Friday, January 30, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Nine Appointments

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:

David Nelson, Magnolia, to the Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces James Freeman.

Jay Brain, Rogers, to the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics Commission. Appointment expires November 9, 2019. Replaces Marion Burton.

Chris Weiser, Magnolia, reappointment to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2021.

James Freeman, Texarkana, appointment to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Stephen Edwards.

Stan Green, Fayetteville, appointment to Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces William Cone.

Sarah Capp, Ozark, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court.

James Arnold II, Fort Smith, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court.

Warren Dupwe, Jonesboro, Special Associate Justice to Arkansas Supreme Court.

Steve Goode, Vilonia, Director of Arkansas Tobacco Control

Tags: Gov. Hutchinson, nine appointments, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill Supports An End To Human Trafficking, Protect Victims and Punish the Perpetrators

Says ‘we must do more to combat the alarming growth of this appalling criminal enterprise’

Washington – Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement after the House approved 12 bills to combat human trafficking in the United States:

As many as 300,000 children in the United States are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. We must do more to combat the alarming growth of this appalling criminal enterprise, and I am pleased that the House has passed these bipartisan bills to end human trafficking, protect victims, and punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.”

This week, the House passed 12 bills to combat human trafficking with overwhelming bipartisan support:

1. The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 514)

2. International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (H.R. 515)

3. Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 357)

4. Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act (H.R. 468)

5. Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act (H.R. 469)

6. To Improve the Response to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking (H.R. 246)

7. Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act (H.R. 285)

8. Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (H.R. 181)

9. Stop Exploitation through Trafficking Act (H.R. 159)

10. Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R. 350)

11. Human Trafficking Detection Act (H.R. 460)

12. Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act (H.R. 398)

Tags: U.S. House, Representative, French Hill, AR-2, End, Human Trafficking, protect victums, punish perpetrators To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Boozman Applauds Senate-Passage of Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

WASHINGTON – Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today issued the following statement after the Senate passed legislation to create jobs by moving the Keystone XL Pipeline project forward.

“The Keystone pipeline is the type of job creating infrastructure project that America needs. It will create well-paying jobs for skilled laborers and will do so at no expense to the taxpayers. Once built, the pipeline will help maintain lower fuel prices, which is good for all Arkansans -- at the gas pump, at the store and for job creation,” Boozman said. “The Keystone pipeline has been greenlighted in study after study. We’ve had a multiple debates on it in this body alone, including the lengthy spirited debate that led to passage of this bill. And yet the President is still looking for ways to stop it. The support is here in Congress. More importantly the support is there with the American people. I encourage the President to join with us to get this project moving, instead of being the one to hold it back.”
Editor's Note: By a 62-to-36 vote, Republicans and nine Democrats passed S.1, the bill to authorize construction of the 840 mile Keystone XL pipeline which Obama has vowed to veto.

Tags: U.S. senate, John Boozman, Senate, passes, Keystone XL Pipeline billINSERT TAGS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas Delegation Requests Loan Repayment Extension for Farmers Impacted by Turner Grain

WASHINGTON – The Arkansas Congressional delegation today requested Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack extend the loan repayment date for farmers impacted by the collapse of Turner Grain until bankruptcy proceedings are completed.

Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) extended loan repayment dates for farmers impacted by the collapse of Turner Grain last fall. The repayment extension is set to expire for farmers during the week of February 1, 2015.

“Given that losses may be as high as $50 million, the situation has the potential to be devastating to Arkansas, where one out of every six jobs is tied to agriculture. For these reasons, we respectfully request that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) extend the CCC loan repayment date for those farmers awaiting payment from Turner Grain until bankruptcy proceedings are completed,” the lawmakers wrote.

Turner Grain defaulted on its contracts to farmers last August. In October, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Read the letter in its entirety here.

Tags: Arkansas Congressional delegation, requested, Sec of Agriculture, extend loan repayment, Turner Grain, bankruptcy,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Win for Taxpayers

by David Ray, Dirirector, AFP - Arkansas: We've got some great news to share with you. Yesterday, Governor Asa Hutchinson said that there would be no money in his budget for General Improvement Funding - Arkansas's version of earmarks. This is a huge win for taxpayers!

In years past, the Governor would allow the legislature to dole out "leftover" money to pet projects back in their home districts. Some of that money would be spent on good projects, but much of it would be wasted on all kinds of pork spending.

We applaud Governor Hutchinson's decision not to include General Improvement Funds funding in his budget. This decision will ensure that money that would otherwise go to earmark-like pet projects will now be required to go through the budget process.

This is a win for Arkansas taxpayers.

Tags: AFP, Americans for Prosperity, Arkansas, David Ray, Governor Asa Hutchinson,  no more funding, Arkansas Improvement Funding, earmarks,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Named Chairman of Senate Agriculture Subcommittee

Arkansas Senator will oversee Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management

WASHINGTON – Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) named U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management for the 114th Congress.

“This subcommittee’s work is important to the wellbeing of our agricultural economy. I am honored that Chairman Roberts and my colleagues on the committee have entrusted me with this responsibility,” Boozman said.

“I am pleased Senator Boozman can continue his leadership on behalf of Arkansas’ farmers and ranchers on the Committee,” Roberts said. “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade, I am confident Senator Boozman will fight to ensure the federal government is doing all it can to ensure producers succeed.”

The subcommittee has jurisdiction over following issue areas: the production of agricultural crops, commodities and products; farm and ranch income protection and assistance, including safety net programs and farm credit; commodity price support programs; insurance and risk protection; fresh water food production; agricultural trade; foreign market development; and futures, options and derivatives.

