A lot is happening at the Capitol. Read some of the highlights below.
Pro-Life History Made. In case you missed it, both the House and Senate voted this week to override Governor Beebe’s veto of SB134 by Sen. Jason Rapert. SB134 prohibits abortion at or after the twelfth week of pregnancy, except in certain cases. This is the strongest pro-life law in the nation, and the second time this session the legislature has voted to override a veto.
“Tim Tebow” Bill Filed Today. Rep. Lowery has filed HB1789 to let home schooled students participate in interscholastic activities at their local public school. The bill requires home schooled students participating in the activities to demonstrate academic proficiency and comply with school rules on practice times, drug testing, fees, and so forth. It would not affect home schoolers who choose not to participate in public school activities.
Bill to Defund Abortion Providers Filed. Today Senator Jason Rapert filed a bill to regulate public-funding of abortion providers. Public funds awarded to abortion providers indirectly facilitate and subsidize abortion and abortion counseling in spite of a state constitutional amendment to the contrary. SB818 by Sen. Rapert takes abortion providers out of the state’s checkbook.
Child Maltreatment Bill Hits Roadblock in Committee. A good bill filed by Rep. Charlene Fite hit a roadblock in committee today. HB1447 would amend the Child Maltreatment Act to make abortion providers mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse—just like doctors, teachers, and others. The bill would not prevent anyone from getting an abortion, but it would help protect children. The bill was brought up for consideration in committee today, but was pulled after representatives began raising questions about specific sections of the bill. We expect the bill to be brought back up for consideration soon.
Bill to Help Home Schoolers Compete for Scholarships Filed. HB1629 by Rep. Ann Clemmer was filed earlier this week, and was amended today. The bill would ensure Arkansas law does not place home schooled students at a disadvantage when applying for the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship. In the past, qualified home schooled students—even some National Merit Scholar finalists—were denied this scholarship because they did not go to a traditional public school. HB1629 addresses this and will ensure all students are on an equal playing field when applying for the scholarship.