Video: AR Lottery Still a Failure

April 30, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery, Video | By

At 16-17 cents on the dollar, the Arkansas Lottery’s scholarship budget is an abysmal failure.

Watch this video to learn more.

Arkansas Lottery Still a Failure: March Report

April 26, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

Earlier this month the Arkansas Lottery released its financial report for March.

The report shows the Arkansas Lottery took in nearly $52 million, but paid out only a little over $8.5 million for college scholarships — about 16.5% of all the money it made.

For perspective, the typical state lottery gives education programs about 30% of the money it makes. Louisiana’s lottery spends 35%.

During the recent legislative session, lawmakers rejected two proposals that would have incrementally increased the percentage of lottery revenue students receive to 25% by the year 2025.

Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue and scholarship spending so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $42,413,352.70 $5,066,628.73 11.9%
August 40,343,279.62 6,175,998.40 15.3%
September 35,198,809.72 7,783,450.82 22.1%
October 57,575,285.62 11,259,040.31 19.6%
November 37,700,016.00 6,821,411.01 18.1%
December 45,859,642.73 6,650,791.54 14.5%
January, 2019 40,574,813.28 7,848,495.62 19.3%
February 41,060,111.75 8,198,257.31 20.0%
March 51,988,380.67 8,552,307.04 16.5%
Total $392,713,692.09 $68,356,380.78 17.4%

A Legislative Recap

April 12, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Capitol | By

The Arkansas Legislature wrapped up this week. Here’s a look at legislation that passed and failed and how lawmakers voted on important bills.

Good Bills Passed at the Legislature This Year

Act 180 / S.B. 149 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The bill was hotly debated in the Arkansas Legislature, but ultimately passed and was signed into law. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 493 / H.B. 1439 (Abortion): This good law 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. Our team estimates that this law will save upwards of 170 – 200 unborn children from abortion each year. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 700 / S.B. 448 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) requires an abortionist to be a 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. Planned Parenthood dubbed this pro-life bill “the worst” one they faced all session—so you know it’s a good law. We estimate this law could save hundreds of unborn children from abortion each year. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 278 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Spencer Hawks (R – Conway) makes several improvements to Arkansas’ abortion laws. It expands the waiting period for an abortion from 48 hours to 72 hours. This will give women more time to consider all their options besides abortion—which will make them less likely to have an abortion. We estimate this law will save as many as 50 unborn children each year. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

H.B. 1453 (Abortion): This good law 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 most children who test positive for these abnormalities are aborted. Perinatal hospice services provide palliative care for women whose unborn children are not expect to survive to birth or live long following birth. They provide emotional support for the woman and her family and hospice services for the child after birth. Data shows when women know perinatal hospice services are available for them and their unborn child, they are less likely to have an abortion. H.B. 1453 will help women choose options besides abortion when their unborn child has a life-threatening condition. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

H.B. 1399 (Pro-Life): This good law 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. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 185 / S.B. 168 (Pro-Life): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Rebecca Petty (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. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 522 / S.B. 341 (Abortion): This good law 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. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 2 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) prohibits abortions performed because the baby has Down Syndrome. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 3 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) 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. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 503 (Anti-Assisted Suicide): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) enhances the penalty for physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas. Besides increasing the penalty for this crime, the bill sent a powerful message that the Arkansas Legislature opposes assisted suicide. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 429 / H.B. 1413 (Home Schooling): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prevents schools from charging home schooled students extra to take concurrent credit courses for college credit. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 430 / H.B. 1419 (Home Schooling): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) makes it easier for home schooled students to access academic courses offered though the local public school system. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 184 / S.B. 156 (Free Speech): This good law 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. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 440 (Marijuana Edibles): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) prohibits marijuana stores from selling marijuana-infused candy and other foods that are likely to appeal to children. We have read time and again about children hospitalized after eating gummies, cookies, or other foods laced with so-called “medical” marijuana. S.B. 440 helps protect Arkansas’ children from this dangerous drug. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 441 (Marijuana Advertising): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) restricts medical marijuana advertisements in much the same way as tobacco advertisements. Marijuana ads cannot target children. They cannot be placed near schools or daycares. And they have to include disclaimers about the dangers of marijuana. This bill will help tighten Arkansas’ restrictions on “medical” marijuana. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Good Bills That Did Not Pass This Year

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 would prevent healthcare workers and organizations from being forced to promote, participate in, or pay for medical procedures that violate their conscience. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass in the House Public Health Committee.

