Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Religious Freedom Law Goes to Governor!

by Jerry Cox, Family Council The Arkansas House of Representatives has voted to send H.B. 1228, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to Governor Hutchinson to be signed into law.

As we have been saying for weeks, this good bill affirms and upholds religious liberty in Arkansas. It is modeled after legislation in at least 20 other states and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Clinton in 1993.

All told, Arkansas is one of only 11 states with no law or court ruling on the books spelling out protections for religious liberty.

Please call Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office right away, and ask him to sign H.B. 1228 into law. This simply is a good bill that prevents the state from infringing religious liberty in Arkansas.

You can leave a message for Governor Hutchinson at (501) 682-2345.

You can send Governor Hutchinson a tweet in support of H.B. 1228 at @AsaHutchinson.

After you have done that, please leave a message for your state senator and state representative telling them how grateful you are this good bill has passed!

Our lawmakers have received many negative comments from opponents of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Please call or email your legislators today to tell them how glad you are H.B. 1228, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, has been sent to Governor Hutchinson. I really believe they could benefit from a positive message.

H.B. 1228 is legislation that is long overdue in Arkansas. Other states around the nation have been passing legislation like this since 1993. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a good law that will help prevent the government from burdening the free exercise of religion.

Thank you for your support over the past few weeks. I really believe the grace of God and your calls and emails are what helped pass this good bill. Thank you for standing firm for religious liberty in Arkansas.

Tags: Arkansas, Legislature, passes, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Sen to the Governor To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas: Pro-Gun Bills Progress Out of Committee And “Shall Sign” Legislation Becomes Law

Governor Signs Into Law Act 720 
by NRA-ILA: Yesterday, the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee recommended “Do Pass” on House Bill 1505, House Bill 1240, and Senate Bill 159. These bills now head to the House floor for consideration and a vote. Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to vote in support of HB 1505, HB 1240 and SB 159 when these important pro-gun bills come before them.

HB 1505, introduced by state Representative Michelle Gray (R-62), would remove the absolute prohibition on having a firearm in a vehicle while in certain public parking lots for individuals with a concealed handgun license.

HB 1240, introduced by state Representative Dwight Tosh (R-52), would strengthen the civil immunity statute to protect a person from civil damages stemming from an incident when he or she lawfully uses deadly physical force in self-defense or in defense of another person.

SB 159, introduced by Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R-19), would remove the absolute prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm into a county courthouse for employees who have a concealed handgun license.

Also yesterday, House Bill 1488 was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson, and is enacted into law as Act 720. Act 720 requires the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm, as required by the National Firearms Act, within 15 days if the person is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm by law. Act 720 also establishes that an applicant may appeal a denial to the circuit court.

Under past Arkansas law, a CLEO could refuse to sign off for any reason, including their own personal feelings toward NFA-related items, which created issues for law-abiding citizens. By removing any possibility of personal bias, which may reside behind many CLEO's refusing to sign off, and creating a statewide standard, Act 720 protects the rights of law-abiding gun owners across Arkansas.

Thank you to all of our members who contacted their legislators on behalf of HB 1488. Passage of this bill could not have been done without your continuous support. Please thank Governor Hutchinson for signing HB 1488.

Tags: NRA-ILA, Arkansas, pro-Gun Bills, Shall Sign legislation becomes Law,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Vetoes SB79

Little Rock, Arkansas – Governor Asa Hutchinson has vetoed Senate Bill 79, a bill with the intent to “protect the names, voices, signatures, photographs, and likenesses of the citizens of the state from exploitation and unauthorized commercial use without the citizen’s consent.” However, the bill as drafted would extend protection beyond the stated intent of the bill, unnecessarily restrict free expression and may result in unnecessary litigation in Arkansas.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement upon his veto:dir>“In its current form, the bill unnecessarily restricts free expression and thus could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In addition, SB79 exempts certain types of noncommercial speech while failing to exempt other forms of noncommercial speech. The absence of these exemptions could result in unnecessary litigation and suppress Arkansans who engage in artistic expression.”
Contact the Governor's office for the Veto Letter.

Editorial comment: I appreciate the Governor veto of this bill in its current form. U.S.  Copyright and patent laws already protect within reason  the issues in this bill.  In addition, the term media is unclear.  The New media, bloggers and social media users often rely on the Fair Use Doctrine.

Tags: Arkansas, vetoes, SB79,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Voting Against the Budget

by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01): A vote against the budget isn't simply a vote against the budget, which in itself was well intentioned. It is a vote against the current way Washington spends money, an expression of my level of mistrust for Congress' ability to set a level of spending and hold itself accountable to that level. Congress has blown past budget levels before, and it will again, which begs the question, "what do these budgets actually accomplish?"

The budget itself is a non-binding resolution, a blueprint. Because they carry no legal authority, budgets can be forgotten and ignored, as they often are. So as Americans we are tasked with the problem of how to control our spending. So far, the answer has been to entrust Congress to be responsible in a position as both lender and borrower. With our national debt currently tipping past $18 trillion, I don't believe that answer is a good one.

The culture of Washington simply isn't one of fiscal responsibility. When Arkansas went broke in 1933, Arkansans never forgot. The disaster fundamentally changed the culture of the Arkansas legislature. Ever since, our state has been cautious about how much money it spends and is very careful never to live beyond its means. But such a disaster at the federal level has never come to pass, and that's a good thing. However, it also means that the federal government never learned the important lesson that Arkansas did.

When the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offered its long-term budget projections in July of last year, it predicted that the United States is currently on an unsustainable trend. A debt the size of the federal government's, which is only supposed to keep increasing, can hinder long-term economic growth and restrict our ability to navigate unforeseeable future challenges or crises.

The interest payments our massive debt demands will continue to create bigger and bigger problems as we continue into this new century. The CBO has projected interest payments on our debt this year alone to be $227 billion. However, current interest rates are artificially low. As they begin to rise, and with our debt climbing higher and higher, by 2024 payments are forecasted to triple to $722 billion, a growth rate which doesn't come close to matching our economy's projected growth. Interest will be the third largest spending category behind medicare and social security at that point. That means that our debt's interest will crowd out other spending, money that could be spent on roads, schools, defense, emergencies, and other unforeseeable challenges.

So how can we reign in spending when a culture of fiscal responsibility isn't strong enough in Washington to mandate adherence to budgets Congress itself passes? We need a serious, lawful, and binding solution to our debt crisis, a Constitutional Amendment mandating monetary responsibility. We must fundamentally change the way Washington can spend money, and if Washington itself can't get it done, then the states themselves have the ability to intervene.

Under Article V of our Constitution, once two-thirds of the states petition Congress to call a constitutional convention, 38 states can ratify any amendment proposed at the convention. There is a serious push by many states to hold such a convention, and if that's what it takes to curb Federal spending, then I fully support their efforts. As of now, 27 of the needed 34 states have called for a convention in the hopes of amending our Constitution to include a balanced budget provision at the federal level. I have also supported numerous balanced budget Amendments in Congress and am working on my own spending limitation Amendment. Our nation needs true spending reform, and whether it comes from Washington or the states themselves, we need to act now before the weight of our nation's debt endangers our future and our children's future.

We can keep passing budgets year after year, hoping that eventually Congress will sort itself out. But I can't accept that as a solution. Since being elected to Congress it has been my top priority to raise awareness of our debt crisis, and voting for a status quo budget only reinforces the notion that it's O.K. for Washington to continue operating as it has in the past, when it's absolutely not.

Tags: Rep. Rick Crawford, Voting Against, the House Budget To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Good Bills Make Progress Late In Legislative Session

by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: The 2015 Regular session of the Arkansas General Assembly is winding down. There is still good legislation being considered. Here are three bills that have made progress in recent days.

SCHOOL CHOICE
HB1552 (Representative Doug House) would give vouchers for students with disabilities to go to a private school with an individualized education program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Representative House’s bill helps students gain access to needed programs through school choice.

The bill sailed through the House of Representatives with 90 “yes” votes. It was then approved by the Senate Education Committee on Friday, March 27 and now the bill goes to the full Senate for consideration and, hopefully, approval.

RESTORING CAPITAL GAINS TAX RELIEF
HB1402 (Representative Matthew Shepherd) would reinstate the capital gains tax exemptions. The 2015 legislative session began with the promise of tax relief for middle income taxpayers. That promise was fulfilled, but before the bill was passed, it was amended to offset some of the revenue loss by taking away capital gains tax relief. Representative Shepherd’s bill will restore the capital gains relief and make the 2015 session about true tax relief and not about shifting tax burdens to other taxpayers.

Representative Shepherd deserves special credit because it appears he went around legislative leadership in to introduce and promote this tax relief bill. We applaud him and his constitutes who understand Arkansas deserves a real economic engine by giving economic freedom a chance.

On Wednesday, March 25th, HB1404 was passed by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate. Next, the bill will be considered by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS – LOSER PAYS
SB761 (Senator Jim Hendren) addresses the problem of frivolous lawsuits. If the court that dismisses a frivolous lawsuit would require the losing party to pay costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the other party. The bill discourages frivolous lawsuits and helps small business.

On Friday, March 27 the bill was approved by the Senate and was transmitted to the House of Representative where it will be considered by the House Judiciary Committee.

Tags: Conduit for Action, Arkansas, good bills, School Choice, Restoring Capitol Gains Tax Relief, Frivolous Lawsuits- loser pays To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rep. Steve Womack Announce Town Hall Meetings

Harrison Town Hall
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
5:00-6:30PM CDT
Durand Center
303 North Main Street
Harrison, AR 72601
Springdale Town Hall
Thursday, April 2, 2015
5:30-7:00PM CDT
Jones Center Chapel
922 East Emma Avenue
Springdale, AR 72764
Questions?
Call my office!

Tags: Town Hall, Rep. Steve Womack, Arkansas, AR-2 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Hails Passage of Senate Proposed Budget

Washington — U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of a budget resolution early this morning:“The budget resolution we passed this morning reaffirms our commitment to reining in Washington’s reckless spending. It balances the federal budget in ten years, without raising taxes, while strengthening our national defense and creating economic growth and opportunity for hardworking Arkansans. It lays the groundwork for repealing and replacing Obamacare, addressing our porous borders, enacting significant tax reform—including elimination of the death tax—and restricting the egregious overreach of the EPA. It is a responsible blueprint for America’s future.”Amendment to Fill IG Vacancies
During this week’s debate on our nation’s spending priorities, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continued to also keep his colleagues focused on efforts to cut waste, fraud and abuse across Washington.

Last night, the Senate unanimously adopted a Boozman amendment to fill vacancies in offices of Inspectors General (IG).

“IG’s are taxpayers’ first line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse in Washington. The fact that several agencies have gone years without a permanent watchdog is inexcusable. My amendment paves the way for future legislation to address these vacancies, while strengthening and reforming the IG community,” Boozman said.

Boozman highlighted the agencies that currently have IG vacancies, noting that the Department of Interior IG has been without a permanent watchdog for over 2,200 days and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been without an IG for over a year.

“The IG vacancy at VA is especially troubling given the systematic failures that have plagued the Department in recent years. Congress has passed legislation to address the scandal at VA, where veterans have been mistreated and have died while waiting for care, yet the Department doesn’t have a permanent watchdog in place to make sure these reforms are carried out. This lack of accountability makes it easier to sweep misconduct under the rug, which puts veterans at risk,” Boozman said.

Boozman also pointed out that a Presidential nomination is required to fill most of the vacant IG spots. This effort should turn up the heat on the President to take action.

“The Senate sent a clear bipartisan message that these vacancies are unacceptable. We must push the President to work with Congress to install permanent watchdogs across the government to effectively carry out the mission that they have been tasked,” Boozman said.

The Boozman Amendment (#348) to the concurrent budget resolution puts the Senate on record and paves the way for future legislation to address this issue.

Editor's Comment: In addition,  Bipartisan Amendment to Support the Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus Outbreaks was approved by Senate in the early morning hours as as part of the Manager’s Amendment to the Senate-passed FY16 Budget Resolution. See prior article

The Budget process has a long way to go via reconciliation with the House and overcoming a veto of budget by President Obama.

Tags: Passage, U.S. Senate Budget, passed, Sen. John Boozman, IG Vacancies, Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus Outbreaks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

SJR7 On Arkansas' Voter ID stalled. Meanwhile Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Upheld [by US Supreme Court]

by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: In 2013, Arkansas passed Act 595 (SB2) by Senator Bryan Kind. The law protected our voting process by requiring voters to show indentification. Unfortunately, the courts stopped the new law.

Supporters of Voter ID laws across the country recently received fantastic news. The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin voter ID law, which is one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country.[i] So what does that mean? Wisconsin's Voter ID law has been upheld as a valid and constitutional law.

This session Senator King is trying again to pass voter ID with SJR7. SJR7 is a proposed constitutional amendment and would be voted upon by the people. You would think that the Wisconsin news would be a boost for Senator King's effort.

Since every Republican in the legislature voted for the law in 2013 and since the Republican majorities in the Arkansas House and Senate increased, you would think that Senator King's new Voter ID proposal would sail through the general Assembly. Not so.

Word came a few days ago that the General Assembly does not intend to send ANY proposed constitutional amendments to the people.[ii] So what happened to the Arkansas Republican commitment to requiring voter ID at the polls?

Perhaps they will reconsider based on this good news regarding Wisconsin voter ID.

[i] http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-lets-wisconsin-voter-id-law-stand/2015/03/23/9d82b8da-d162-11e4-a62f-ee745911a4ff_story.html

[ii] Legislators: Not sending amendments to '16 voters, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 03/20/2015
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Link to SJR7 - King's Voter ID bill - http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2015/2015R/Bills/SJR7.pdf

Tags: SJR7, Arkansas’ voter ID, stalled, Wisconsin, voter id law, upheld, U.S. Supreme Court To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Arkansas: Pro-Gun Bills on the Move

by NRA-ILA: Yesterday, Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed Senate Bill 612 into law. SB 612 was introduced by state Senator Jon Woods (R-7) and has been codified into law as Act 649. Act 649 removes the restriction on law-abiding, permanent U.S. residents who are not citizens from obtaining an Arkansas concealed handgun license. SB 612 passed in the House of Representatives on March 17 by a 79-1 vote after passing in the state Senate by a 26-3 vote on March 9.

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 159 passed the Arkansas State Senate by a 33-1 vote. SB 159, introduced by Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R-19), would remove the absolute prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm into a county courthouse for employees who have a concealed handgun license. Since SB 159 was amended in Senate committee, after yesterday’s Senate passage, SB 159 was referred back to the House Judiciary Committee where it will be considered in its amended form. Please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and politely urge them to SUPPORT SB 159.

The following three pro-gun bills passed favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, and are all now awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. Please contact your state Senator TODAY and urge him or her to SUPPORT the following pro-gun bills when they are brought before them for consideration.

House Bill 1240, introduced by state Representative Dwight Tosh (R-52), would strengthen the civil immunity statute to protect a person from civil damages stemming from an incident when he or she lawfully uses deadly physical force in self-defense or in defense of another person.

House Bill 1372, introduced by state Representative David Meeks (R-70), would remove the absolute prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm on school property for private K-12 schools and allow those schools to establish policies regarding the scope of who may carry a concealed firearm on school property.

House Bill 1505, introduced by state Representative Michelle Gray (R-62), would remove the absolute prohibition on having a firearm in the vehicle while in certain public parking lots for individuals with a concealed handgun license.

Tags: NRA-ILA, Arkansas, Pro gun laws To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill Supports Historic Structural Entitlement Reform to Fix Medicare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 392-37. H.R. 2 would be the first major structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades. If signed into law, the bill would replace the current Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment system that is more sustainable and would end the so-called annual “doc-fix,” which has cost the American taxpayers almost $170 billion over the last 12 years.

Following passage of H.R. 2, Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the below statement:

“By repealing and replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate, for the first time in a long time, we are fixing Medicare in a bipartisan way so that it’s finally fair to patients, physicians, and the taxpayer. I thank Leadership on both sides of the aisle for making this historic entitlement reform a reality, and I ask the Senate to swiftly move this commonsense bill so we can make Medicare sustainable for generations to come.”
What the bill does:
·         Establishes the first real, structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades—offsetting all new spending with permanent structural reforms and other Medicare spending reductions without tax increases.
·         Stops the stream of costly short-term SGR patches—Congress has spent nearly $170 billion on 17 short-term SGR patches since 2003.
·         Fights fraud, waste and abuse.
·         Extends Children’s Health Insurance Program and traditional Medicare extenders, including the therapy cap exceptions process and Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) Program, for two years to give Congress time to work to institute better reforms under a new President.

What CBO and other experts are saying about the cost:
·         According to CBO, “enacting the legislation would cost $0.9 billion less over the 2015–2025 period than freezing Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services…. Compared with the costs of freezing Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services, the budgetary effects of H.R. 2 could represent net savings or net costs in the second decade after enactment, but the center of the distribution of possible outcomes is small net savings.”

H.R. 2 is supported by leading conservative groups and over 750 physicians groups, including:
·         American Medical Association
·         American Osteopathic Association
·         American Hospital Association
·         American Health Care Association
·         American College of Surgeons
·         American Academy of Family Physicians
·         U.S. Chamber of Commerce
·         Americans for Tax Reform
·         American Action Forum

·         National Taxpayers Union

Tags: Rep., French Hill, Arkansas, AE-2, supports, entitlement reform, fix, medicare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Mike Preston as the New Executive Director of AEDC

Mike Preston
Little Rock - Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced Mike Preston, 32, of Florida as his new Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Mike Preston:
“Mike Preston is a perfect fit to lead the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. As vice president for government affairs at Enterprise Florida, Michael has years of statewide economic development and business expertise and experience working with a state Legislature and governor. He’s a proven leader with an impressive track record of bringing in capital investment from major companies. Having worked in a highly competitive atmosphere, Michael understands what it takes to position a state to be a leader in job creation. I cannot wait to see what his experience, expertise and vision can do for Arkansas.”Mike Preston issued the following statement:“I look forward to using my economic-development experience and management skills to implement Governor Hutchinson’s plan to make Arkansas more competitive and create more jobs. I’ve been fortunate to work with a great team in Florida, and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Sunshine State. But I’m eager to put my experience, background and vision to work for Arkansas, which has so much to offer and so much potential. I’m honored to be given this incredible opportunity and excited to get started.”A Florida native, Mike Preston has an extensive career in politics and economic development. He comes to Arkansas from Enterprise Florida, where he has served as director of government relations for the last six and a half years. During that time, he was part of a team that helped create more than 147,000 jobs generating more than $10 billion in capital investment. He was instrumental in some key projects, including: relocating the Hertz corporate headquarters and bringing 700 jobs and $68,750,000 in capital investment; establishing a Northrop Grumman manufacturing Center of Excellence with 1,800 jobs and $500,000,000 in capital investment; and attracting Navy Federal Credit Union to expand in the state bringing 5,000 jobs and $350,000,000 in capital investment. Before joining Enterprise Florida, he was the chief of staff to a Florida state senator and a legislative assistant to a state representative. Preston is a 2005 graduate of the University of Florida.

Danny Games has done a tremendous job in his role as Deputy Director of AEDC over the last few months, and he remains an important part of what the state is doing to create jobs. Games will continue in his current capacity.​

Tags: AEDC, Executive Director, Mike Preston, Governor, Asa Hutchison To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sens. Carper, Boozman, Coons and Cotton File Amendment to Support the Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus Outbreaks

Update March 27, 2015: Bipartisan Amendment to Support the Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus Outbreaks Approved by Senate in the early morning hours as as part of the Manager’s Amendment to the Senate-passed FY16 Budget Resolution. The Budget process has a long way to go via reconciliation with the House and overcoming a veto of budget by President Obama.
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WASHINGTON – Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Boozman (R–Ark.), Chris Coons (D–Del.) and Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) have filed an amendment (#822) to the Senate Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res. 11) to improve prevention and treatment measures that would mitigate the impact of virus outbreaks, such as the avian flu, on agriculture and the economy.

These outbreaks can affect our country’s food supply chain and the millions of people who work in the American agriculture industry. The bipartisan amendment filed Wednesday evening would support vaccine development or research on migratory patterns, including surveillance of infected migratory birds and modeling to predict the path of the virus.

“Agriculture is a vital industry in Delaware that supports thousands of jobs in our state and feeds millions in this country and around the world,” Sen. Carper said. “Viruses, like the avian flu, can pose a huge threat to the agricultural sector and specifically the poultry industry in the First State. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this amendment would help ensure we’re doing everything we can to prevent an outbreak, which could have economic consequences.”

