Thursday, January 6, 2011

On Thursday, Family Council President Jerry Cox unveiled his group’s legislative agenda for the upcoming session of the Arkansas Legislature.

Cox told reporters, “We’ve assembled what we’re calling a ‘bill bank,’ and we’ve placed it on our website. It’s a free resource that lawmakers and voters alike can browse to see what legislation they like and what they want passed in Little Rock over the next few weeks.”

Cox said the legislation outlined in Family Council’s bill bank represents some of the ideal bills they hope legislators will consider sponsoring when they convene next week.

Cox also said while it may not be realistic for every bill on their list to be passed over the next 90 days, his goal is to create a resource for lawmakers to use.

“Even if only half of these bills are filed, it could make for one of our busiest sessions ever. There’s just a lot on this list. But when lawmakers are searching for positive legislation that will make Arkansas a better place to live and raise a family, we want them to turn to this as a tool they can use.”

Family Council’s website lists 11 different drafts of new lottery legislation; a dozen new pro-life bills; and a variety of other pieces of legislation ranging from taxes to religious freedoms. All in all, there are over 30 bills on the list.

“All of our new lottery regulations are fully-drafted and ready to go,” Cox said. “All they need are sponsors who will file them next week. Representative Altes pre-filed a couple of tax-break bills similar to some on our list, so we look forward to supporting and lobbying for his legislation when it comes up.

“To give you a snapshot of our bill bank, we have draft legislation that would require the Arkansas Lottery to allocate 35% of its revenue for college scholarships. We have a bill that would reallocate the Lottery’s advertising budget for additional scholarships. And we have a bill that bans lottery vending machines.

“We also have bills that raise the medical standards to which abortion clinics must adhere, ban domestic partnership registries like the one in Eureka Springs, reduce the sales tax on used cars, and require a countywide vote on the issuance of any private club liquor license in a dry county.”

When asked which bills were most important, Cox said, “The bills we really want to see sponsored and passed are the lottery and pro-life bills. Our Lottery Commission is absolutely out of control, and needs to be reined in—and that’s something I believe many lawmakers are ready to do. Also, there’s no reason for a state as pro-life as Arkansas to have such a high abortion rate. So we plan to focus a lot of our energy on those two areas.

“I think after the legislature convenes, we’re going to see a strong emphasis on reducing taxes, so getting some good, family-oriented tax breaks passed will be doable, and we look forward to being part of that. When it’s all said and done, though, every one of these bills is important to us, and that’s why we’re going to be working hard to find sponsors as soon as possible.”

Cox said his group plans to continue updating the information in their bill bank on a regular basis.


To view Family Council’s online bill bank, click here.