A Quick Look Back at the Week and Legislation We’re Watching

Sen. Beckham presents legislation in the Arkansas Senate.

We’re finishing another week at the Arkansas Legislature.

Several different measures came up for consideration over the past few days.

Below is a quick breakdown of the week.

Monday

  • The House passed S.B. 289 protecting healthcare workers’ rights of conscience.
  • The Senate passed H.B. 1544 affirming the right of cities and towns across Arkansas to declare themselves pro-life.
  • The House passed H.B. 1589 prohibiting government transactions with abortionists.

Tuesday

  • The House passed H.B. 1402 regulating abortion-inducing drugs.
  • The House Public Health Committee passed H.B. 1572 outlining informed-consent requirements for abortion-inducing drugs.
  • The Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee passed H.B. 1228 permitting public drinking in entertainment districts in dry counties.
Rep. Cloud and Arkansas Right to Life Director Rose Mimms testify in support of pro-life bill S.B. 85.

Wednesday

  • The Arkansas Senate rejected H.B. 1228 expanding public drinking to dry counties.
  • The Arkansas House passed H.B. 1572 outlining informed-consent requirements for abortion-inducing drugs.

Thursday

  • The House Education Committee passed S.B. 354 preventing biological males from competing in girls’ sports at school.
  • The Arkansas Senate concurred in amendments the House made to S.B. 289, the bill to protect healthcare workers’ rights of conscience.
  • The Arkansas Senate passed S.B. 463 addressing abortion reporting and abortion clinic inspections.
  • The Arkansas Senate passed S.B. 474 prohibiting fraud and abuse in fertility treatments.
  • The House Public Health Committee passed S.B. 85 concerning ultrasounds performed before abortions.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the bills we support, oppose, or are watching closely.

Good Bills Passed

Act 309 / S.B. 6 (Prohibiting Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas, except in cases when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Family Council worked closely with Sen. Rapert to pass this good bill that could save the lives of thousands of children and give the courts an opportunity to overturn decades of bad, pro-abortion rulings. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 358 / H.B. 1408 (Abortion): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) helps prevent abortion providers and their affiliates in Arkansas from receiving Medicaid reimbursements from the state. The bill has passed the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 94 / H.B. 1211 (Religion is Essential): This good law by Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton) recognizes that religion and religious organizations are essential in Arkansas. H.B. 1211 will protect churches and religious groups without hampering the government’s ability to respond during a pandemic. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 90 / H.B. 1195 (Pro-Life): This good bill by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) enacts legislation ensuring that women are offered information, assistance, and resources that could help them choose an option besides abortion. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 226 / H.B. 1116 (Simon’s Law): This good bill by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs) is named in honor of an infant in Missouri who died after doctors put a Do Not Resuscitate order on his chart without his parent’s knowledge or permission. If passed, it would help protect children in Arkansas from being denied life support or having a DNR placed on their medical charts without parental consent. The bill has passed into law. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 311 / H.B. 1061 (No Patient Left Alone): This good bill by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) protects patients from being left alone and denied visitors in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities. No one should be barred from being in the hospital with their dying child, spouse, or parent. This bill helps address that in Arkansas. See how your state representative votedSee how your state senator voted here. Read The Bill Here.

Sen. Stubblefield presents legislation in committee.

Act 342 / H.B. 1353 (Marijuana Advertisements): This good bill by Rep. Delia Haak (R – Gentry) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) closes a loophole in Arkansas’ laws regarding medical marijuana advertisements. It clarifies the law to say that marijuana dispensaries and cultivators cannot use a cross of any color or other symbols commonly associated with the practice of medicine in their advertisements. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 392 / H.B. 1544 (Pro-Life Cities Resolution): This good bill by Rep. Kendon Underwood (R – Cave Springs) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) affirms the right of municipalities in Arkansas to declare themselves pro-life. H.B. 1544 outlines some of the findings and language that cities can put in their pro-life resolution. The bill also clarifies that Pro-Life Cities can install signs or banners announcing that they are pro-life. The bill has passed the Arkansas House and the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead the Bill Here.

S.B. 289 (Conscience): This good bill by Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects healthcare workers’ rights of conscience. Arkansas’ current conscience protections are narrowly focused on abortion, abortifacients, and end of life decisions, and they protect only a limited number of people. S.B. 289 helps broaden these protections for healthcare workers. See how your state senator voted here. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Good Bills Filed

Rep. Barker and Family Council staff member Ken Yang testify in support of S.B. 354 in committee.

H.B. 1570 (Prohibiting Sex-Reassignment on Children): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) prohibits sex-reassignment procedures on children. The bill also prevents funding of sex-reassignment procedures performed on children. This bill will protect children from being subjected to surgeries and procedures that can leave them sterilized and permanently scarred. The bill has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives and been sent to the senate. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 354 (Fairness in Women’s Sports): This good bill by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R -Smackover) would prevent male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics. This would protect fairness for girls’ sports at school in Arkansas. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Sen. Beckham presents S.B. 474 from the floor of the senate on Thursday, March 18.

S.B. 474 (Prohibiting Fraudulent Fertility Treatments): This good bill by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) prohibits fraud and abuse in fertility treatments. The bill ensures people performing fertility treatments are honest, ethical, and abide by principles of informed-consent. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1572 (Informed-Consent to Chemical Abortion): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Mountain Home) outlines the informed-consent process for chemical abortion. Arkansas’ current informed-consent laws for abortion are geared primarily for surgical abortion procedures. H.B. 1572 will help ensure women get all the facts about chemical abortion — including its risks, consequences, and pro-life alternatives. This will help save many unborn children from abortion. The bill has passed the Arkansas House. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1589 passed the Arkansas House of Representatives with 74 votes.

H.B. 1589 (Transactions With Abortionists): This good bill by Rep. Harlan Breaux (R – Holiday Island) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) prohibits government entities, including public schools, in Arkansas from engaging in transactions with abortion providers and affiliates of abortion providers. See how your state representative voted here. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 388 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro), Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville), and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) requires any facility that performs abortions to be licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health as an abortion facility, and it prohibits abortions in hospitals except in cases of medical emergency. S.B. 388 will help ensure that every clinic that performs abortions follows all of Arkansas’ laws concerning abortion facilities. This has the potential to save many women and unborn children from abortion. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 527 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with hospitals, and it fixes a flawed definition in a pro-life law passed in 2019. Read The Bill Here.

Sen. Blake Johnson presents S.B. 463 in the Arkansas Senate on Thursday, March 18.

S.B. 463 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) and Rep. Tony Furman (R – Benton) requires the State of Arkansas to report abortion data to the federal Centers for Disease Control. It also tightens Arkansas law concerning abortion facility inspections, and it requires abortionists to file certain documentation when the woman is a victim of rape or incest. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1024 (Religious Freedom): H.J.R. 1024 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.14 (Religious Freedom): S.J.R. 14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1025 (Life): H.J.R. 1025 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It says that the sanctity of life is paramount to all other rights protected by the constitution. It states that Arkansas citizens, acting as jurors, have the sole authority to determine the amount of compensation or civil penalty imposed because of injuries resulting in death or resulting from acts that create a significant risk to life. H.J.R. 1025 will help prevent the State of Arkansas from placing a price tag on human life. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1006 (Recall): H.J.R. 1006 by Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R – Walnut Ridge) amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit voters to recall elected officials and judges in Arkansas. Upon initial review, Family Council supports this amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1010 (Casino Gambling): H.J.R. 1010 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends the Arkansas Constitution to remove authorization of a casino in Pope County. This is a good amendment that will help curtail casino gambling in Arkansas. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1010. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1011 (Casino Gambling): H.J.R. 1011 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It changes the casino amendment that authorizes casino gambling in Pope, Jefferson, Garland, and Crittenden counties. Under H.J.R. 1011, the Arkansas Racing Commission would not issue a casino license in Pope County unless the voters of the county approve conducting casino gaming at a local election. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1011. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1018 (Lottery): H.J.R. 1018 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that proceeds from the Arkansas Lottery may be used to fund scholarships and grants to students at vocational-technical and technical institutes. Currently, lottery scholarships are only available to students enrolled in public or private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Family Council supports legislation that ensures lottery-funded scholarships are managed responsibly. We support H.J.R. 1018. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.16 (Boys and Girls Athletics): S.J.R. 16 by Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require public schools to designate their athletic teams as “male” or “female,” and require student athletes to compete according to their biological sex. This would prevent boys who claim to be girls from competing in girls’ sports at school — and vice versa. Family Council supports this measure. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1402 (Abortion-Inducing Drugs): This good bill by Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) and Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) updates Arkansas’ restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486. It outlines requirements that abortionists must follow in administering abortion-inducing drugs, and it prohibits abortion drugs from being delivered by mail in Arkansas. It also updates current law to ensure doctors who perform chemical abortions are credentialed to handle abortion complications and can transfer the woman to a hospital if she experiences complications. The bill has passed the Arkansas House. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1324 (Substance Abuse Treatment for Pregnant Women): This good bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) gives pregnant women priority in accessing substance abuse treatment programs that accept Medicaid. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1523 (The Equal Justice Act): This good bill by Rep. Delia Haak (R – Gentry) identifies various protections and criminal penalties currently found in Arkansas law. The bill expands on Arkansas’ law regarding felonies involving violence. It creates the offense of committing a felony involving violence for the purpose of preventing a person from exercising his or her constitutional right. The bill outlines minimum and maximum sentences for this type of felony. It also requires the state to collect and report statistics regarding felonies involving violence committed for the purpose of preventing a person from exercising his or her constitutional right. Read The Bill Here.

H.C.R. 1007 (Abortion): This good resolution by Rep. Jim Wooten (R – Beebe) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) recognizes January 22 — the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision — as “The Day of Tears” in Arkansas. The resolution acknowledges the 61 million of unborn babies killed in abortion in America over the past five decades, and encourages Arkansans to lower their flags to half-staff on January 22 to mourn the innocent children who have lost their lives. Read The Resolution Here.

Rep. Cloud and OB/GYN Dr. Richard Wyatt testify in support of S.B. 85 before the House Public Health Committee on Thursday, March 18.

S.B. 85 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) requires an abortionist to show an ultrasound image of the unborn baby to the pregnant woman before an abortion. Currently, Arkansas law says an abortionist must offer to let the woman see the ultrasound image. Research indicates that some women are less likely to have an abortion once they see an ultrasound image of their unborn child. That means pro-life bills like S.B. 85 can help further decrease the number of abortions in Arkansas. Arkansas Right to Life is the chief proponent of this bill, and we fully support their efforts. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and the House Public Health Committee. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1160 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) would eliminate the tax on used cars sold for less than $7,500; the bill contains a provision that would take effect in 2023 eliminating the tax on used cars sold for less than $10,000. Family Council has worked for years to eliminate the used car tax, because it hurts single moms and middle class families who often can barely afford to buy a used vehicle, much less pay sales tax on one. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1431 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) eliminates the sales tax on used cars sold for less than $10,000. The bill is similar to H.B. 1160 by Rep. Payton and Sen. Rapert. Family Council has worked for years to eliminate the used car tax, because it hurts single moms and middle class families who often can barely afford to buy a used vehicle, much less pay sales tax on one. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1430 (“Tim Tebow” Law): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) makes technical adjustments to Arkansas’ “Tim Tebow” law that allows home schoolers to participate in interscholastic activities at public and private schools. H.B. 1430 makes it easier for home schoolers to play sports or other activities outside their resident school district. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1461 (Home School): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) helps give home schooled students equal access to tests like the ACT, SAT, PSAT, AP Test, and other assessments. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1429 (Home School): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) makes it easier for a student to withdraw from a public school to home school. The bill reduces the fourteen-day waiting period currently in Arkansas law for families wishing to transfer out of a public school. It also makes technical corrections to the home school law. Read The Bill Here.

H.R. 1021 (Home School): This good resolution by Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) recognizes and celebrates 35 years of homeschooling in Arkansas. Read The Resolution Here.