“Poultry is vital to Arkansas’s agriculture industry and a major contributor to our state’s economy,” Sen. Boozman said. “Arkansas is the second largest producer of broiler chickens in the country. This deficit neutral amendment aims to ensure the health of Arkansas’s poultry industry by focusing on disease prevention, vaccine development and research.”< “Even a single case of avian flu can have a devastating impact on America's poultry industry and local chicken growers," Sen. Coons said. “As the first cases of avian flu were found in the northwestern United States in December, and since moved to the Midwest and central U.S., nearly a dozen countries, including China, one of our biggest export markets,  have banned the import of all American poultry from anywhere in the nation. Ensuring that future outbreaks can't have similar impacts on our economy should be an important priority for the federal government.”

“The poultry industry is vital to Arkansas, and any unchecked viral outbreak would cripple our state economy,” Sen. Cotton said. “In light of the recent H2N2 outbreak in Boone county, it’s prudent to ensure the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission have the resources they need to stop both this disease and any others that may occur.”

Tags: Senators, Carper, Boozman, Coons, Cotton, File Amendment, Support the Treatment and Prevention, Agriculture Virus Outbreaks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Calls on Senate Democrats to Drop Filibuster of Human Trafficking Bill

by Sen John Boozman: The "Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act" can save lives. It can restore dignity to the victims of these heinous crimes. It can help end modern day slavery. Yet, Senate Democrats continue to block consideration of the bill over standard language they have admitted was in the bill all along. I took to the Senate floor to urge my colleagues to drop their manufactured outrage and stand with the victims by passing this bill.

Tags: John Boozman, U.S. Senator, Arkansas, callas on dems, stop filibuster, Human Trafficking Bill To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hill: House’s Balanced Budget ‘Addresses Our Long-Term Challenges in Order to Strengthen America’

Washington, D.C. - Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement today after the House passed H. Con. Res. 27, to establish a budget for the U.S. Government for fiscal year 2016, by a vote of 228-199:“Last month, President Obama released a tone-deaf budget that increases taxes and spending without balancing the budget and allows Social Security and Medicare to go bankrupt.

“The House budget replaces the President’s proposal with one that balances, eliminates wasteful government spending, repeals Obamacare, preserves Social Security and Medicare for current beneficiaries and future generations, and commits to providing a strong national defense for America.

“It would also restore the principle of federalism—the foundation of our Constitution — by empowering states, local communities, and the real drivers of opportunity and prosperity: the American people. I am proud to have voted for a budget that addresses our long-term challenges in order to strengthen America for future generations.”
Related: A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America

Tags: House Balanced Budget, long term challenges, strengthen, America, Rep. AR-2, French Hill, Arkansas,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

VA Land Transfer Paves Way for North Little Rock State Veterans Home

WASHINGTON –Arkansas’s U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with Second District Congressman French Hill applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) land transfer of 30 acres in North Little Rock to the State of Arkansas for the construction of a veterans home.

“What better way to honor our veterans for their service to our country than with a place to call home. This is a fitting tribute to the sacrifice and commitment of our veterans that will provide them with the care and resources they earned. I’m pleased VA was able to approve this land transfer so we can get to work on constructing a great facility for our veterans,” Boozman said.

“I am pleased this land transfer was approved and our veterans will now have a new, state-of-the-art home for our veterans,” Cotton said. “I will continue to fight for Arkansas’s veterans and ensure they receive the care and attention they deserve."

“I am proud to have worked with our local officials to support this essential land transfer. A new nursing home for our aging veterans in Central Arkansas is much needed and long overdue, and I remain committed to ensuring our veterans are provided with care that is unique to their specific needs,” Hill said.

This land transfer was required by March 29, 2015 in order to qualify for the $18 million grant approved by VA last year for the construction of the North Little Rock State Veterans Home. Earlier this month, the members wrote a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald urging him to approve the land transfer or grant an extension to allow the state to maintain the grant for the project until the transfer could be completed. You can read the letter here.

Tags: Government, Arkansas, VA Land Transfer, paves way, North Little Rock, State, Veterans Home To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas: “Shall Sign” Legislation Sent to Governor

by IRA-ILA: Yesterday, March 23rd, pro-gun House Bill 1488 passed unanimously in the Arkansas Senate after passing unanimously in the state House of Representatives on March 12. HB 1488 has been transmitted to Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) for his expected signature.

HB 1488, introduced by state Representative Tim Lemons (R-43), is “shall sign” legislation and would require the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm, as required by the National Firearms Act, within 15 days if the person is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm by law. HB 1488 also establishes that an applicant may appeal a denial to the circuit court.

Under current law, a CLEO may refuse to sign off for any reason, including their own personal feelings toward NFA-related items, which has created issues for law-abiding citizens. By removing any possibility of personal bias, which may reside behind many CLEO's refusing to sign off, and creating a statewide standard, HB 1488 seeks to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners across Arkansas.

NRA thanks you for your active involvement in contacting your legislators in support of this important bill.

