March 25, 2011 | Posted in Abortion, Legislature | By

Below is video of Rep. Linda Tyler (D-Conway) adjourning the House Public Health Committee immediately after a voice vote on HB1979, ignoring the request for a roll call vote.


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HB1979 was a pro-life bill that would have prohibited abortion at state-owned or operated facilities like UAMS, except to save the life of the mother.

House Rules say that when I vote is taken, if two members of the committee raise their hands asking for a roll call vote, where committee member’s names are called and votes recorded individually, the chair of the committee should order a roll call vote be taken.

Here’s the problem: At least two representatives clearly asked for a roll call in that meeting. Rep. Mayberry (whose hand you see go up in the video) and Rep. Lea raised their hands and asked for a roll call. Rep. Tyler, however, declared she didn’t see two hands, and immediately adjourned the committee.

I personally think this is a case of the Chair seeing what the Chair wants to see (like when a Committee Chair declares a quorum is present for a meeting when less than half the committee is actually there). Voters need to let Rep. Tyler know that they disapprove of heavy-handed conduct like this in committee meetings.

Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.