H.B. 1342 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Sen. Terry Rice (R – Waldron) eliminates the sales tax on used cars sold for less than $7,500. Currently, sales tax is collected on new and used cars sold for $4,000 or more. This bill would have provided tax relief to a lot of families who rely on used vehicles. The bill passed in the Arkansas House, but failed to pass in the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee.

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 passed in the Arkansas House, but failed to make it through the senate before the session adjourned.

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. Unfortunately, the bill never really got off the ground at the legislature.

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. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass the House Rules Committee.

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. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass in the Senate Education Committee.

Bad Bills Passed at the Legislature This Year

Act 812 / S.B. 492 (Entertainment Districts): This law 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 on streets and sidewalks.

Entertainment districts essentially are areas where public drinking and public intoxication are legal. Under this law, 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. This bad bill narrowly passed the Arkansas House and Senate, and Governor Hutchinson signed the bill into law this week. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Bad Bills Defeated at the Legislature This Year

S.B. 304 (Sex-Education): This bad bill by Sen. Will Bond (D – Little Rock) and Rep. LeAnne Burch (D – Monticello) would have made it possible for Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider and largest provider of sex-education—to worm its way into Arkansas’ public schools under the auspices of teaching sex-education and teen pregnancy prevention. The initial draft of the bill would have mandated sex-education for students in grades 7-12 in every public school in Arkansas. That bill passed the Arkansas Senate, but was amended in the House to make the sex-education optional. Even with amendments, the bill still left the door wide open for Planned Parenthood to teach its liberal sex-education in Arkansas’ public schools. Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) asked the House Education Committee to amend the bill to ensure abortion-providers would not be able to teach sex-education in Arkansas’ public schools, but his good amendment failed to get enough support from committee members. Thankfully we were able to defeat this bad bill in committee, but the fight lasted until the final days of the session.

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 in February.

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. We were able to defeat it, but the fight lasted until the end of the session.

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. There was so much wrong with H.B. 1536 that it’s hard to know where to begin. In one way or another, the bill was worse than virtually any other assisted-suicide proposal that’s been offered elsewhere in the U.S. After intense outcry, the bill was soundly defeated in the House Public Health Committee in March.

A Few Other Noteworthy Bills

Here are a few other noteworthy bills that came up at the legislature this year:

H.B. 1664: This bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) creates programs that assist women and families with unplanned pregnancies and young children. The bill passed into law.

S.B. 470: This bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) provided $1.5 million in funding for the program created by H.B. 1664. However, the appropriation did not pass.

H.B. 1625: This bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) makes it a felony to encourage someone to commit suicide. The bill passed into law.

H.B. 1621: This bill Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) creates “primary prevention programs” that teach students how to avoid risky behaviors and situations and minimize risk overall. These programs are similar to Arkansas’ successful abstinence education programs of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The bill passed into law.

H.B. 1508: This bill by Rep. Andy Davis (R – Little Rock) helps close loopholes in Arkansas’ “Tim Tebow” law that had previously kept some home schoolers from being able to participate in extracurricular activities in their local private schools. The bill passed into law.

S.B. 463: This bill by Sen. Mark Johnson (R – Little Rock) regulated paid petition canvassers and organizations that employ paid petition canvassers in efforts to gather signatures and place measures on the ballot. The bill was referred to Interim Study, and the issue will be researched and discussed by lawmakers over the next two years.

S.B. 352: This bill by Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) provided protections for private, faith-based adoption and foster care agencies operating according to their deeply-held religious beliefs. However, the bill never made it out of committee.