Tags: Arkansas, Shall Sign, legislation, passed, sent to Governor, NRA-ILA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sen. Boozman & AG Rutledge: EPA Proposal Negatively Impacts Arkansas

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to hear testimony from stakeholders across the country, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge about the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreaching “Waters of the Unites States” (WOTUS) proposed rule.
Click for video of Sen. Boozman’s introduction and Attorney General Rutledge’s testimony

“Arkansas, farmers, ranchers and agriculture producers are under attack by the overreach of the EPA and its proposed WOTUS rule that negatively impacts rural America. I have serious concerns about the agency’s power grab because it will make life harder for Arkansas families, circumvents Congress and is beyond the intent of the Clean Water Act. I appreciate Attorney General Rutledge’s testimony and look forward to working with her, my colleagues in the Senate and concerned Arkansans to prevent this rule’s implementation,” Boozman said.

“The proposed WOTUS rule from the EPA expands the Clean Water Act beyond the intent of Congress and adds greater confusion and uncertainty for Arkansas’s farmers and ranchers. If allowed to move forward, this rule could drive future generations out of agriculture, and ultimately impact the food supply of all Americans. I appreciate Senator Boozman and the leadership of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation on this issue, and I look forward to continuing to work them to halt this rule’s implementation. As the chief legal officer, I am prepared to pursue all legal challenges necessary to prevent this unlawful rule from impacting our State,” Rutledge said.

In March of 2014 the EPA published the WOTUS rule that would give the administration much greater power to oversee the land use decisions of homeowners, small businesses and family farms throughout the country. The Clean Water Act, passed by Congress nearly 40 years ago, provides for water quality protection through partnerships between the federal government and the states, but it does not provide unlimited power to the federal government.

Tags: Senator John Boozman, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, EPA Proposal, Negatively Impacts Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas SB828 Hands Over The Keys To Obamacare

by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: In my previous post on SB828, I criticized the bill for among other things – being vague on what, if any, approval is required before the bill allows the Governor to submit a federal waiver to embrace even more of Obamacare. The bill includes this sentence concerning waivers submitted by the Governor, Any waiver submitted under this section shall have legislative approval under this section.

I stand by my statement that the phrase “shall have legislative approval under this section” is vague and subject to multiple interpretations. It might be read as requiring: (1) approval by the General Assembly; (2) approval by a legislative committee or task force; or (3) the oddly worded sentence might even be interpreted as actually being the approval by the General Assembly for the Governor to submit any wavier he deems appropriate.  The last interpretation mentioned is one proposed by another attorney (using the term “self-proving”), and I have to agree that it could be read that way.

One legislator deemed my concern over the bill’s vagueness as “silliness”.

After spending nearly thirty-two (32) years writing and reviewing legislation for the legislature, and teaching other bill writing attorneys to spot drafting problems, the issue of vagueness in this bill is not silly to me and should not be silly for anyone else who wants to know what the bill means.

Although the bill can be read in several ways, it is very unlikely that the bill was intended to require approval by a vote of the General Assembly, and therefore, it is my opinion that the bill hands over the General Assembly’s keys to Obamacare to other..

IF SB828 intended for the waivers to be voted on by the full General Assembly, there would be ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THE BILL.

The Governor can already ask the General Assembly to pass a bill to approve a plan for a specific waiver plan.  They do not need legislation to get that permission.  That is the kind of thing they do every session.  That is what former Governor Mike Beebe did when he gave draft legislation to legislators in 2013 for the waiver plan called the “Private Option.”

The Private Option legislation authorized an 1115 waiver under 42 U.S.C. § 1315.  Guess what—SB828 authorizes the same waiver.  The difference is that in 2013 the full General Assembly voted on the plan, but SB828 shifts the approval away from the full General Assembly (otherwise, what is its point?)

Obamacare is a significant issue with a great impact on the state and its revenues. The question of continuation of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and other waiver issues should be decided by the full General Assembly–not by a committee or task force and not by merely the Executive Branch. I want my Senator and Representative to have a voice in the decision.

Conduit for Action opposes moving the decision making over new waivers from a vote of the General Assembly to a vote of a legislative committee or task force or handing the authority over to the Executive Branch to submit any waiver it wishes.
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There are additional problems with SB828.  The CFA article referenced in this post can be read though this link: SB828 amended to change a bad bill into….. a bad bill. These articles also address problems with the bill:  SB828 Blueprint the radio interview – SB828 Exposed As Driving Arkansas Deeper Into ObamacareSB828 Supporters Tout Federal § 1332 Waivers, But Is That a Good Thing?

Tags: Arkansas, SB828, Obamacare Exchange, Private Option, News, Commentary,Conduit for Action To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

This Bill Makes Sure Your Tax Dollars Don't Go to Abortion Providers!

by Jerry Cox, Family Council: As you may know, the Arkansas Constitution prevents the State of Arkansas from paying for abortions with state funds. However, abortion-providers have used loopholes in state and federal law to receive public funds and federal grants. Many--including Family Council--believe that any time the state gives public funds to an abortion-provider, the state is indirectly subsidizing abortion.

S.B. 569 by Senator Stubblefield and Rep. Lundstrum prevents the state from awarding any grants to abortion-providers. This will help prevent the indirect funding of abortion with your tax dollars and mine.

The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate, and it is scheduled to go before the House Committee on Aging, Children, and Youth very soon.

