family Council Action Committee. You can see video of Family Council Action Committee’s press conference here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 5, 2018
At a press conference on Monday, Family Council Action Committee formally announced its opposition to Issue One, a proposed constitutional amendment restricting the amount of money awarded in lawsuits.
Executive Director Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “We oppose Issue One because it puts a price tag on human life. Most people would agree that we should never put a value on human life unless the word ‘priceless’ is involved. Issue One not only puts a dollar value on human life, but a pretty low value at that—just $500,000.”
Cox explained how Issue One places a dollar value on human life. “Issue One is a being billed as a tort reform measure. Sadly, like too many things in politics today, what we’re told and what we will get are two very different things. Issue One limits noneconomic damages in lawsuits at $500,000 for injuries such as pain and suffering or mental anguish. That might be okay when you’re talking about people suing a restaurant because they spilled hot coffee on themselves, but it’s another thing when you’re talking about a grandmother who dies in a nursing home because the facility didn’t take care of her, or if a drunk driver paralyzes your child for life. If your grandmother dies because her nursing home was negligent, you can’t sue the facility for economic damages like lost wages because nursing home residents aren’t employed, which means under the law they have no “economic value” such as lost wages. Noneconomic damages are all they have. Issue One basically guarantees the nursing home won’t have to pay more than $500,000 if it is responsible for your grandma’s death.”
Cox said Issue One treats young children, elderly adults, and others who do not earn an income as if their lives are not as valuable as everyone else’s. “This amendment sets the going rate for people killed or injured due to the negligence of others. Retired husband or wife: $500,000. Homemaker with four young children, but no outside income: $500,000. Mentally-disabled child: $500,000. Family man on disability: $500,000. But wealthy wage earners are treated better. They could collect millions of dollars in economic damages because of projected future earnings and lost wages. “Currently, any resident of a long-term health care facility who is abused or neglected can take the case to court. This goes for all other injury lawsuits, as well. There, a jury of everyday Arkansans hears the facts of the case and then awards damages based on what they believe to be fair and just. This jury system is a guaranteed constitutional right enjoyed by every person. After all, everyone who needs it should have their day in court and expect justice. Issue One is an insult to justice. Issue One ties the hands of judges and juries by letting the State set an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all value of no more than $500,000 in noneconomic damages,” Cox said.
Cox said Issue One ultimately does not stop frivolous lawsuits. “The backers of this amendment could have written a proposal that focused on preventing lawyers from enriching themselves on frivolous lawsuits. They could have written an amendment that addressed some of the medical malpractice problems that good physicians face. Instead they wrote an amendment that puts a price tag on human life and leaves the door wide open for the nursing home industry to neglect our loved ones. Nursing home neglect already is too common, even with the threat of huge lawsuits. If Issue One passes, that problem is simply going to get worse.”
Family Council Action Committee Political Director Ken Yang rolled out a seven-point plan for defeating Issue One. The plan includes rallying faith leaders, mobilizing a statewide grassroots network, a direct mail and social media effort, conducting speaking engagements, earned media, voter’s guides, and a get-out-the-vote campaign.
Family Council Action Committee is a conservative 501(c)(4) organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Last week former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made headlines for being appointed too — and subsequently forced out of — a volunteer position on the board of the Country Music Association Foundation.
The CMA Foundation provides grants and charitable donations for music education. One of the foundation’s goals is to help students connect with music.
In a letter to the CMA Foundation board, Huckabee outlined the profound impact music had on his own childhood:
Music changed my life. I grew up dirt poor in south Arkansas. No male upstream from me in my entire family ever even graduated from high school. I had no reason to believe that my life would consist of anything but scratching out a meager living and hoping to pay rent in a house I would never own just as generations before me had done.
Music changed that. The gift of an electric guitar by my parents when I was 11 put in my hands a future. It took them a year to pay for the $99 guitar they bought from the J. C. Penney catalog. Granted, I was never good enough to make a full-time living at music, but the confidence I gained by playing, being in front of people, and competing against myself and the low expectations I grew up with was transformative.
The CMA Foundation said it believed it could benefit from Governor Huckabee’s experience as a leader in Arkansas. Given this, along with the governor’s story and his love for music, it made sense when he was appointed to the CMA Foundation Board last week.
However, wealthy record label owners and liberal music agents immediately began hurling insults at Gov. Huckabee and threatening to boycott the CMA simply because Huckabee — like tens of millions of other Americans — believes marriage ought to be the union of one man and one woman.
Following the uncalled-for, vitriolic backlash, Gov. Huckabee resigned from the board. In his resignation letter, Gov. Huckabee wrote,
It appears that I will make history as having the shortest tenure in the history of the CMA Foundation Board. I genuinely regret that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold support for the programs for students if I remained. I had NO idea I was that influential! I’m somewhat flattered to be of such consequence when all I thought I was doing was voluntarily serving on a non-profit board without pay in order to continue my decades of advocacy for the arts and especially music.
The message here is “Hate Wins.” Bullies succeeded in making it untenable to have “someone like me” involved. I would imagine however that many of the people who buy tickets and music are not that “unlike me.” . . . .
If the industry doesn’t want people of faith or who hold conservative and traditional political views to buy tickets and music, they should be forthcoming and say it. Surely neither the artists or the business people of the industry want that.
Until recently, the arts was the one place America could set aside political, geographical, racial, religious, and economic barriers and come together. If the arts community becomes part of the polarization instead of bridging communities and people over the power of civil norms as reflected in the arts, then we as a civilization may not be long for this earth.
Frankly, I’m not sure what Nashville is thinking on this one.
Country music’s core fan base is in Middle America — the most conservative and most religious part of the country.
Ousting Mike Huckabee from the CMA Foundation’s board for being a conservative and holding a Christian view of marriage sends a clear message as to what the country music industry thinks of its own fans.
The message seems to be if you want to help promote music and education, Christians need not apply.
Photo Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Mike Huckabee) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons