Two-thirds of Arkansans Support New Religious Freedom Law

If you support religious freedom in Arkansas, you are not alone. Nearly two out of three likely voters in Arkansas support the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and more than half believe a business-owner (such as a caterer or florist) with religious objections to same-sex marriage “should be allowed to refuse to those services to same-sex couples.”

The findings are the result of a poll commissioned by Talk Business, Hendrix College, and Impact Management Group.

The poll indicates Arkansans strongly support religious liberty; in fact, less than half of Arkansans under 30 expressed that businesses ought to be required to provide “services to same-sex couples.”

What’s striking about the survey are its findings despite its wording. According to the survey’s authors, one key survey question was taken verbatim from a CNN poll conducted last spring. The question reads,

“If a business provides wedding services, such as catering or flowers, should it be allowed to refuse those services to same-sex couples for religious reasons, or be required to provide those services as it would to all other customers?”

The phrases “refuse services to same-sex couples” and “as it would to all other customers” slant the question significantly, missing the point: That this is about the impact of same-sex marriage on religious liberty.

Here is what we mean:


Fayetteville City Council Forces “Nondiscrimination” Ordinance in Single Meeting

Taking a page from the Eureka Springs City Council’s book, the Fayetteville City Council voted last night to suspend the rules and run a so-called “nondiscrimination” ordinance through in a single meeting.

City ordinances typically are read and discussed over the course of at least three meetings to give citizens and council members ample time for review and debate; suspending the rules and running an ordinance in a single meeting is a way governing bodies can quickly pass noncontroversial measures or address emergency situations.

However, the Fayetteville ordinance is anything but noncontroversial, and proponents of the ordinance have failed to demonstrate that the ordinance is even necessary, let alone that it somehow addresses an emergency.

Here is a breakdown of the ordinance passed in Fayetteville last night:

Is This Ordinance Different From Those Passed in Other Cities in Arkansas?


Lottery Scholarship Proceeds Slip to 15% as Revenue Increases in May

The Arkansas Lottery has released its financial summary for the month of May. The report shows lottery revenue increased by more than $1.8 million from April to May.

Despite this increase in revenue, scholarship proceeds dropped by nearly $472,000–falling to $5.4 million or 15% of the Lottery’s revenue for the month.

All told, the Arkansas Lottery has taken in $375,419,115.97 since July 1, 2014, but it has only paid out $64,171,317.48 in scholarship money–17% of the Lottery’s overall revenue for the year.

The Arkansas Lottery’s fiscal year closes at the end of this month. Looking at the numbers, it appears the Arkansas Lottery likely will pay out between $70 and $76 million in scholarships this fiscal year–about 17% – 18% of its gross revenue.

Below is a breakdown of the Lottery’s revenue and scholarship payments this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July  $               30,925,067.43  $              5,928,447.99 19%
August                   31,571,412.10                  5,296,965.80 17%
September                   30,710,493.31                  4,317,227.10 14%
October                   32,959,739.29                  5,939,625.59 18%
November                   30,617,278.28                  5,577,035.16 18%
December                   34,507,731.54                  5,474,318.77 16%
January, 2015                   35,433,619.67                  7,287,773.28 21%
February                   41,770,314.46                  6,161,343.01 15%
March                   37,367,453.25                  6,898,524.35 18%
April                   33,866,970.54                  5,881,005.95 17%
May                   35,689,036.10                   5,409,050.48 15%
Total  $                375,419,115.97  $              64,171,317.48 17%