Arkansas Legislative Spotlight on Liberty – Second Installment

By: Melissa Woodall and Natalie Frye

Welcome to the Arkansas Legislative Spotlight on Liberty, Blog Post Series:

While much of the political coverage and buzz the last few weeks has been focused on big controversial bills dealing with state control versus local control on anti-discrimination ordinances, requiring doctors to be present when women take abortion pills, “conscience protection”, and “stand your ground”, there has been plenty of other less flashy action going on in the legislature.  In this second installment of the blog post series we’re continuing to shine our spotlight on a few of these less high profile issues with an emphasis on personal liberty, smaller government, and responsible spending.

Bills that Increase Liberty and Reduce Government:

HB1355 An Act To Provide Local Control Over Fluoride Levels In Water Systems, would allow cities and other public water providers to decide how much if any fluoride (up to the maximum guideline from the Department of Health) is added to their water.  It would do away with the current statewide requirement to fluoridate whether local residents want fluoride in their water or not. This bill has passed.  You can see here how your  House Representative voted. It is moving on to the Senate.  Please contact your Senator and tell them to vote YES on HB1355.


HJR1026 An Amendment To The Arkansas Constitution To Abolish The Office Of Lieutenant Governor On January 1, 2019, is a joint resolution that would amend the State Constitution to eliminate the office of Lieutenant Governor entirely.  Last year Arkansas spent $324,430 dollars on the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  The Lt. Governor’s salary alone is $41,896 per year.  This is a big expense that could be cut and a frivolous big government office eliminated.  Please email the Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments and your Representative and tell them to support the amendment.


Bills that Decrease Liberty:

This session our State government has been focused on micromanaging what’s taught in public schools. Libertarians believe individuals should have control over and also should take responsibility for their children’s education. For the children that will be taught in public schools, we want the control to be as close to the individual level as possible. We want teachers to be free to teach instead of mired in numerous government regulations and requirements. We want local district school boards that are experts in education and  in touch with the needs, the desires, and the realities of the community making the education decisions, not being micromanaged by politicians in Little Rock.

HB1183 , a bill pushed for by Governor Hutchinson requiring public high schools to offer a computer science class (but that would not require students to take the class in order to graduate) passed in the House and passed in Committee in the Senate.  Please contact your Senator and tell them to vote NO on HB1183.

HB1044 To Require That Cursive Writing Be Taught In Elementary School,  would force all public schools statewide to teach cursive writing by the end of third grade. This bill was also passed in the House and Senate and delivered to the Governor. Please contact Governor Hutchinson and tell him to VETO HB1044.

HB1226 To Direct The State Board Of Education To Ensure That A Student Is Taught To Make Correct Change As A Component Of A Mathematics Course At Some Point In His Or Her Public School Education, would require that schools teach children how to count back change. Please email the members of the House Committee on Education where the bill has been introduced and tell them to vote NO on HB1226.


Less Taxes:

HB 1387 To Increase The Sales And Use Tax Exemption For A Motor Vehicle, Trailer, Or Semitrailer, would make it so that people purchasing motor vehicles and trailers under $5,000 dollars would not have to pay sales tax.  Currently, vehicles and trailers under $4,000 dollars are exempt from the tax. In addition to being a good thing in that it’s the government taking less taxes, it’s especially helpful to lower-income citizens. Many of the Arkansans who are buying vehicles that cost less than $5,000 are not wealthy, and they’re not splurging on a fancy new car. They’re buying a used car that they hope is reliable enough to get them from point A to point B. Freeing them from the sales tax burden can make a big difference for those working class folks. Please email the House committee on Revenue and Taxation and tell them to vote YES on HB1387.


Wasteful Spending:

Did you pick your pony? Your money was already spent on the government being involved with the track.

Your Arkansas legislature decided to put some of your money toward being involved with the horse and dog racing privately owned businesses.  Act 74  An Act For The Department Of Finance And Administration – Division Of Racing Appropriation For The 2015-2016 Fiscal Year is the bill that spent over one and a half million dollars on funding the Department of Racing, a department dealing with Oaklawn horse racing track and Southland dog racing track. Animal racing parks are well outside the scope of things we want or need the government meddling with. They are not vital services needed to maintain law and order or provide for the protection of individual rights or safety. They are private business that the consumer can choose to support or not support.  There’s no need for over a million and half dollars worth of government intrusion in that industry. While the act already passed, you can still check here to see how your House Rep voted and here for how your Senator voted. Please contact them and let them know how you feel about your money being spent on government involvement with privately owned entertainment  businesses.

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