A Quick Look at the Arkansas Legislature

February 4, 2019 | Posted in Legislation, Legislature | By

A lot is happening at the Arkansas Legislature. Here’s a quick look at some of the bills that have been filed so far — including good bills, bad bills, and a few bills that simply are worth knowing about.

Good Bills

H.B. 1289: This good bill by Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects the rights of conscience of all healthcare workers and companies. This will prevent people and organizations from being forced to promote, participate in, or pay for medical procedures that violate their conscience — like abortion. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 156: This good bill by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) and Rep. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) prevents public colleges and universities from infringing the free speech of students and faculty on campus. In other states, pro-life student groups have faced discrimination on college campuses, and universities have tried to squelch faith-based student groups. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro currently faces a lawsuit over a policy that relegates speech to certain “free speech zones” on campus; the policy has been heavily criticized, and many do not expect it to survive a legal challenge. S.B. 156 protects students and faculty from these types of restrictions. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 149: This good bill by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) prohibits abortion in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 2: This good bill by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) prohibits abortions performed because the baby has Down Syndrome. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 3: This good bill by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) requires abortionist to report complications arising from an abortion. Abortion carries a number of risks and consequences, and the reporting required by this bill will help Arkansas craft better pro-life laws in the future. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 168: This good bill updates Arkansas’ Safe Haven Act. It lets a woman surrender her newborn to law enforcement personnel, fire department personnel, or medical personnel. Arkansas’ Safe Haven Act protects children from being abandoned, and it provides women with options besides abortion. Read The Bill Here.

Bad Bills

H.B. 1164 and H.B. 1290: These two bills by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) let pharmacists dispense oral contraceptives to women without a prescription from a doctor. Oral contraceptives carry a number of health risks — which is why women currently need a prescription from a doctor — and they can cause the death of an unborn child by preventing the unborn child from implanting and growing inside the mother’s womb. That’s why Family Council opposes both of these bills.
Read H.B. 1164 Here.
Read H.B. 1290 Here.

H.B. 1150: This bill expands the list of “qualifying conditions” in Arkansas’ marijuana amendment, making it even easier for people to use so-called “medical” marijuana. Marijuana is a blight on our communities, and Arkansas’ marijuana amendment already is too vague and open-ended. Marijuana needs to be restricted — not expanded. Read The Bill Here.

Other Noteworthy Bills

H.B. 1294: This bill by Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R – Rogers) gives officials discretion when prosecuting DUI cases. Some are concerned the bill may make it less likely that drunk drivers will be prosecuted. Read The Bill Here.

S.B. 190: This bill by Sen. Greg Leding (D – Fayetteville) creates a state license for genetic counselors in Arkansas. Genetic counseling gives some pro-life advocates pause, because it can be used to promote abortion — particularly in cases when the unborn baby may have Down Syndrome. Read The Bill Here.

How to Contact Your Legislators

You can leave a message about legislation for your state senator by calling the Arkansas Senate during normal business hours at (501) 682-2902.

You can leave a message about legislation for your state representative by calling the Arkansas House during normal business hours at (501) 682-6211.

Kroger Expands Wine Sales

December 12, 2017 | Posted in Alcohol | By

Over the weekend one of our staff members captured this photo at a Kroger store in the North Little Rock area. It shows the expanded wine selection the store now sells under a law the Arkansas Legislature passed last spring.

According to our staff member, this section of the store “was all baby food and diapers, from one end down the other” before Kroger converted it into a wine section.

Why Does This Matter?

Many are concerned that this could set the stage for legislation down the road letting grocery stores in Arkansas sell hard liquor the way grocery stores in states like Missouri do.

Prior to this year, grocery stores in wet counties were generally limited to selling a few wines produced by small farms in Arkansas. Act 508 of 2017 lets grocery stores sell wines from other states, like California.

Last spring we said Act 508 would simply mean more alcohol in stores where children and families shop. It appears that prediction has come true.

You May Want to Know About These Two Bills

March 5, 2015 | Posted in Legislation | By

I want to let you know about a couple of bills filed at the Capitol in Little Rock this week that may concern many Arkansans.

The first bill is Senate Bill 745. It amends Arkansas’ so-called “Chuck-E-Cheese Law” by increasing the maximum value of each prize a person may claim for playing coin-operated games.

You’re probably familiar with businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese that allow children to win tickets by playing coin-operated games like skee ball; the tickets can be redeemed for toys or other prizes.

In the mid-1990’s the Arkansas legislature passed a law intended to let family-oriented businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese offer small prizes for these games without allowing full-fledged casinos in Arkansas. To do so, the legislature capped the maximum value of each prize the business offers at $12.50.

Currently, family-oriented businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese may let people play coin-operated games for prizes, provided that the prizes are worth no more than $12.50. S.B. 745 raises that maximum value from $12.50 to $850.

Read more →