“As we move to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, help implement the new Farm Bill and push for free and fair trade agreements for American producers, this subcommittee will ensure the needs of the agricultural community are put first,” Boozman said. “Farmers, ranchers, and other end users did not cause the financial crisis, but unfortunately, they’re getting caught up in regulations that are aimed at large financial institutions. Farmers shouldn’t be unfairly subjected to the same regulations as speculators on Wall Street.”

Tags: Arkansas, U.S. Senator, John Boozman, Chairman, Senate Agriculture Subcommittee, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill: Increasing U.S. Natural Gas Exports ‘Benefits Consumers and Our National Security’

Legislation will ‘assist our allies and boost Arkansas’s economy’
Washington – Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement today after the House passed the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (H.R. 351) by a bipartisan vote of 277 – 133:

“Today we took another step towards eliminating needless U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) delays to approving essential liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. Increasing U.S. LNG exports will benefit our allies by adding a new, reliable source of energy to the global market and boost Arkansas’s economy through job creation, especially in engineering, manufacturing, and construction. It is time for America to lead the world in energy production and exports. I will continue to support legislation that boosts our goal of North American energy independence and benefits consumers and our national security interests.

H.R. 351 will help expedite the approval of U.S. LNG export projects by placing a 30-day deadline on DOE to issue a final decision on applications following the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review of the LNG facilities. Reports have shown that exporting natural gas will create over 18,000 jobs in Arkansas and contribute over $3 billion to Arkansas’s economy.

Tags: French Hill, U.S. Representative, AR-2, increasing exports, U.S. natural Gas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Budget Highlights & Promises Kept

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson’s balanced budget for 2015-2017 biennium returns $100 million to middle-class Arkansans while providing funding for new priorities, existing programs, and essential state services.

In addition, the balanced budget keeps campaign promises made by the governor on education, public safety, taxes and economic development while finding new savings and efficiencies in state government.

Governor Hutchinson's balanced budget:
         Meets the adequacy requirements for funding K-12 public schools. (The governor will work with legislators to assess additional needs for state pre-K programs. This is in addition to a four-year, $60-million federal grant the state has earmarked for pre-K.)
         Provides incentive for schools to offer computer-science courses by creating a $5 million Computer Science Initiative Grants program with general improvement funding.
         Increases funding by $1 million for Drug Treatment Courts, including Veterans' treatment drug courts, and $300,000 for successful prisoner re-entry programs.
         Directs an additional $11.4 million to county jails to reimburse them for housing state prisoners. (The budget also raises the reimbursement rate from $28 to $30.)
         Fulfills the commitment to maintain Higher Education spending.
         Provides a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.
         Cuts middle-class income taxes, returning some $100 million to 500,000 Arkansans.
         Maintains a balanced budget.

Governor Hutchinson's balanced budget:
         Reduces the budgets of most state agencies by 1 percent in FY 2016.
         Secures an additional $5 million in ongoing general revenue by redirecting one-half of the special revenue assessment (9 mils) on natural gas production.
         Redirects $2 million from the Tobacco Settlement Funds to Medicaid.
         Transitions the Office of Health Information Technology to a self-funded model by FY 2017 as provided for in the law, resulting in eventual savings of $2.2 million.

Tags: Governor Asa Hutchinson, budget highlights, promises kept To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Appoints Five to Boards & Commissions

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments to State boards and commissions:

William “Dubs” Byers, Gould, to the Board of Corrections. Appointment expires December 31, 2021. Replaces Janis Walmsley.

Fritz Kronberger, Russellville, to the Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces Tom Kennedy.

Ken Shollmier, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2019. Replaces Eddie Drilling.

Steve Smith, Springdale, to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2021. Replaces Jeff Mitchell.

Shayla Copas, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Commission. Appointment expires at the Will of the Governor. Replaces Richard Levi.

Tags: Irkansas, Commissions, boards, appointments, Governor, Asa Hutchinson To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tom Cotton Discusses His Senate Agenda

Interview with Senator Tom Cotton by KATV Channel 7":

Tags: Tom Cotton, KATV Channel 7, interview, discusses, his Senate agenda, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New GOP Senators Make Economic Case for Keystone

by James Arkin, Real Clear Politics: Job creation has been one of the chief arguments for building the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in recent debates in the new Congress. But a group of Republican Senate newcomers on Thursday made an economic case for Keystone beyond just its role in job creation.

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Thom Tillis of North Carolina all spoke fervently in favor of the politically contentious pipeline at an event hosted by RealClearPolitics at the Newseum in downtown Washington Thursday.

“Long term, the pipeline works and it’s necessary,” Rounds said. “The pipeline is a more efficient way to deliver, and I believe a safer way to deliver, oil from those locations in our continent, Canada and North Dakota and Montana, down into specific refineries that were designed to take heavy crude.”

The Keystone pipeline has been caught in political crosshairs for six years, with Republicans in Congress anxious for it to be built while the Obama administration has threatened to veto any pipeline legislation that crosses the president's desk. The House passed a bill approving its construction earlier this month, but the Senate has been caught up in a long process of voting on amendments to the bill.

Two senators from states along the proposed Keystone XL path, Daines of Montana and Rounds of South Dakota, argued at the event that the pipeline would help their states’ local economies.

There’s strong disagreement across the aisles about how many jobs the pipeline would create. Republicans say building Keystone would add more than 40,000 new jobs, but Democrats argue the majority would be temporary. Democrats say the pipeline would lead to fewer than 50 permanent new jobs.

Rounds said that South Dakotans are eager to see the pipeline built because oil is being moved by train there, which is slowing down the transportation of grains to markets. He said it “comes directly out of our farmers’ and ranchers’ pockets.”

