FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Little Rock – On Tuesday the Arkansas House Revenue and Tax Committee passed H.B. 1342, sponsored by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn), amending state law concerning sales tax on used cars and trailers.
Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “This is a good bill. It changes state law so that people won’t have to pay sales tax if they spend less than $7,500 on a used car. That’s going to help a lot of families get a reliable vehicle without breaking the bank.”
Cox said Family Council has supported efforts to change the state’s law taxing used cars for years. “We’ve worked on this issue for over a decade. The used car tax hurts Arkansas’ poor and middle class families. A lot of folks can barely scrape together a few thousand dollars to buy a used car as it is. They can’t afford to pay the state on top of that. Single moms who need a reliable vehicle to get to work, school, and soccer practice shouldn’t be penalized for buying a used car. H.B. 1342 gives families like theirs some relief.”
Cox said he hopes Arkansans will ask their state legislators to support H.B. 1342. “This is commonsense legislation that’s going to help a lot of families, and won’t cost the State very much in tax revenue. It still needs to pass the entire Arkansas House and the Arkansas Senate. I hope Arkansans will ask their lawmakers to support this good bill.”
Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A lot of legislation is in play at the capitol. Here’s a quick look at good bills, bad bills, and a few bills that simply are worth knowing about.
Good Bills Passed
H.B. 1439 (Abortion): This good bill by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) prohibits abortion in Arkansas after the eighteenth week of pregnancy unless the mother’s life or physical health is in serious jeopardy. The bill has passed the Arkansas Legislature and has been sent to the governor to be signed into law. Read the Bill Here.
H.B. 1413 (Home Schooling): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prevents schools from charging home schooled students extra to take concurrent credit courses for college credit. The bill has passed the Arkansas Legislature and has been sent to the governor to be signed into law. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 149 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) prohibits abortion in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. This good bill has been signed into law. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 156 (Free Speech): 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. This good bill has been signed into law. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 168 (Pro-Life): This good bill by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) 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. This good bill has been signed into law. Read The Bill Here.
Bad Bills Filed
S.B. 304 (Sex Education): This bill by Sen. Will Bond (D – Little Rock) and Rep. LeAnne Burch (D – Monticello) requires every school district in Arkansas to offer “evidence based” health courses to 7th – 12th graders that include instruction on preventing pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases through abstinence and contraceptives. We know from experience that the kind of curriculum S.B. 304 mandates won’t actually teach students to be abstinent. Instead it will encourage students to be sexually active. Past “evidence-based” programs pushed by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not have a meaningful impact on teen birth rates or teen abortion rates. S.B. 304 simply continues these flawed policies. S.B. 304 is currently before the House Education Committee. Read S.B. 304 Here.
S.B. 492 (Entertainment Districts): This bill by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) lets cities create “entertainment districts” where open containers of alcohol can be carried and consumed outdoors. Entertainment districts essentially are areas where public intoxication is legal. Under this bill, an entertainment district could be temporary — such as at an event or festival — or it could be permanent. Because of their association with excessive drinking, entertainment districts in other states have raised serious concerns about crime, DUI offenses, and public safety. The bill is currently before the Senate City, County, and Local Affairs Committee. Read S.B. 492 Here.
H.B. 1290 (Contraceptives): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs) lets 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 H.B. 1290. The bill has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives, and it is now before the Senate Public Health Committee. Read H.B. 1290 Here.
H.B. 1536 (Physician-Assisted Suicide): This bill by Rep. Dan Douglas (R – Bentonville) lets doctors prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives. The bill was defeated in the House Public Health Committee this week. Read H.B. 1536 Here.
SJR 18 (Ratifying the Federal Equal Rights Amendment): This proposal by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D – Little Rock) and Rep. Jamie Scott (D – North Little Rock) would make Arkansas the 38th state to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment to the U.S. Constitution is intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, but the way it is worded could cause it to have a number of unintended consequences. States that have passed similar amendments have been forced to pay for abortions with taxpayer funds, and the Equal Rights Amendment could affect everything from college fraternities and sororities to how men and women are housed in federal prisons. The measure was defeated in the Senate State Agencies Committee this week. Read SJR 18 Here.
