The House Public Health Committee today refused to pass yet another pro-life bill. HB1983 by Rep. David Meeks would have provided stronger, more modern protections for doctors and healthcare workers who refuse to perform abortions, embryonic stem cell research, and a variety of other medical procedures that may violate their conscience.
The bill failed to get the eleven votes it needed to get out of committee. Below is a breakdown of the vote. (more…)
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.
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.