Daines said $80 million in tax revenues from the pipeline would directly benefit poor counties in eastern Montana. He also said the electricity provided for the pipeline would help to lower electric prices for those in the surrounding area.

“There’s a missed opportunity for the president to connect the dots in the Keystone pipeline and the middle class,” he said. “There’s a lot of folks fighting month to month to make ends meet and those are the folks that live near where that pipeline will go through.”

A number of senators cautioned that while oil prices are currently low, that’s unlikely to be a long-term trend. Oil prices tend to fluctuate, they said, and the pipeline decision shouldn’t be determined simply because prices are currently on the low end of the spectrum.

Because oil is a global commodity, Cotton said that increased production from U.S. allies is a benefit as well. He said he was “surprised” by arguments from the administration against Keystone because it’s a Canadian company and mostly Canadian oil.

“Canada’s an ally. We should want to help Canada because they help us,” Cotton said. “The president always likes to act like congressmen and senators are so parochial and nearsighted, that the president should be ascending and thinking about national interests, and he would be the last leader that would say, ‘Oh it’s just a Canadian company,’ as opposed to being the first one to say Canada’s an ally and any time we can help them and also help ourselves … that we should do that.”

Tillis said most of the public supports building the pipeline, and that that support would only increase if people knew more of the facts. He argued that if private companies want to take on the financial risk of the pipeline, government shouldn’t stand in the way.

“If the energy prices go down to a point to where they’re not going to fulfill the capacity of the pipeline, that’s a risk that a private company is willing to make,” Tillis said. “They’re willing to put $8 billion on the line, create 40,000 jobs. And for people to say well, it’s not ready yet, I trust the private sector to make those sorts of decisions, and TransCanada is prepared to make it.”

Tags: Inew GOP Senators, economic case, Keystone, Real Clear Politics, Tom Cotton, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Rep. Womack Week In Review: SOTU Response | Legislation | No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion

by Rep, Steve Womack, AR-3: On Tuesday, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. In it, the President delivered a laundry list of ideas. However, many of his ideas have already been addressed by House Republicans. I was hopeful that President Obama would recognize the will of the American people and the message they sent in November, but in the State of the Union rerun, he blatantly disregarded both. Furthermore, the ‘growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production’ President Obama talked about have not happened because of him, but in spite of him and his repeated calls for higher taxes, more spending, and bigger government – policies that have been squarely rejected by the American people and stand in the way of what hardworking taxpayers need more than anything: jobs. What part of ‘jobs’ does he not understand?

I recorded a video response to the SOTU for my Facebook followers. Watch it here!

On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 161, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, by a vote of 253-169. (See  Roll Call #41) H.R. 1900 expedites the federal review process for applications for natural gas pipeline certificates by imposing deadlines on involved agencies. Specifically, the bill amends the Natural Gas Act to require that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approve or deny a pipeline certificate within twelve months of receiving the complete application.

On Thursday – the forty-second anniversary of Roe v. Wade – the House bipartisanly passed >H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, by a vote of 242-179. (See Roll Call #45 H.R. 7 codifies policies enacted for more than thirty years on a case-by-case basis in Appropriations legislation that bar the use of federal funds for abortions. Additionally, the bill eliminates tax credits and subsidies for Obamacare health plans that include elective abortion coverage. Like all of the Arkansans in Washington who yesterday joined tens of thousands from across the country to participate in the March for Life, I was proud to do my part in protecting life and the most vulnerable among us – the unborn. H.R. 7 advocates for life by ensuring that those who morally object to abortion are not financing it with their tax dollars. I believe making permanent this provision, which a majority of Americans support, is well overdue, and I applaud its passage and will continue to support policies that protect life and human dignity.

Tags: Rep. Steve Womack, representative, Arkansas, District 3, U.S. House, Week in Review, SOTU Response, Legislation, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas Delegation Requests Extension for Public Comment Period on Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project

WASHINGTON –Arkansas’s Congressional delegation today requested an extension for the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project.

In a letter sent to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the delegation requests more time for constituents to share their views and/or concerns, noting that the comment period was announced during the holiday season.

“We understand the importance of infrastructure projects, including properly-sited transmission lines, but we also believe that potentially-impacted landowners and citizens must be treated fairly and they must have every opportunity to eliminate or minimize impacts before projects are considered. In short, private property rights must be protected.  Accordingly, we request that you provide at least a 60-day extension of the comment period for the Draft EIS and Section 106 process on the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project,” the letter states.

The letter was signed by both of Arkansas’s U.S. Senators, John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), as well as neighboring Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). All four Arkansas Congressmen—Rick Crawford (AR-01), French Hill (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04)—also signed the letter.

Tags: Arkansas, Public Comment Period, Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project, U.S. Congress, Arkansas Delegation, Senate, press release To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Members of Arkansas Delegation Push for Level Playing Field for Arkansas Rice

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to encourage Iraq to purchase more American produced rice.

The letter asks for diplomatic assistance to improve trade relations with the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) because of the decreased purchases of American produced rice. In recent years, the IGB has bought rice from other nations over lower cost American rice. The letter asserts that the IGB has not indicated that American rice is deficient in quality, grade or price.

Arkansas leads the nation in rice production. Rice is the top agricultural export for the Natural State. Nationwide, rice production generates approximately $34 billion in economic activity annually, creating thousands of jobs in rural America.