Please contact your state representative, and ask him or her to vote for S.B. 569, the bill to de-fund abortion providers in Arkansas.

Tags: abortion, arkansas, Family Council, Jerry Cox, dollars, SB569, senate To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Griffin Applauds Enactment of SB 426

‘Past time for this order to be made law,’ ‘permanently levels the playing field for union and non-union contractors’
LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 426 (SB 426) into law:“By creating open and fair competition among government contractors, Arkansas taxpayer dollars will be spent more efficiently. SB 426, by Sen. Jon Woods (R-Springdale), permanently levels the playing field for union and non-union contractors who would like to do business with the State. This is not a new concept. It has been the policy of Arkansas through executive order for almost 10 years, and it is past time for this order to be made law.”
Tags: Lt. Gov., Tim Griffin, applauds, Sen. Bill 426, singed by Governor, levels playing field, contractors,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Rep. Hill Appointed to FSC Terrorism Task Force

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement today after being named to the House Committee on Financial Services Terrorism Financing Task Force:
"With the growing threat of ISIL and other terror networks, we need to do everything in our power to cripple the efforts of those seeking to harm America. Along with military and diplomatic strategies, it is essential we shut down the economic backing of ISIL and other terrorist organizations around the world. For too long, the financiers and sympathizers of terrorist groups have hidden deep in the fabric of global business, financial, and nonprofit networks. This task force will identify the ways and means to infiltrate and eliminate these dangerous groups as we continue our war against terrorism. I am pleased to serve with my colleagues in this bipartisan undertaking, and I thank the Chairman and Ranking Member for recognizing the critical financial challenges of the global war on terrorism.”

Tags: Rep. French Hill, Arkansas, appointed, FSC Terrorism Task Force, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

WIRED Magazine: Arkansas is Leading the Learn to Code Movement

“…beating better known tech centers like California and New York to the punch.”
LITTLE ROCK Last month, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed his campaign promise to provide computer coding classes in every Arkansas high school into law (Act 187). Since that time, Arkansas has gained national attention for what many are calling an unprecedented endeavor.

Most recently, nationally acclaimed WIRED Magazine featured the state in its online publication touting Arkansas as the leader in the “learn to code movement”:
Arkansas may be one of the last states that comes to mind when you think of major hubs of tech talent. And yet, last month, it became the first to pass a truly comprehensive law requiring all public and charter high schools to offer computer science courses to students, beating better known tech centers like California and New York to the punch.As Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org, points out in the article, states other than Arkansas “have taken half-steps toward similar legislation” but that many have “gone unenforced and unfunded”. Reporter Issie Lapowsky continues:All of which makes what Arkansas just did particularly noteworthy. The state didn't just pass a law. It also set aside $5 million to get this new program off the ground in Arkansas schools this fall. That money will not only fund teacher training, but it will also be used to reward schools that have high performance and enrollment rates in the new courses, which are not mandatory for students. “It’s a way to put a larger investment into it and make the whole program stronger and more long lasting,” Hutchinson says. “It’s a small investment with the opportunity for a huge return.” View the article in its entirety.

Tags: Governor Asa Hutchinson, campaign promise, signed into law, provide computer coding classes, every Arkansas high school To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

SB828 sponsor, Sen. David Sanders Gets $76,000 From Medical Industry

In A Campaign with No Opponent In The Primary or General

Sen. David Sander (R-Dist 15)
by Debbie Pelley, Women's Prayer and Action Group: Senator David Sanders was one of the main architects of the Obamacare Private Option and one of its strongest advocates.  He is now the sponsor of SB828, hailed by many as the worst bill of the session, which basically drives Arkansas deeper into Obamacare, hands everything over to bureaucracy, and cuts out the legislature's involvement in future health care decisions. Everyone is shocked and asking why a Republican would file such a bill?

Under the Private Option, the working poor and middle class are already picking up the tabs through taxes even for those uninsured adults with no children to have all kinds of surgeries, knee replacements, preventive care, pregnancies, etc. while the hard-working taxpayers themselves can't even take their own children to the doctor because they can't pay the high deductibles - the perfect Obama redistribution-of-wealth plan. So how could a Republican want more Obamacare in Arkansas?

It would be hard NOT to believe that Sanders was influenced to file SB828 by the amount of money he raised from medical related contributions.  In Sanders' 2012 election he received $22,305 (15%) of his money from medical related contributions. In 2014, after being one of the main architects of the Private Option and one of its most vocal defenders, Sanders' medical related contributions totaled $76,355.00, slightly more than 50% of his total campaign contributions of $151,255.00Sanders had no opponent in the primary or the general election in this 2014 campaign.

Further, Sanders raised 91% of his money in this election from out of his district, and 20% of his total contributions came from out of state ($30,050.00).  So who is Sanders representing, the medical industry or the citizens in his district and in Arkansas?

Anyone following Medicaid Expansion at all knows the hospitals and medical industries love the Arkansas Private Option and have lobbied hard for it and other Obama healthcare. Everyone should also know that the medical industry has a great deal to profit from the Private Option.  With more than 200,000 enrollees under the PO who now have insurance to pay for more extensive coverage than most wealthy people did before Obamacare, the medical industry will be the recipients of oodles of  government money - taxpayer money.

