AR Conservative Legislation in 2011 Blocked Again and Again in Committees By Democrats


To conservatives' surprise, since they elected an unbelievable number of conservative legislators in Arkansas, their legislation received worse treatment in the Legislature this year than before.  The most important bills put forth by conservatives were blocked in committee and not even allowed to get to the floor for a vote time after time.  Almost all committees have more Democrats than Republicans so the Democrats could block almost any bill if they stuck together, and they did time after time.  There are 8 Senators on each Senate committee and 20 Representatives on each House Committee so it takes 5 votes to pass a bill out of the Senate Committee and 11 votes to pass out of a House Committee.  Following are some examples. On later documents the names of the people on the committee votes will be listed.


 HB1053 – To ban any law requiring Arkansans to buy health insurance by Republican Representative David Meeks from Conway, designed as a vote against Obama Health Care.   It was voted down in The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee Committee and never allowed to go to the House floor.   Thirteen Democrats on the Committee voted against it and all 5 Republicans and two Democrats voted for it.  This committee had 15 Democrats on it and only five Republicans.  44% of the Representatives are Republicans and only 25% of this Committee is Republican so evidently the Democrats stacked the decks on this Committee to make sure Obama's health care would be protected.  Attorney General Just McDaniel's office testified against the bill as well. This vote was an early vote about January 10, a  foreshadowing of many more votes to come in these Committees.


HB1292 – The Bill   To Prohibit Illegal Aliens From Receiving Any State Benefit Except in Instances of Emergency by Rep. Jon Hubbard. This bill had 35 Co-Sponsors. Blocked in Committee by Democrats.  All Republicans voted for the bill.


SB709 – A bill that would require the state to report the cost of implementing  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) and the costs to sustain the provisions by Rep Missy Irwin (R).  Blocked in Committee by Democrats - 4 Republicans supported and 4 Democrats opposed. 


HB1008 – The bill to DENY illegal aliens in-state tuition rates by Rep. Justin Harris.  In three other sessions a bill had been introduced (and almost passed one session) to let illegal aliens attend college in Arkansas without paying out-of-state tuition.  Blocked in Committee by Democrats.  Five Republicans supported it; nine Democrats opposed so it failed to pass out of the committee.


HB1002 – To exempt from state income tax certain capital gains that would have been the biggest cut presented in the legislature, $44 million by Representative Ed Garner (R), finally passed the House Committee and full House.  Blocked by Senate Committee.  The 4 Republicans on the Committee voted for it; none of the four Democrats (Paul Bookout, Linda Chesterfield, Jerry Taylor and Larry Teague) voted for it.  Governor Beebe opposed the bill.

SB981 and SB942 –Two redistricting plans (required because of 2010 Census data) by Senator Johnny Key (R) and Bill Pritchard (R).   Blocked by Democrats in Senate Committee.

HB1885 – A redistricting plan by Representative Andrea Lea (R) Blocked by Democrats  in House Committee. 

SB972 and HB1836 - Two identical redistricting plans by a Democratic Senator Sue Madison (SB972  and Democratic Representative Clark Hall  (HB1836) that could very aptly be called gerrymandering, after much fighting and amending, made it through Committees and through the House and the Senate.  Even a Democrat senator, Senator Jerry Taylor, is quoted as describing these bills this way,   "We are trying to draw a map to help one party beat another party.  Why in the world would you justify splitting [Jefferson ad Sebastian counties] unless you are looking for partisan advantage?  I hope that you all see the fallacy [of the bill].  I just wonder, has common sense left the building.  Has common sense just walked out?"

HB1887 – To ban abortion beyond the time fetuses are thought to feel pain – 20 weeks of gestation except if the mother's life is in danger by Rep Andy Mayberry. Blocked by Democrats in Committee.

HB1983 – Strengthens Arkansas’ current rights of conscience laws for doctors and health care providers who do not want to perform abortions or provide contraceptive services. This bill expands that provision to include other medical procedures that may violate a doctor’s, hospital’s, or insurer’s conscience, such as abortion, artificial insemination, euthanasia, and similar procedures. Blocked in House Committee by Democrats.

SB845 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, would classify clinics that perform surgical abortions as “ambulatory surgical centers,” which means they would have to meet stricter requirements. Passed Senate Committee & Senate but Blocked by Democrats in House Committee.

SB840 – A bill that puts additional restrictions on doctors prescribing medication that induces abortion by Sen. Missy Irvin-R Mountain View.  Passed the Senate Committee and the Senate but Blocked by Democrats in House Committee. 

SB843 - A bill to require when someone performs an abortion to check whether the fetus has a heartbeat in order to give a woman more information to consider when making her choice by Senator Jason Rapert.  Passed Senate Committee and the Senate but Blocked by Democrats in  House Committee.

HB2159 – Allows  a pregnant woman to use force to defend her unborn child from a criminal assault by Representative Stubblefield (R). Currently, Arkansas law does not specify that a woman can defend her unborn child the same way she could any other child. In 1999, a Michigan woman was found guilty of manslaughter after she used lethal force against a man who punched her in the stomach, causing her to lose her quadruplets she was carrying. Blocked in House Committee by Democrats

An abortion bill by a Democrat did pass however, HB1855, to require any abortion provider who performs more than 10 abortions a month to be licensed by the state. It is not a far stretch to see partisanship when the only abortion bill passed this session was by a Democrat. 88 to 0 in the House and Senate 21 to 3.

SB774 -  To allow home schoolers to try out for extracurricular activities at their local public school. Passed through the Senate with 30 – 5 vote.   Blocked in House Committee by Democrats.  However, one Republican voted against this bill, Representative Robert Dale.  If just one of the Democrats had voted for it, it would have passed through the House Committee.

SB867 – Bans  lottery vending machines like the ones recently rolled out by the Arkansas Lottery Commission by Senator Sue Madison (D) . Passed the Senate but  Blocked in House Committee by Democrats (Sent to Interim Study).  


Example of other Dirty Tricks - 

HB2010 – To require other factors other than number of enrollment to be considered before a school can be consolidated that would save good schools like Weiner that have excelled achievement by Representative Jon Hubbard.  Passed through the House  Committee and lacked one vote passing through the full House.  Speaker Robert Moore called several legislators out of the House just before the vote, six of whom would have voted for the bill.  The bill failed by one vote because of this. 


Women Action Group –


Posted April 15, 2012