“We recognize Iraq’s prerogative to make these types of decisions, but it serves no purpose to discriminate against competitively-priced U.S. rice in favor of rice produced elsewhere.  As an example, on November 6, 2014, the Iraqi Grain Board announced its intent to purchase 170,000 metric tons (mt) of rice. The IGB purchased 80,000 mt from Thailand, 60,000 from Uruguay, and 30,000 from Brazil. No rice was purchased from the United States, despite offers of U.S. rice that were of similar quality but nearly $24 per mt below the prices from competitors from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Iraqi authorities have provided no explanation for this type of decision,” the letter states.

The IGB is expected to begin accepting bids on a new tender to buy 30,000 metric tons of rice soon.

The letter was also signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), David Purdue (R-Ga.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), John Fleming (R-La.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Randy Weber (R-Texas).

Tags: Arkansas, Arkansas Rice, Rice, U.S. Congress, Arkansas Delegation, Senate, press release To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, January 23, 2015

AG Opinion: Arkansas Legislature Controls Its Own Ethics Rulemaking

House Health Committee by Family Council: We have written before about Issue 3, which voters passed last November. Among other things, Issue 3 extended term limits for Arkansas’ legislators and put new ethics guidelines in the Arkansas Constitution.

One ballot proposal that did not garner very much attention, however, was Issue 1, which voters also passed last November.

Issue 1 made rules and regulations promulgated by state agencies subject to legislative review and approval.
On the surface, Issue 1 and Issue 3 seem to have very little to do with each other. One prescribes new ethics laws and extends term limits for legislators; the other increases accountability between the Arkansas Legislature and the state agencies operating under the Executive Branch of government.

Before leaving office this week, however, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion that connected Issue 1 and Issue 3: Together, Issue 1 and Issue 3 give the Arkansas Legislature a lot of authority over the ethics guidelines Issue 3 put in the Arkansas Constitution.

In a Nutshell
In a nutshell, here is what has happened:
  1. Besides extending term limits, Issue 3 outlined ethics guidelines for things like gifts to lawmakers from lobbyists.
  2. Issue 3 directed the Arkansas Ethics Commission to make rules implementing those ethics guidelines.
  3. Issue 1 gave the Arkansas Legislature authority over rules and regulations implemented by state agencies like the Arkansas Ethics Commission.
  4. This means the legislature controls the new ethics rules put out by the Arkansas Ethics Commission under Issue 3.
  5. Issue 3 also gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to change the ethics guidelines in the Arkansas Constitution with a 2/3 vote of the Arkansas House and Senate; no approval from voters is required.
In other words, Issue 3 directs the Arkansas Ethics Commission to implement new ethics guidelines, but Issue 1 gives the Arkansas Legislature authority over anything the Ethics Commission tries to implement.

Unpacking Issue 3
Issue 3 was a constitutional amendment passed by the People of Arkansas last fall. We have written before about how the measure extended term limits for lawmakers. It also affects things like gifts to lawmakers by registered lobbyists and meals purchased for state legislators.

It’s a constitutional amendment, so how could the Arkansas Legislature have any authority over Issue 3? After all, the Arkansas Constitution controls the legislature; the legislature does not control the constitution.

The key seems to lie with the following language that pops up throughout the amendment: “[T]he General Assembly shall provide by law for this section to be under the jurisdiction of the Arkansas Ethics Commission, including without limitation authorization of the following actions by the Arkansas Ethics Commission:

(A) Promulgating reasonable rules to implement and administer this section as necessary;…”
In other words, Issue 3 outlines new ethics regulations, but it’s up to the Arkansas Ethics Commission to establish practical rules and regulations implementing those ethics regulations.

That alone gives the legislature some authority over the ethics rules, but that’s not all.

Issue 3 Also Lets the Arkansas Legislature Amend the Constitution
Something the Attorney General’s office notes is that Issue 3 also gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to change the ethics guidelines in the Arkansas Constitution with a 2/3 vote. That’s huge, because up until this point all changes to the Arkansas Constitution had to be approved by voters.

In Arkansas, voters have almost always had the final say on what goes into the Arkansas Constitution. Issue 3 contained language that, according to Attorney General McDaniel, gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to change the ethics provisions in the Arkansas Constitution with a 2/3 vote.

Letting the Arkansas Legislature unilaterally amend portions of the Arkansas Constitution a significant change.

Unpacking Issue 1
So Issue 3 makes the Arkansas Ethics Commission responsible for implementing ethics rules, but Issue 1 gives the Arkansas Legislature authority over rules and regulations established by agencies and commissions like the Ethics Commission.
That means that the new ethics rules adopted by the Ethics Commission as part of Issue 3 are subject to legislative approval.

In his opinion on Issue 1 and Issue 3, Attorney General McDaniel writes,“[T]he people, whether wisely or not, have invested the General Assembly with significant potential control over the Ethics Commission’s rulemaking authority. Should it elect to exercise such control in this instance, the General Assembly of course will remain constrained by an obligation disinterestedly to promote implementation of the Amendment 94 [Issue 3] ethical strictures. As noted above, however, the General Assembly remains free to amend the substance of those strictures by supermajority vote.”
In other words, the people may have passed Issue 3 to put new ethics regulations in place, but the Arkansas Legislature has the final say on what those ethics regulations will look like.

So to Recap:
  1. Issue 3 outlined ethics guidelines for things like gifts to lawmakers from lobbyists.
  2. Issue 3 directed the Arkansas Ethics Commission to make rules implementing those ethics guidelines.
  3. Issue 1 gave the Arkansas Legislature authority over any rules established by the Arkansas Ethics Commission–meaning the legislators control how the ethics rules are implemented.
  4. And Issue 3 gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to change the ethics guidelines in the Arkansas Constitution with a 2/3 vote of the Arkansas House and Senate; no approval from voters is required.
The purpose of ethics laws like Issue 3 is to hold our lawmakers accountable. Giving lawmakers so much authority over the ethics laws would seem to undermine Issue 3’s intended purpose.

