Family Council Action Committee Releases 2019 Legislative Report Card

LITTLE ROCK, AR – On Thursday Family Council Action Committee released its legislative report card for the 2019 Arkansas General Assembly. The report card scored 25 bills in the Arkansas House and Senate. Bills ranged from right-to-life, education, marijuana, religious liberty, and other issues. Lawmakers earned letter grades ranging from A-F based on how they voted on the 25 bills. Lawmakers had to vote on at least 15 of the 25 bills in the report card in order to receive a letter grade and to be considered for the award.

Jerry Cox, President of Family Council Action Committee, stated, “We chose bills based on our core belief in promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values. These bills were chosen because they address issues conservative Arkansans care about, including abortion; religious liberty; marijuana; education; and others. We wanted to answer the common question from constituents, ‘How did my legislator vote?’” Arkansans can order the report card by calling 501-375-7000, emailing ken@familycouncilactioncommittee.com or see candidates’ votes online at www.ArkansasReport.com

Family Council Action Committee also announced the recipients of the 2019 Statesman Award. “This year we are awarding a record number of legislators for their hard work and good votes,” Cox stated, “we commend these legislators for promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values during the 2019 legislative session.” Ninety legislators received the award based on how they voted on the 25 bills in the report card.

The 2019 Statesman Award recipients included 24 senators and 66 representative:

Senator Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville)

Senator Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers)

Senator Ronald Caldwell (R – Wynne)

Senator Eddie Cheatham (D – Crossett)

Senator Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale)

Senator John Cooper (R – Jonesboro)

Senator Jonathan Dismang (R – Beebe)

Senator Lance Eads (R – Springdale)

Senator Jane English (R – North Little Rock)

Senator Scott Flippo (R – Bull Shoals)

Senator Trent Garner (R – El Dorado)

Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton)

Senator Jim Hendren (R – Gravette)

Senator Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs)

Senator Jimmy Hickey (R – Texarkana)

Senator Ricky Hill (R – Cabot)

Senator Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View)

Senator Blake Johnson (R – Corning)

Senator Mark Johnson (R – Little Rock)

Senator Jason Rapert (R – Conway)

Senator Terry Rice (R – Waldron)

Senator Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch)

Senator James Sturch (R – Batesville)

Senator David Wallace (R – Leachville)

Representative Sonia Barker (R – Smackover)

Representative Rick Beck (R – Center Ridge)

Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville)

Representative Stan Berry (R – Dover)

Representative Justin Boyd (R – Fort Smith)

Representative Ken Bragg (R – Sheridan)

Representative Harlan Breaux (R – Holiday Island)

Representative Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood)

Representative Sarah Capp (R – Ozark)

Representative Craig Christiansen (R – Bald Knob)

Representative Joe Cloud (R – Russellville)

Representative Cameron Cooper (R – Romance)

Representative Bruce Cozart (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith)

Representative Carol Dalby (R – Texarkana)

Representative Marsh Davis (R – Cherokee Village)

Representative Gary Deffenbaugh (R – Van Buren)

Representative Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville)

Representative Les Eaves (R – Searcy)

Representative Jon Eubanks (R – Paris)

Representative Brian Evans (R – Cabot)

Representative Charlene Fite (R – Van Buren)

Representative Lanny Fite (R – Benton)

Representative Jack Fortner (R – Yellville)

Representative Mickey Gates (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould)

Representative Justin Gonzales (R – Okolona)

Representative Michelle Gray (R – Melbourne)

Representative Spencer Hawks (R – Conway)

Representative David Hillman (R – Almyra)

Representative Grant Hodges (R – Rogers)

Representative Mike Holcomb (R – Pine Bluff)

Representative Steve Hollowell (R – Forrest City)

Representative Douglas House (R – North Little Rock)

Representative Lane Jean (R – Magnolia)

Representative Joe Jett (R – Success)

Representative Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood)

Representative Jasen Kelly (R – Benton)

Representative Jack Ladyman (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle)

Representative Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs)

Representative Roger Lynch (R – Lonoke)

Representative John Maddox (R – Mena)

Representative Julie Mayberry (R – Hensley)

Representative Austin McCollum (R – Bentonville)

Representative Gayla McKenzie (R – Gravette)

Representative Ron McNair (R – Alpena)

Representative Stephen Meeks (R – Greenbrier)

Representative Josh Miller (R – Heber Springs)

Representative John Payton (R – Wilburn)

Representative Clint Penzo (R – Springdale)

Representative Marcus Richmond (R – Harvey)

Representative Laurie Rushing (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Johnny Rye (R – Trumann)

Representative Keith Slape (R – Compton)

Representative Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Stu Smith (R – Batesville)

Representative James Sorvillo (R – Little Rock)

Representative Nelda Speaks (R – Mountain Home)

Representative Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Dwight Tosh (R – Jonesboro)

Representative Jeff Wardlaw (R – Hermitage)

Representative Les Warren (R – Hot Springs)

Representative Danny Watson (R – Hope)

Representative Carlton Wing (R – North Little Rock)

Representative Richard Womack (R – Arkadelphia)

Family Council Action Committee Political Director Ken Yang is working with the recipients to schedule presentation of the awards to the legislators in their districts in the coming weeks.

Family Council Action Committee is a conservative, pro-family, Christian 501(c)(4) organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Gov. Hutchinson Signs Marijuana Restrictions

This week Gov. Asa Hutchinson held a bill-signing ceremony for two bills that restrict marijuana edibles and marijuana advertising.

S.B. 440 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.

S.B. 441 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.

Family Council was pleased to support both of these bills during the legislative session, and we enjoyed attending the bill-signing ceremony with Gov. Hutchinson, Sen. Bledsoe, and Rep. Lundstrum this week.

Bad Legislation: Electronic Gambling, Alcohol, and Sex-Education

A lot of really good legislation has passed at the Arkansas Legislature this year, but several bad bills have been filed as well. Here’s a quick look at a few proposals in play that would hurt Arkansas’ families and communities.

H.B. 1912 (Video Lottery Machines): This bill by Rep. Grant Hodges (R – Rogers) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) would legalize video lottery terminals under the Arkansas Lottery. Video lottery machines are more addictive than traditional lottery tickets, and the odds of winning typically are very low. This makes video lottery machines particularly harmful for people with gambling problems and for poor individuals who play the lottery out of desperation. In other states where these games are legal, bars and truck stops have set up miniature casinos by installing video lottery machines in back rooms. Family Council has opposed past efforts to legalize video lottery machines and other casino-style games in Arkansas, and we oppose H.B. 1912 as well. Read H.B. 1912 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 recently passed the Arkansas Senate and is currently before the House Rules Committee. Read S.B. 492 Here.

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.