Bad Bills

H.J.R.1014 (Capping Damages): H.J.R. 1014 by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages that courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, H.J.R. 1014 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.8 (Capping Damages): S.J.R. 8 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View), Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, S.J.R. 8 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1015 (Restricting Evidence): H.J.R. 1015 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.7 (Restricting Evidence): S.J.R. 7 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) and Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.9 (Restricting Evidence): S.J.R. 9 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark), Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 3 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) and Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) enacts hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill is virtually identical to H.B. 1020. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we oppose this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1020 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) enacts hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill is virtually identical to S.B. 3. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we oppose this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1008 (Initiatives and Referenda): H.J.R. 1008 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R – Horatio) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives and referenda submitted to voters via petition drives to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. However, it would not require constitutional amendments submitted by the General Assembly to be approved by 60% of the vote. Family Council opposes this measure. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1228 (Public Drinking): This bad bill by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would let cities in dry counties approve public drinking in “entertainment districts” if the city contains a private club that serves alcohol. Under Arkansas’ “entertainment district” law, alcohol can be carried and consumed outdoors on city streets and sidewalks around bars and restaurants, if approved by the city council. The bill has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives, but has not been approved by the Arkansas Senate. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1066 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) would let microbrewery operators ship beer directly to private residences anywhere in the state of Arkansas or to residences in other states that allow direct shipment of alcohol. The bill may not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1148 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R – Walnut Ridge) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) overhauls Arkansas’ local option election law concerning alcohol. The bill reduces the threshold for taking a county wet or dry via a petition drive. Liquor stores in wet counties would be able to continue operating even if the county voted to go dry. The bill would make it easier for some cities or towns in a dry county to be wet while the rest of the county is dry. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 510 (LGBT Counseling): This bad bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) and Rep. Tippi McCullough (D – Little Rock) would prohibit healthcare professionals from helping children overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion. However, the bill would permit pro-LGBT counseling that encourages children embrace a different sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a bad bill that hurts healthcare professionals and endangers the welfare of children. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1697 (No-Fault Divorce): This bad bill by Rep. Ashley Hudson (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) permits no-fault divorce in Arkansas. Under current law, couples in Arkansas can divorces in cases such as infidelity, abuse, following a lengthy separation, and other circumstances. H.B. 1697 would permit divorce due to irreconcilable differences, discord, or conflict of personalities regardless of if the husband or wife is at fault. Read The Bill Here.

Other Legislation to Watch

H.R. 1011 (Recognizing the Cherokee Nation West): This resolution by Rep. Marcus Richmond (R – Harvey) and others calls on the federal government to recognize Cherokee Nation West as a separate tribe from the larger Cherokee Nation. Recognizing Native American tribes in Arkansas could facilitate future efforts to build Indian casinos in the state. For this reason, Family Council generally has had concerns about formal recognizing this tribe and others. Read The Resolution Here.

S.B.339 (Alcohol): This bill by Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) and Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Russellville) would let restaurants sell sealed containers of alcohol to-go and deliver alcoholic beverages to consumers in a wet county. The bill may not have sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1069  (Contraceptives): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) lets pharmacists dispense oral contraceptives to women without a prescription from a doctor. Family Council previously opposed this bill. However, Rep. Pilkington has filed amendments to the bill. His amendments address objections Family Council raised against H.B. 1069. At this time, Family Council is neutral on this bill. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 32 (Alcohol): This bill by Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) and Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) would let retail liquor permit holders — such as liquor stores — deliver alcoholic beverages to private residences in the county where the store is located. The bill may not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House. See how your senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 76 (Alcohol): This bill by Sen. Lance Eads (R – Springdale) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) lets “excursion trains” serve alcoholic beverages to passengers. It has passed the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House. See how your senator voted hereSee how your representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1341 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) and Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) permits on-premises consumption of alcohol on Christmas Day. Currently, Arkansas law generally prohibits bars and liquor stores from selling alcohol on Christmas. This bill would allow alcohol to be sold for on-premises consumption in bars and restaurants on Christmas. It would not let liquor stores sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 155 (Organ Donations): This bill by Sen. Breanne Davis (R -Russellville) and Rep. Austin McCollum (R – Bentonville) helps prevent people with physical or mental disabilities from being denied organ transplants because of their disabilities. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1522 (Marijuana Transportation and Possession): This bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) prohibits a person from being under the influence of marijuana in public or at a marijuana dispensary or marijuana cultivation facility. It clarifies that it is unlawful for a person to use marijuana by inhalation in a place where marijuana is prohibited by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016. It also imposes penalties for possessing more marijuana than Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment allows. And it makes it a crime to transport medical marijuana into Arkansas from another state. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 389 (Parental Review of Sex-Education): This bill by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires public schools to notify parents about sex-education material and give parents the option of opting their students out of the class or activity. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1586 (Video Voyeurism): This bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) makes simple changes that clarify and strengthen Arkansas’ laws against video voyeurism. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1732 (Video Voyeurism): This bill by Rep. Andrew Collins (D – Little Rock) increases the penalty for video voyeurism if the victim is under 14 years of age. Read The Bill Here.

Here’s a Recap of the Week and Legislation We’re Watching

Family Council staff members join with friends from out of town and out of state following passage of S.B. 354 in the Senate Education Committee on Monday.

We’re wrapping up another week at the Arkansas Legislature.

A lot is going on.

In particular, legislation protecting fairness in women’s sports and prohibiting sex-reassignment surgeries on minors both came up for consideration this week.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the past few days.