Read Attorney General McDaniel’s entire opinion on Issue 3 here.

Tags: Family Council, Arkansas, AG Opinion, Legislature, Ethics, Ethics Rulemaking To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Hutchinson’s Healthcare Speech: Healthcare and Medicaid reform in Arkansas

Transcript of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Speech: Healthcare and Medicaid reform in Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK | Jackson T. Stephens Neurosciences Institute, UAMS | Fred Smith Auditorium – [Lead in thank yous removed]

via @KennyW_NLR / Arkansas Tea Party
Our Voices reports: "Activists state-wide are stunned that newly elected Governor Asa Hutchinson will not seek repeal, try to limit enrollment, or to end the Private Option now, despite an overwhelmingly clear mandate from voters, who put into office this year the largest GOP majority ever in state history."

In 2021, when Arkansas pays 10 percent of the Private Option costs, which is over $200 million, that is the red part of the pie. That's been the focus of our debate. But look at the blue? How large that is. And this is the $1.8 billion that's devoted to our traditional Medicaid budget.

So if we're going to look at the future costs to this state, would it not be wise to focus on the entire pie?

If you combine the data of the profile of the participants with the knowledge that our future liabilities as a state are dependent on the entire Medicaid budget, then you have a starting point for future reform.

I believe that there are some principles that should frame the debate. One of them is work and responsibility. I want our social programs in Arkansas to be an incentive for people to work as opposed to an incentive for people not to work. Arkansans want to work. And when they work, they should get ahead. And when they work real hard, they should climb up the economic ladder. I believe the vast majority of Arkansans want to work. Nobody who's able to work wants to stay on government healthcare. They want a job. And while it's encouraging to see so many folks now insured who did not have health insurance before, I'd like to see us reduce that number. And we can reduce that number as we move people to work and they move up the economic ladder.

Secondly, we need to have incentives for preventive care. People need to own more responsibility for their healthcare decisions. They need to be engaged in preventive care.

We need to emphasize the role of the private sector and charity care. It is not any group's responsibility. It is all of ours collectively. And there is a role for charity care, too.

As a rural state, there has to be access to healthcare in the rural areas. And that involves telemedicine so we can make sure that those in the less-affluent areas of our state have access to the highest quality healthcare. Through telemedicine a knee or hip specialist or neurologist in Little Rock or Northwest Arkansas can be brought to somebody in the Delta. We can share our expertise across the state. We have to continue to use technology to assure quality healthcare.

Another principle that should guide us is cost control. Look at the history of the cost of our social programs. Fifty years ago this summer, the Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law by President Johnson. Nobody, not even conservatives, thought those two programs would grow so uncontrollably. In fact, in 1965, Medicare had been projected by a House Committee to cost $12 billion by 1990. What did it actually cost? $110 billion. How's that for government estimates?

Meanwhile, costs for individual and group insurance have skyrocketed. Many people cannot afford insurance and they go without health care. For that reason, some 60 percent of personal bankruptcies filed in this country result from medical bills.

Clearly, our healthcare system needs more attention and continued efforts at reform.

And finally, and very importantly, we need to have flexibility at the state level, the laboratory of innovation.

So today in Arkansas we are at a juncture. Which way do we go? We recognize the hospitals and healthcare providers cannot face a traumatic cliff every year when it comes to renewing the Private Option. We need more consistency. We need more reliability. We need more predictability. So that we can plan.

Secondly, we want to have a healthcare system that we can afford, that we know is not going to absorb greater and greater amounts of general revenues. We want to have a system that looks for a way to help those Arkansans who are covered by the Private Option and assure access to healthcare in the future for those.

We are Arkansans. And we look out for each other.

Just days after the election, I received a letter from a woman named Christine Smith, who lives in Fayetteville. Christine began: "I am writing to you as an Arkansan, but more importantly, as the mother of a 19-year-old son who has just been diagnosed with cancer."

Christine's son went in for a regular physician's visit when the doctor noticed that his neck felt a little swollen. They ran some tests and discovered that the boy had a tumor. They performed surgery to remove the tumor and followed up with treatment.

It worked. Christine's son is now finished with his treatment. He's feeling well. And he's now a student at the University of Arkansas studying environmental science.

When I received Christine's letter and heard this story, I immediately thought she must have been insured through the private option as she urged me to keep it for the "health of the citizens of Arkansas."

But the Smiths already had insurance. She was writing because while she was going through this ordeal she "couldn't imagine how families do it who don't have coverage." That's just like an Arkansan — to think about others.

I want to assure Mrs. Smith, and all Arkansans, that I want us to have a system that is compassionate, affordable, fits Arkansas and provides access to care.

I agree with you, Christine.

And now is the time for me to be more specific. As governor, I will ask the legislature to take the following action:

First of all, to fund the Private Option this fiscal year and continue it through December 31, 2016. This avoids harm to the 200,000-plus on the Private Option and it assures our hospitals and provides of financial stability.

Secondly, I'm asking the legislature to create a Health Reform Task Force that will make recommendations for the future. And the purpose of this task force is to find an alternative health coverage model to ensure healthcare services for vulnerable populations currently covered by the Private Option.

So hear me clearly. We're going to continue the Private Option through 2016 and create a Health Reform Task Force that will make recommendations for the future. And that will include a compassionate and reasonable cost-effective response for care of those currently on the Private Option.

The task force should also be charged with exploring and recommending to the Legislature options to modernize the entire Medicaid program currently serving the indigent, aged and disabled.

