Voucher-like bill passes with ease in Senate

A controversial bill that would establish education savings accounts to be used at parents' discretion to fund private school and other education costs passed in a 22-5 vote in the Arkansas Senate Tuesday. Senate Bill 746 and its predecessor, House Bill 1222, have a long list of opponents. The legislation was initially opposed by Governor Hutchinson because of its potential cost, but he later said he supported it after HB 1222 was amended to cap the growth of the program. HB 1222 failed in the House last Thursday after passionate testimony from representatives who said the bill would negatively impact public school districts they represent. That same day, SB 746 was amended to mirror the failed legislation.

Choice bill fails in the House

A bill that would establish education savings accounts to be used at parents' discretion to fund private school and other education costs failed to pass in a 35-45 vote in the House Thursday.

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.