Monday

Rep. Robin Lundstrum, Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm, and others testify in favor of H.B. 1570 in committee.

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • The Arkansas Senate passed S.B. 354 protecting fairness in women’s sports.
  • The Arkansas House passed H.B. 1570 protecting children from dangerous gender-reassignment procedures.
  • The Senate Public Health Committee passed H.B. 1408 separating abortionists from Medicaid under state law.

Thursday

Rep. Sonia Barker and Ken Yang present H.B. 1402 in committee.
  • Rep. Ashley Hudson filed a bad bill permitting no-fault divorce in Arkansas.
  • The House Public Health Committee passed S.B. 289 protecting healthcare workers’ rights of conscience.
  • The Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee passed H.B. 1544 affirming the right of municipalities to declare themselves pro-life.
  • The House Public Health Committee passed H.B. 1402 improving Arkansas’ laws regarding abortion-inducing drugs.
  • The Arkansas Senate passed H.B. 1408 separating abortionists from Medicaid under state law.

Here’s a look at where a lot of legislation currently stands at the Arkansas Capitol.

Good Bills Passed

Act 309 / S.B. 6 (Prohibiting Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas, except in cases when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Family Council worked closely with Sen. Rapert to pass this good bill that could save the lives of thousands of children and give the courts an opportunity to overturn decades of bad, pro-abortion rulings. See how your state senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 94 / H.B. 1211 (Religion is Essential): This good law by Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton) recognizes that religion and religious organizations are essential in Arkansas. H.B. 1211 will protect churches and religious groups without hampering the government’s ability to respond during a pandemic. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 90 / H.B. 1195 (Pro-Life): This good bill by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) enacts legislation ensuring that women are offered information, assistance, and resources that could help them choose an option besides abortion. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 226 / H.B. 1116 (Simon’s Law): This good bill by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs) is named in honor of an infant in Missouri who died after doctors put a Do Not Resuscitate order on his chart without his parent’s knowledge or permission. If passed, it would help protect children in Arkansas from being denied life support or having a DNR placed on their medical charts without parental consent. The bill has passed into law. See how your state representative voted hereSee how your senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Act 311 / H.B. 1061 (No Patient Left Alone): This good bill by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) protects patients from being left alone and denied visitors in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities. No one should be barred from being in the hospital with their dying child, spouse, or parent. This bill helps address that in Arkansas. See how your state representative voted. See how your state senator voted here. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1408 (Abortion): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) helps prevent abortion providers and their affiliates in Arkansas from receiving Medicaid reimbursements from the state. The bill has passed the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1353 (Marijuana Advertisements): This good bill by Rep. Delia Haak (R – Gentry) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) closes a loophole in Arkansas’ laws regarding medical marijuana advertisements. It clarifies the law to say that marijuana dispensaries and cultivators cannot use a cross of any color or other symbols commonly associated with the practice of medicine in their advertisements. See how your state representative voted here. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

Good Bills Filed

S.B. 289 passed the Arkansas House Public Health Committee on Thursday.

S.B. 289 (Conscience): This good bill by Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects healthcare workers’ rights of conscience. Arkansas’ current conscience protections are narrowly focused on abortion, abortifacients, and end of life decisions, and they protect only a limited number of people. S.B. 289 helps broaden these protections for healthcare workers. The bill currently before the Arkansas House. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1570 (Prohibiting Sex-Reassignment on Children): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) prohibits sex-reassignment procedures on children. The bill also prevents funding of sex-reassignment procedures performed on children. This bill will protect children from being subjected to surgeries and procedures that can leave them sterilized and permanently scarred. The bill has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives and been sent to the senate. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

State Senator Missy Irvin and Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Matt Sharp testify in support of S.B. 354 before the Senate Education Committee.

S.B. 354 (Fairness in Women’s Sports): This good bill by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R -Smackover) would prevent male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics. This would protect fairness for girls’ sports at school in Arkansas. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 474 (Prohibiting Fraudulent Fertility Treatments): This good bill by Sen. Charles Beckham (R – McNeil) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) prohibits fraud and abuse in fertility treatments. The bill ensures people performing fertility treatments are honest, ethical, and abide by principles of informed-consent. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1523 (The Equal Justice Act): This good bill by Rep. Delia Haak (R – Gentry) identifies various protections and criminal penalties currently found in Arkansas law. The bill expands on Arkansas’ law regarding felonies involving violence. It creates the offense of committing a felony involving violence for the purpose of preventing a person from exercising his or her constitutional right. The bill outlines minimum and maximum sentences for this type of felony. It also requires the state to collect and report statistics regarding felonies involving violence committed for the purpose of preventing a person from exercising his or her constitutional right. Read The Bill Here.