Guidelines should govern any task force. The guidelines I would suggest to the Legislature should include, among others that they very well may add:
  • Minimize or eliminate the need to raise additional general state revenues for continued investment in this. Obviously, you'll want to adjust for inflation but you want to minimize or eliminate the need for the state to raise additional general revenues.
  • More flexibility for managing the state Medicaid program. Flexibility is critical. We fought for that. We want to continue to fight for that. Including consideration for block-grant type waivers or authority so that we can have the maximum amount of flexibility in Arkansas.
  • Strengthen the employer-sponsored health insurance market.
  • Increase employment of healthy recipients of taxpayer-funded healthcare services. Encourage work as they receive that benefit. Increase accountability and personal responsibility.
  • And, finally, provide access to health services in rural areas of the state.
These are some of the guidelines that should govern the task force as it goes to work. The timing of this task force is urgent. It's critical. And it's got to move quickly, although thoughtfully and comprehensively. A report will be required from this task force by the end of 2015. They go to work, and by the end of 2015, we've got to have some answers back and some recommendations because we need to allow time for legislative action so that we will have clear direction for our hospitals, our providers, and those who are currently covered. This would allow time to request waivers and necessary approvals from the federal government as well.

We should have our solutions in place by December 31, 2016. I will further direct the Department of Human Services to immediately begin an assessment of opportunities to reform our Medicaid services to better serve our high-cost, high-need populations. And, secondly, to utilize private sector expertise to identify and prevent waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicaid services.

This information from the Department of Human Services will be beneficial to the legislative task force. Data will drive solutions.

Now let me emphasize: In regard to the Private Option, it is time to close this chapter and to start a new one. It is a new day for healthcare in Arkansas. I pledge to work with you to find the right solution for all of Arkansas. And while we are turning the page, and beginning a new effort, our innovative efforts in Medicaid reform will continue.

I want to end by talking about the recent meeting that I had with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in Washington, D.C. This was an important meeting. And as we met with Secretary Burwell, we made the case that we needed more flexibility in Arkansas to determine our own direction.

Earlier today, I recieved a letter from Secretary Burwell. In summary, she says "I was pleased to learn of your commitment to an effective and affordable approach to coverage for the newly covered adults beyond the current three-year term of Arkansas's Health Care Independence Program demonstration for Private Option and to also move forward on major delivery-system reforms that would apply to the larger Medicaid population."

She goes on to say, "We also understand your desire to encourage employment, and we commit to work with you on how you might achieve this objective while ensuring access to health coverage to eligible individuals." She goes on to say, "We appreciate and support your desire to avoid a piecemeal approach to reform and look forward to working with you on a potential, broad block of changes that could lower costs and improve access and quality in ways that best meet the needs of your state."

I'm gratified that there is an increasing willingness to give the state flexibility.

I noticed that there was not resounding applause at any point during the speech, and I think that simply means that we recognize how important it is.

We're going to do something great for those in need of healthcare. We're going to set the stage.

I'm an optimist. I'm an optimist that the people in this room will work together to do great things.

Thank you.

Tags: Asa Hutchinson, Healthcare speech, private option, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

U.S. House Passes Bill to Eliminate Taxpayer Funding for Abortions

Hill says he is ‘committed to passing pro-life legislation’

Washington – Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement today after the House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7) by a vote of 242 - 179:

“Although Americans were repeatedly told by the President that Obamacare would not include funding for abortion coverage, it has become evident that hardworking taxpayers are subsidizing abortion under the President’s health care program. Obamacare compromises Americans’ conscience rights, and today’s bill prohibits the use of federal funding to pay for abortions and bans taxpayer funding for health care plans that include elective abortion coverage. This past weekend I attended the Arkansas March for Life in Little Rock and heard from many Arkansans about the importance of speaking out for life and protecting the unborn. I am committed to passing pro-life legislation and will continue to work on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues on this important issue.”

In a September 9, 2009 address to a Joint Session of Congress, President Obama stated that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

A September 16, 2014 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that over 1,000 insurance plans offered under Obamacare contained coverage for elective abortion services.

Congressman Hill participated in the Arkansas March for Life in Little Rock on January 18, 2015.

Tags: U.S Hill, passes bill, H.R. 7, eliminate taxpayer funding, abortions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Hutchinson Has ‘Right Approach’

Lt. Gov. Applauds Launch of Comprehensive Medicaid Reform, End of Private Option

LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after Governor Hutchinson’s Health Care Speech:

“Governor Hutchinson’s decision to end the private option and to embark upon comprehensive Medicaid reform is exactly the right approach: The private option was never a sustainable or permanent solution, and only comprises a relatively small portion of the Medicaid program. The Governor’s plan is thoughtful and deliberate and will result in a responsible, innovative and historic solution that will provide quality health care to those in need, without busting the budget or raising taxes on hardworking Arkansans.

“For years, I have advocated for more State control over the Medicaid program. Governor Hutchinson understands the benefit of more State control and increased flexibility from the Federal Government, and he will demand it. I look forward to helping the Governor and the Legislature pursue comprehensive, effective, affordable, responsible and permanent Medicaid reform.”

Tags: Lt Governor, applauds, Governor Hutchinson, Medicare reform, end, private option To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Boozman, Manchin to Lead General Aviation Caucus in 114th Congress

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) will take the reins of the bipartisan Senate General Aviation (GA) Caucus in the 114th Congress.

As co-chairs, Boozman and Manchin will work to recruit members to the caucus and guide the organization as they work to inform their Senate colleagues about GA’s important contributions to the nation's economy and transportation system.

