Committee Passes Bill to Prohibit Public Funding of Research That Kills Unborn Children

Family Council staff member Charisse Dean (left) and Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) present H.B. 1399 in the House Public Health Committee.

This morning the Arkansas House Public Health Committee passed H.B. 1399 by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood).

This good, pro-life bill strengthens our state’s laws against human cloning. It prohibits public funding of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

In recent years we’ve seen examples of unethical companies using unborn children for scientific research. H.B. 1399 helps address that issue by ensuring taxpayer dollars won’t be used to create and kill unborn children in the name of science or medicine.

This is a good bill that Family Council supports. Unborn children are not lab material, and state tax dollars should not be used for research that treats them as such.

This good bill will go before the Arkansas House of Representatives, where it likely will be voted on sometime next week.

You can leave a message asking your state representative to support H.B. 1399 by calling the Arkansas House of Representatives during normal business hours at (501) 682-6211.

You can read H.B. 1399 here.

Bill Would Protect Free Speech on Public College Campuses in Arkansas

Today Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) and Rep. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) filed S.B. 156, the Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act.

This good bill prevents public colleges and universities from squelching free speech on campus.

In some states students and faculty have faced discipline and discrimination for sharing their faith or expressing their deeply held convictions. In Jonesboro, Arkansas State University adopted policies restricting free speech to roughly 1% of campus and requiring students to obtain approval from university officials before engaging in free speech.

The restrictions prompted a lawsuit against the university. Last fall, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos publicly criticized the university’s restrictions on free speech.

S.B. 156 helps prevent public colleges and universities from imposing these unconstitutional restrictions on students and faculty. It protects students’ rights to peacefully assemble, speak, share literature, and exchange ideas.

It requires public colleges and universities to adopt policies protecting free speech on campus.

S.B. 156 is carefully worded. It does not allow violent speech, riots, harassment, or other unlawful conduct. It equally protects everyone’s right to free speech under the First Amendment.

For several months, Family Council has been working with attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom to bring this good legislation to Arkansas.

We applaud Senator Ballinger and Representative Sullivan for introducing this well-crafted Alliance Defending Freedom model bill.

You can leave a message for your State Senator at 501-682-2902 urging him or her to vote for S.B. 156 the FORUM Act.

You can leave a message for your State Representative at 501-682-6211 urging him or her to do the same.

Please thank the lead sponsors of this bill:

Senator Bob Ballinger: bob.ballinger@senate.ar.gov (870) 350-5175

Representative Dan Sullivan: dan.sullivan@arkansashouse.org (870) 275-2929

This bill could be debated in the Senate Education Committee as early as next week. We plan to keep you posted on its progress.

Photo Credit: “Old Main from the northwest, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas (autumn)” by Brandonrush – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Panel Approves Ten Commandments for Capitol Grounds

Yesterday Arkansas’ Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission approved a monument of the Ten Commandments for placement on the Capitol Building grounds.

The approval was a formality; the monument is established by a law the legislature passed in 2015.

The monument will be privately paid for. It is based on a monument ruled constitutional in Texas.

The monument celebrates the influence and legacy of the Ten Commandments in western law.

It could be placed on the Capitol grounds sometime next month.