Good Bills Filed
S.B. 448 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) requires an abortionist to be board-certified or board-eligible OB/GYN. Currently any medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy in Arkansas can perform a chemical or surgical abortion. S.B. 448 will protect women from dangerous abortion practices. The bill also updates Arkansas’ definition of a “viable fetus.” Under current federal case law, states have a lot of leeway to restrict abortion when an unborn child is considered “viable.” Updating this definition will make it easier to pass and enforce pro-life legislation in Arkansas. The bill is currently in the Arkansas Senate. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1761 (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. 1761 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. 1289 (Conscience): 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. The bill is currently in the House Public Health Committee. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 387 (Lottery): This good bill by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D – Little Rock) and Rep. Jasen Kelly (R – Benton) raises the percentage of Arkansas Lottery revenue allocated for college scholarships to 25% by the year 2025. Currently, the Arkansas Lottery spends about 18% of the money it makes on scholarships. The bill failed to pass in the Senate Education Committee this week. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1378 (Lottery): This good bill by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) raises the percentage of Arkansas Lottery revenue allocated for college scholarships to 25% by the year 2025. Currently, the Arkansas Lottery spends about 18% of the money it makes on scholarships. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1399 (Pro-Life): This good bill by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Bull Shoals) prohibits public funds from being used to clone or kill unborn children for scientific research. The bill has passed the Arkansas House, and has gone to the Senate Public Health Committee. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 341 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends Arkansas’ informed-consent law for abortion to ensure women know how to find information about chemical abortion pill reversal. Doctors have demonstrated that chemical abortion drugs can be counteracted if the woman receives treatment quickly. This bill has passed the Arkansas Senate and now goes to the House of Representatives. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1453 (Abortion): This good bill by Rep. Clint Penzo (R – Springdale) and Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) requires abortionists to give women information about perinatal hospice. Modern medicine has made it possible to test unborn children for deadly fetal abnormalities, and many children who test positive for these abnormalities are aborted. H.B. 1453 will help women choose options besides abortion in these situations. The bill has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate Public Health Committee. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1511 (Home Schooling): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) ensures home schooled students and private school students can access the Succeed Scholarship the state offers to students with special needs. Currently, this scholarship is only available for students enrolled in a public school. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 278 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Spencer Hawks (R – Conway) makes several improvements to Arkansas’ abortion laws. The bill is currently in the Arkansas Senate. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 2 (Abortion): This good bill by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) prohibits abortions performed because the baby has Down Syndrome. The bill is currently in the Arkansas Senate. Read The Bill Here.
S.B. 3 (Abortion): 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. The bill is currently in the House Public Health Committee. Read The Bill Here.
Here are a few other noteworthy bills:
H.B. 1562 (Property Tax): This bill makes it possible for taxes on real or personal property to be collected while a tax assessment appeal is pending in court. Currently, county tax collectors cannot collect property taxes until after an appeal is resolved, which can take several months. This bill would make it possible for the county to collect property tax upfront, and refund the tax money if the person or organization that paid the tax challenges the tax assessment in court and wins the case. Because the bill arguably makes it easier for counties to collect property taxes, we have heard concerns voiced that this bill might encourage aggressive tax collectors to target nonprofit charities, tax-exempt hospitals, and other organizations who otherwise would not be subject to property taxes. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1626 (Bible): This bill by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) makes clarifications to Arkansas’ law allowing public school students to study the Bible in an elective, academic course at school. Read The Bill Here.
H.B. 1150 (Marijuana): This bill expands the list of “qualifying conditions” in Arkansas’ marijuana amendment, making it even easier for people to use so-called “medical” marijuana. However, the bill’s sponsor withdrew it from the legislature this week — meaning it will not be considered any further.
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.
One hundred twenty-three ministers and church leaders have signed an open letter to the Arkansas Legislature opposing H.B. 1536, a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas.
Although these ministers and church leaders come from different backgrounds, churches, and denominations from across the state, they all agree that physician-assisted suicide is bad for Arkansans.
Physician-assisted suicide currently is illegal in Arkansas, but H.B. 1536 by Rep. Dan Douglas (R – Bentonville) would let doctors prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients if the doctor believes the patient will die “within a relatively short time.”
This bill is subjective, deeply flawed, and fundamentally disrespects the sanctity of innocent human life.
Unlike other assisted-suicide proposals, the bill does not require patients to undergo counseling first, and it does not contain adequate safeguards to prevent people from being euthanized.
It also does not let faith-based hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes completely prevent doctors from prescribing lethal drugs to their patients.
Family Council has sent a copy of the ministers’ letter opposing physician-assisted suicide to the state representatives serving on the House Public Health Committee.