“In Arkansas, general aviation airports support more than $500 million annually in economic activity, and nearly 10,000 Arkansans work in aviation and aerospace manufacturing – many of them in the general aviation sector. If you crunch the numbers, most of our colleagues would have a similar story to tell. For that reason, I am excited to work with Senator Manchin to promote general aviation and share its importance with our colleagues,” said Boozman.

“General aviation makes a tremendous impact on West Virginia’s economy and on our nation as a whole,” Senator Manchin said. “The Mountain State’s aviation system alone supports more than 11,000 jobs in the state, and contributes about $616 million to our economy. As a pilot myself, it has always been a top priority of mine to address the unique challenges faced by the general aviation sector, and to foster business growth and job creation through this growing industry. It is a privilege to join Senator Boozman as a leader of the General Aviation Caucus, and I look forward to promoting the importance of general aviation in the 114th Congress.”

With revenue of more than $150 billion annually, more than 1.3 million jobs and over 5,000 available airports from which to operate, GA contributes greatly to the U.S. economy and plays a vital role in our nation’s transportation system.

GA is defined as all non-military flying except scheduled passenger airlines. GA aircraft operate for a number of diverse reasons including package delivery, emergency medical evacuation, agricultural aviation and much more.

The Senate General Aviation Caucus co-chairs in the 113th Congress—Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska and Republican Mike Johanns of Nebraska—are no longer serving in the Senate.

Tags: Senate Press Release, John Boozman, Arkansas, Joe Manchin, West Virginia, co-chair, General Aviation, caucas, 114th Congress To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Share Why #SchoolChoice is Important to You

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a proud original cosponsor of a Senate-passed resolution supporting National School Choice Week, wants to share why school choice is important to you and your family.

The National School Choice Week resolution designates the week of January 25 through January 31, 2015, as “National School Choice Week.” During this week, Boozman will feature stories and pictures submitted by Arkansans about the importance of school choice across our state.

“Education decisions need to be made by parents, teachers and community leaders at the state and local level – not Washington. We have made great progress in Arkansas where parents have the opportunity to send their children to schools outside of their designated district and charter and magnet schools provide additional education options. I am working with my colleagues to include school choice in federal education reforms. I look forward to reading your stories and sharing why school choice is important to Arkansans,” Boozman said.

How to Share Your Story

1. Share your photo and story that highlights why school choice is important to you. Send your story to

2. During “National School Choice Week” Senator Boozman will select stories submitted by Arkansans to post to website at and social media.

3. Stories submitted from Arkansans will be added to the Congressional Record during “National School Choice Week.” *Submitting your story allows Senator Boozman to share the story on his website and social media sites.

Tags: Sen. John Boozman, “National School Choice Week, letters, photos, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Boozman Responds to State of the Union

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:

“This is yet another missed opportunity. President Obama has a chance to work with Congress in areas where we can find common ground. We are ready, willing and able to do so and I believe there are ample opportunities for us to get things done for the American people. However, the tone the President struck seems to indicate that he is focused on what he wants, not what the American people want.”

“Tax reform is a perfect example of an issue that the American people are calling on Washington to address, where we can indeed find common ground, and instead the President proposes more of the same rate hikes that failed time and time again. We are pushing for true reform that makes the tax code fair, simple and reduces the burden for working Americans while creating an environment where the economy can flourish. We can make that happen with constructive cooperation, but we need everybody to come to the table.”

“Americans voted for change last November, but the President’s speech unfortunately was more of the same, raising taxes to create more government programs as opposed to making the programs we already have work efficiently and effectively. Arkansans have been forced to cut their spending significantly last few years because of the President’s economic policies. They want Washington to do the same thing.”

Earlier in the day, Boozman spoke on the Senate floor about how President Obama could use this opportunity to change the culture of Washington and work with Congress to make Washington work for the American people, not foster more gridlock.

Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, response, PResident Obama, State of the Union To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Rep. Hill Responds to President's State of The Union Address

Hill: President’s Plan ‘Would Hurt Hardworking Taxpayers’
Urges President to work with Congress to ‘grow our
economy, and allow individuals and businesses in America thrive’

Washington – Congressman French Hill (AR-2) issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“What the President’s speech tonight boils down to is increased taxes, increased government, and increased national debt, but this isn’t what the American people called for last November. I had hoped the President would have committed to working with Congress, but instead he put forth a go-it-alone plan that would hurt hardworking taxpayers, make it harder for individuals and small businesses in Arkansas to obtain loans, and stifle our economic growth.

“Before granting any request for new military authorization by the President, Congress must confirm an actual and effective strategy that not only combats radical Islamic terrorists wishing free nations harm but also reinforces American leadership.

“I am committed to working with my colleagues to support new trade agreements with Europe and Asia to help our economy and provide new trade opportunities for Arkansas.

“The House has passed bipartisan measures to boost our economy and spur job creation, while the President has issued veto threats and unconstitutional executive actions. The American people are frustrated and want their government to work. It is time for us to come together and find solutions that will ensure our national security, grow our economy, and allow individuals and businesses in America to thrive.”
J. French Hill, 58, is the 22nd Member of Congress to represent central Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.  A ninth generation Arkansan, he was elected on November 4, 2014, and will serve on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services for the 114th Congress.

Tags: U.S. Representative, French Hill, Arkansas, reponds to, President Obama, State of The union To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Named Chairman of Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee

U.S. Sen. John Boozman
WASHINGTON – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) named U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee for the 114th Congress.

The subcommittee has jurisdiction over annual funding for a range of federal agencies in the Executive Branch, Federal Courts and the District of Columbia. It oversees funding for financial-related agencies including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The subcommittee is also responsible for recommending funding for independent agencies that have a direct impact on Arkansas including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Postal Service.