State Senators Gary Stubblefield and Jason Rapert (left) visit with Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Matt Sharp and Family Council staff member Ken Yang (right) about legislation.

H.B. 1572 (Informed-Consent to Chemical Abortion): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Mountain Home) outlines the informed-consent process for chemical abortion. Arkansas’ current informed-consent laws for abortion are geared primarily for surgical abortion procedures. H.B. 1572 will help ensure women get all the facts about chemical abortion — including its risks, consequences, and pro-life alternatives. This will help save many unborn children from abortion. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 388 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro), Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville), and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) requires any facility that performs abortions to be licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health as an abortion facility, and it prohibits abortions in hospitals except in cases of medical emergency. S.B. 388 will help ensure that every clinic that performs abortions follows all of Arkansas’ laws concerning abortion facilities. This has the potential to save many women and unborn children from abortion. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 527 (Abortion Facilities): This good bill by Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with hospitals, and it fixes a flawed definition in a pro-life law passed in 2019. Read The Bill Here.

Sen. Stubblefield presents H.B. 1544 in the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee.

H.B. 1544 (Pro-Life Cities Resolution): This good bill by Rep. Kendon Underwood (R – Cave Springs) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) affirms the right of municipalities in Arkansas to declare themselves pro-life. H.B. 1544 outlines some of the findings and language that cities can put in their pro-life resolution. The bill also clarifies that Pro-Life Cities can install signs or banners announcing that they are pro-life. The bill has passed the Arkansas House and the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. See how your state representative voted hereRead the Bill Here.

H.J.R.1024 (Religious Freedom): H.J.R. 1024 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.14 (Religious Freedom): S.J.R. 14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1025 (Life): H.J.R. 1025 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It says that the sanctity of life is paramount to all other rights protected by the constitution. It states that Arkansas citizens, acting as jurors, have the sole authority to determine the amount of compensation or civil penalty imposed because of injuries resulting in death or resulting from acts that create a significant risk to life. H.J.R. 1025 will help prevent the State of Arkansas from placing a price tag on human life. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1006 (Recall): H.J.R. 1006 by Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R – Walnut Ridge) amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit voters to recall elected officials and judges in Arkansas. Upon initial review, Family Council supports this amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 354 passed with strong support in the Arkansas Senate this week.

H.J.R.1010 (Casino Gambling): H.J.R. 1010 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends the Arkansas Constitution to remove authorization of a casino in Pope County. This is a good amendment that will help curtail casino gambling in Arkansas. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1010. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1011 (Casino Gambling): H.J.R. 1011 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It changes the casino amendment that authorizes casino gambling in Pope, Jefferson, Garland, and Crittenden counties. Under H.J.R. 1011, the Arkansas Racing Commission would not issue a casino license in Pope County unless the voters of the county approve conducting casino gaming at a local election. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1011. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1018 (Lottery): H.J.R. 1018 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that proceeds from the Arkansas Lottery may be used to fund scholarships and grants to students at vocational-technical and technical institutes. Currently, lottery scholarships are only available to students enrolled in public or private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Family Council supports legislation that ensures lottery-funded scholarships are managed responsibly. We support H.J.R. 1018. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.16 (Boys and Girls Athletics): S.J.R. 16 by Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require public schools to designate their athletic teams as “male” or “female,” and require student athletes to compete according to their biological sex. This would prevent boys who claim to be girls from competing in girls’ sports at school — and vice versa. Family Council supports this measure. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1441 (Pro-Life/Bioethics): This good bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) regulates the buying and selling of human eggs. Arkansas law currently lets companies harvest women’s eggs for profit. Commercial egg harvesting carries a number of risks and is ethically suspect. H.B. 1441 prohibits companies from paying women for their eggs, but contains exceptions for free egg donations and for fertility treatments. The bill is currently in the House Public Health Committee. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1402 (Abortion-Inducing Drugs): This good bill by Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) and Sen. Blake Johnson (R – Corning) updates Arkansas’ restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486. It outlines requirements that abortionists must follow in administering abortion-inducing drugs, and it prohibits abortion drugs from being delivered by mail in Arkansas. It also updates current law to ensure doctors who perform chemical abortions are credentialed to handle abortion complications and can transfer the woman to a hospital if she experiences complications. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1324 (Substance Abuse Treatment for Pregnant Women): This good bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) gives pregnant women priority in accessing substance abuse treatment programs that accept Medicaid. Read The Bill Here.

