Bill to allow ‘conscience’ exemption for health care providers, insurers fails in committee

The House Public Health Committee on Thursday rejected a bill from Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) that would have created an avenue for health care workers, institutions and insurers to opt out of administering or paying for health care services on the basis of “religious, moral or ethical principles.” Smith did not rule out reviving the bill for a second vote at a later date.

House committee approves higher ed funding change

An Arkansas House committee has approved a plan to alter the funding formula for higher education. The House Education Committee advanced a bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle) on Tuesday that would send state dollars to public colleges and universities based on performance. The state now awards colleges and universities money mostly based on enrollment.