“I’m honored to be named chairman of this subcommittee and I look forward to leading efforts to cut wasteful government spending and holding federal agencies accountable for how they use taxpayer dollars. It’s my goal to pave the way for a fiscally responsible government while protecting our financial security for future generations of Americans,” Boozman said.

Tags: U.S. Senate, John Boozman, Arkansas, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Five Appointments to Boards & Commissions

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced the following appointments to State boards and commissions:

John Belken, Little Rock, to the Parole Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Dennis Young.
Dale Douthit, Russellville, to the Workers Compensation Commission. Appointment expires December 5, 2020. Replaces Arthur Bell.

Mike Roberts, Little Rock, reappointed to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2019.

Bob Williams, Nashville, to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces Marvin Exum.

Warren Plyler, Hope, reappointed to the Red River Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2022.

Tags: IArkansas, appointments, John Belken, Parole Board, Dale Douthit, Workers Compensation Commission, Mike Roberts, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Bob Williams, Arkansas Rural Development Commission, Warren Plyler, Red River Commission To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, January 16, 2015

37th Annual Arkansas March For Life

by Rose Mimms, Executive Director, Arkansas Right to Life: On Sunday, January 18, 2015 thousands of Arkansans will gather at 2:00 p.m. in Little Rock for the 37th Annual March for Life to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Organized and sponsored by Arkansas Right to Life, the staging area for the March for Life will be on West Capitol between Battery & Wolfe Streets, behind the State Capitol. Marchers will split into two groups to the right and to the left to circle the State Capitol before joining back as one on the front steps for a brief program.

Wayne Mays, president of Arkansas Right to Life, will lead the march along with invited dignitaries and other special guests.

The keynote speaker will be Governor Asa Hutchinson, a long-time supporter and friend of Arkansas Right to Life. Also attending are: U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, 1st District Congressman Rick Crawford, 2nd District U.S. Congressman French Hill, 4th District Congressman Bruce Westerman, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin and many other pro-life Constitutional officers, State Senators and Representatives.

“The 2014 General Elections were very good for unborn children in our state and nation” said Executive Director Rose Mimms.

“In Arkansas we have a 100% Pro-Life Congressional representation in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, the State Capitol and have a pro-life majority in the AR General Assembly.”

“An unprecedented number of pro-life candidates have been elected to office that will result in significant pro-life legislation to restrict abortion, save unborn children and protect women in Arkansas until the time when we can overturn Roe v. Wade,” Mimms added.

Arkansas Right to Life’s top priority in 2015 is the passage of the Ban on Webcam Abortion. Legislation will be filed this week to make this the first pro-life legislation to be passed in the 2015 AR General Session.

Others participating in the program will be Father T. J. Hart, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Marche and the Reverend Scott Stewart, pastor of Agape Church in Little Rock. Ms. Charisse Dean of Little Rock will perform musical selections.
Arkansas Right to Life, the state’s oldest and largest pro-life organization, is an affiliate of the
National Right to Life Committee, the leading voice of the voiceless dedicated to protecting all human beings threatened by abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.

Tags: Rose Mimms, Arkansas Right to Life, Arkansas March for Life, Little Rock, Arkansas, January 18, 2015, route, speakers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Mr. President, Work with Congress

President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday. In the following article, Senator Boozman discusses the need for the President to work with Congress in the same way that President Clinton worked with Congress during his presidency.
Sen. John Boozman
by U.S. Senator John Boozman (AR): The State of the Union, the constitutionally mandated presidential address, is typically delivered to Congress at the beginning of the year. While today’s method of delivery is a speech before a joint session of Congress, Thomas Jefferson started a common practice among presidents that lasted for more than a century of delivering a written report to lawmakers.

For the first time in Barack Obama’s presidency, he will deliver a State of the Union address to a Republican-led House and Senate. Some see this divided government as a prescription for gridlock. Others, like myself, see this as an opportunity for Congress and the administration to work together to accomplish what the American people sent us to Washington to do – get things done.

This arrangement of a divided government has worked before. Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress for six years of his presidency. There is no reason why it can’t work today.

We certainly won’t always agree on all of the issues, but we can find common ground without abandoning our ideological principles. The final product of these agreements will not allow either party to get everything it wants, but compromise is not a bad thing.

Last Congress, with a Democrat Majority in the Senate blocking bills passed by the Republican controlled House, we still managed bipartisan legislation. We agreed on a new Farm Bill that ensures the continued safety, affordability, and reliability of our food supply while achieving real savings in federal spending. We reformed the VA to address the horrific wait time crisis our veterans faced while trying to receive the health care they earned. We passed a spending agreement bill that brings discretionary spending to its lowest level in almost a decade and has a number of provisions that adhere to conservative principles.

One way the President can show he is ready to work together is by respecting the constitutional limits of the office and stop creating rules and regulations without the approval of Congress.

Congress is crafting bipartisan legislation to improve our nation’s energy supply by approving the Keystone XL pipeline. Tapping into the Canadian oil sands will offer us a reliable source of energy from one of our strongest allies and trading partners while creating jobs.

The House passed this legislation and the Senate will follow suit after debating and amending the bill. However, the President threatens to veto this bipartisan supported piece of legislation. This is just one of the veto threats President Obama already issued in the new Congress.

The American people want the President to work with Congress. I believe we can find common ground. We all want hardworking Americans to be employed and to see our economy recover. There is bipartisan support in Congress for tax reform and for making Washington more efficient and accountable.

We’ve seen positive results from a divided government. I encourage President Obama to follow President Clinton’s example and work with Congress to improve the lives of all Americans.

Tags: U.S., Senator, John Boozman, comments, President Obama, work with Congress,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.