H.C.R. 1007 (Abortion): This good resolution by Rep. Jim Wooten (R – Beebe) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) recognizes January 22 — the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision — as “The Day of Tears” in Arkansas. The resolution acknowledges the 61 million of unborn babies killed in abortion in America over the past five decades, and encourages Arkansans to lower their flags to half-staff on January 22 to mourn the innocent children who have lost their lives. Read The Resolution Here.

S.B. 85 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) requires an abortionist to show an ultrasound image of the unborn baby to the pregnant woman before an abortion. Currently, Arkansas law says an abortionist must offer to let the woman see the ultrasound image. Research indicates that some women are less likely to have an abortion once they see an ultrasound image of their unborn child. That means pro-life bills like S.B. 85 can help further decrease the number of abortions in Arkansas. Arkansas Right to Life is the chief proponent of this bill, and we fully support their efforts. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and been sent to the Arkansas House for consideration. See how your state senator voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1160 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) would eliminate the tax on used cars sold for less than $7,500; the bill contains a provision that would take effect in 2023 eliminating the tax on used cars sold for less than $10,000. Family Council has worked for years to eliminate the used car tax, because it hurts single moms and middle class families who often can barely afford to buy a used vehicle, much less pay sales tax on one. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1431 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) eliminates the sales tax on used cars sold for less than $10,000. The bill is similar to H.B. 1160 by Rep. Payton and Sen. Rapert. Family Council has worked for years to eliminate the used car tax, because it hurts single moms and middle class families who often can barely afford to buy a used vehicle, much less pay sales tax on one. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1430 (“Tim Tebow” Law): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) makes technical adjustments to Arkansas’ “Tim Tebow” law that allows home schoolers to participate in interscholastic activities at public and private schools. H.B. 1430 makes it easier for home schoolers to play sports or other activities outside their resident school district. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1461 (Home School): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) helps give home schooled students equal access to tests like the ACT, SAT, PSAT, AP Test, and other assessments. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1429 (Home School): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Ben Gilmore (R – Crossett) makes it easier for a student to withdraw from a public school to home school. The bill reduces the fourteen-day waiting period currently in Arkansas law for families wishing to transfer out of a public school. It also makes technical corrections to the home school law. Read The Bill Here.

Bad Bills

H.J.R.1014 (Capping Damages): H.J.R. 1014 by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages that courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, H.J.R. 1014 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.8 (Capping Damages): S.J.R. 8 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View), Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, S.J.R. 8 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1015 (Restricting Evidence): H.J.R. 1015 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.7 (Restricting Evidence): S.J.R. 7 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) and Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.J.R.9 (Restricting Evidence): S.J.R. 9 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark), Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 3 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) and Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) enacts hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill is virtually identical to H.B. 1020. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we oppose this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1020 (Enacting Hate Crimes Legislation): This bad bill by Rep. Fred Love (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Jim Hendren (I – Gravette) enacts hate crimes legislation by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against certain protected classes of people listed in the bill. The bill is virtually identical to S.B. 3. Family Council has opposed hate crimes legislation for more than 20 years, and we oppose this bill as well. Read The Bill Here.

H.J.R.1008 (Initiatives and Referenda): H.J.R. 1008 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R – Horatio) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives and referenda submitted to voters via petition drives to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. However, it would not require constitutional amendments submitted by the General Assembly to be approved by 60% of the vote. Family Council opposes this measure. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1228 (Public Drinking): This bad bill by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would let cities in dry counties approve public drinking in “entertainment districts” if the city contains a private club that serves alcohol. Under Arkansas’ “entertainment district” law, alcohol can be carried and consumed outdoors on city streets and sidewalks around bars and restaurants, if approved by the city council. The bill has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives and been sent to the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1066 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) would let microbrewery operators ship beer directly to private residences anywhere in the state of Arkansas or to residences in other states that allow direct shipment of alcohol. The bill may not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1148 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Frances Cavenaugh (R – Walnut Ridge) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) overhauls Arkansas’ local option election law concerning alcohol. The bill reduces the threshold for taking a county wet or dry via a petition drive. Liquor stores in wet counties would be able to continue operating even if the county voted to go dry. The bill would make it easier for some cities or towns in a dry county to be wet while the rest of the county is dry. Read The Bill Here.

Other Legislation to Watch

S.B. 510 (LGBT Counseling): This bad bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) and Rep. Tippi McCullough (D – Little Rock) would prohibit healthcare professionals from helping children overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion. However, the bill would permit pro-LGBT counseling that encourages children embrace a different sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a bad bill that hurts healthcare professionals and endangers the welfare of children. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1697 (No-Fault Divorce): This bad bill by Rep. Ashley Hudson (D – Little Rock) and Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) permits no-fault divorce in Arkansas. Under current law, couples in Arkansas can divorces in cases such as infidelity, abuse, following a lengthy separation, and other circumstances. H.B. 1697 would permit divorce due to irreconcilable differences, discord, or conflict of personalities regardless of if the husband or wife is at fault. Read The Bill Here.

H.R. 1011 (Recognizing the Cherokee Nation West): This resolution by Rep. Marcus Richmond (R – Harvey) and others calls on the federal government to recognize Cherokee Nation West as a separate tribe from the larger Cherokee Nation. Recognizing Native American tribes in Arkansas could facilitate future efforts to build Indian casinos in the state. For this reason, Family Council generally has had concerns about formal recognizing this tribe and others. Read The Resolution Here.

S.B.339 (Alcohol): This bill by Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) and Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Russellville) would let restaurants sell sealed containers of alcohol to-go and deliver alcoholic beverages to consumers in a wet county. The bill may not have sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1069  (Contraceptives): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) lets pharmacists dispense oral contraceptives to women without a prescription from a doctor. Family Council previously opposed this bill. However, Rep. Pilkington has filed amendments to the bill. His amendments address objections Family Council raised against H.B. 1069. At this time, Family Council is neutral on this bill. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 32 (Alcohol): This bill by Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) and Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) would let retail liquor permit holders — such as liquor stores — deliver alcoholic beverages to private residences in the county where the store is located. The bill may not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent alcohol from being delivered to someone who is under 21. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House. See how your senator voted hereSee how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

S.B. 76 (Alcohol): This bill by Sen. Lance Eads (R – Springdale) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) lets “excursion trains” serve alcoholic beverages to passengers. It has passed the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House. See how your senator voted hereSee how your representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1341 (Alcohol): This bill by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) and Sen. Jane English (R – North Little Rock) permits on-premises consumption of alcohol on Christmas Day. Currently, Arkansas law generally prohibits bars and liquor stores from selling alcohol on Christmas. This bill would allow alcohol to be sold for on-premises consumption in bars and restaurants on Christmas. It would not let liquor stores sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 155 (Organ Donations): This bill by Sen. Breanne Davis (R -Russellville) and Rep. Austin McCollum (R – Bentonville) helps prevent people with physical or mental disabilities from being denied organ transplants because of their disabilities. The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House. See how your state senator voted here. See how your state representative voted hereRead The Bill Here.

H.B. 1522 (Marijuana Transportation and Possession): This bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) prohibits a person from being under the influence of marijuana in public or at a marijuana dispensary or marijuana cultivation facility. It clarifies that it is unlawful for a person to use marijuana by inhalation in a place where marijuana is prohibited by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016. It also imposes penalties for possessing more marijuana than Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment allows. And it makes it a crime to transport medical marijuana into Arkansas from another state. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 389 (Parental Review of Sex-Education): This bill by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Ozark) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) requires public schools to notify parents about sex-education material and give parents the option of opting their students out of the class or activity. Read The Bill Here.

H.B. 1586 (Video Voyeurism): This bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) makes simple changes that clarify and strengthen Arkansas’ laws against video voyeurism. Read The Bill Here.

Arkansas Passes “No Patient Left Alone Act”

On Tuesday the Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly passed H.B. 1061, the No Patient Left Alone Act, by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville).

This is a good piece of legislation that will help ensure people in healthcare facilities can receive visitors — even during a pandemic

The bill now goes to Gov. Hutchinson to become law.

At the beginning of this year Family Council outlined a list of priorities for the first few months of 2021. One of them was to secure passage of legislation that would protect people from being left alone and denied visitors in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities. That’s what H.B. 1061 does.

H.B. 1061 is a very good bill. Family Council was pleased to work with Rep. Mayberry — as well as several groups and individuals — to help support its passage.