Is it any wonder that a tsunami of money from the medical industry has now hit the Arkansas House and Senate since 2010?  It's not a comforting thought that the medical industry cares more about their economy than people's health, but most realize that is a fact of life. (Of course there are some health care workers that care more about people than the money).

But most of us are not yet willing to accept as a fact of life that our Republican legislators follow the same principle of looking at their pocketbooks rather than the interest of the people who sent them to Little Rock.  That is why we keep hearing the question over and over, and especially in regard to SB828,  "Why would the Republican governor and legislators who were elected to vote for smaller government, less bureaucracy and centralization of power, and lower taxes keep filing all these bills that sound more like the Democrats are still in charge?"

When some of us look at the overall contributions to some of these legislators, it seems pretty obvious why they file such bills - their loyalty is to the medical industry rather than the citizens of Arkansas.  A few powerful Republican leaders and Democrats are banding together and thwarting the strong conservative mandate of the people and making many people think the whole Republican party has gone amuck.  When hard working parents can't even afford to take their children to the doctor because of the high deductibles, they're not going to appreciate anything else the Republicans do if they don't fight for them by working against Obamacare.

"The Kaiser Family foundation analysis released Wednesday finds that most families don’t have enough assets to cover a mid- to higher-range deductible in a private health insurance plan...deductibles are up nearly 50 percent since 2009... In 2015 plans offered through Healthcare.gov, the average combined medical and drug deductible for single coverage in a silver plan was $2,556."

Sanders raised so much money in his unopposed race in  2014 that he sent money back to many of his contributors and was able to give $10,000 on 12/28/14 to his employer (Arkansas Baptist School)  the 501-C3 nonprofit for whom he works as Director of Institutional Advancement (fund raiser),  $5,000 on 11/3/14 to a PAC for which he is President (Building a Better Arkansas Pac) and $10,000 on 12/30/14 to another 501-C3 in Washington, D. C. as well as other donations. Raising that much money is the best safeguard a candidate can have to deter an opponent in the next election because overcoming those odds is a daunting task. Sanders raised $95,890 from July 1 to September 30, 2013 in the Primary.   . 

If any legislator thinks it is easy or enjoyable for those of us who confront the Republican legislators to do so, just think about how you feel when you think about confronting your Republican governor or House and Senate leader.  We know we are subject to the same criticism, hostility, and marginalizing as you would be in that situation.  We only do what we think we must for our families, country, and freedom.  We greatly appreciate those legislators who stand with us!

Link to Kaiser study on high deductibles: ttp://www.benefitspro.com/2015/03/11/higher-deductibles-out-of-reach-for-many "Higher Deductibles Out of Reach For Many"

Link to Financial Disclosure statements search: http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/filing_search/index.php/filing/search/new   Search for David J. Sanders without putting in anything else and all reports will come up.

a. Go to 12/31/14 Final Campaign Contribution & Expenditure Report for the $5,000 donations to Sanders' own Pac and his $10,000 donation to his employer. Arrow down about 3/4 of the way into the document and look for page 1.

His employer is Arkansas Baptist School and his PAC is Building a Better Arkansas.

b. Go to 10/15/2013 Primary for the report where Sanders raises $95,890 from July 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013 in the Primary. Arrow all the way to the bottom for the contributions because he uses an attachment.

c. You can also find where Sanders and his wife work at the above link.
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Link to PAC's  in Arkansas (244 of them) with officers names - http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/Documents/2015%20Political%20Action%20Committees.pdf or http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/Pages/pacReports.aspx.  Look for the name of the PAC above to find that Sanders is the President. ---------------
Women's Prayer and Action Group: is a non-partisan group and is concerned with issues rather than political parties. This Women's group will hold the candidates' feet to the fire (regardless of the party they represent) who prove to be irresponsible in doing what is right for our society and children.

Tags: SB828, Arkansas, sponsor, State Senator, David Sanders, $76,000, Medical Industry, no opponent, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Valley in the Delta?

by Rep. Rick Crawford: Anyone who lives in the Arkansas Delta knows that we have seen families move away, restaurants close, schools merge, and once thriving downtowns closed up. But where some see only decay, others see opportunity. As fallen leaves and burned fields provide nutrients for the next cycle of growth, so Arkansas' rich agricultural history and collective knowledge create an environment ripe for change. Organizations like the Thrive Center in Helena-West Helena seek to encourage just such an environment, "in an effort to increase economic mobility and decrease rural brain drain."

The world is running out of food. Unless we continue to improve our production methods, some say that the world will be facing serious food shortages in the next 40, 30, or even 20 years. Expanding population, possibly increasing to 9 billion by 2050, demands an urgent solution to our food problem. I believe Arkansas' First District will be a crucial component to that solution.

The union of agriculture and technology is nothing new. From a plow to a tractor, a scythe to a combine, scattering seed by hand to hopper fed planters, technology has radically changed producers' farming methods and their maximum yields. With the advent of the Internet and satellite technology, precision leveling and GPS guided tractors are the norm, and drone technology for agriculture is close on the horizon. What if our First District, already using the most advanced farming techniques in the world, could take the lead in agriculture innovation, rebuilding our towns and feeding the world in the process?

The idea isn't outlandish. Agriculture technology includes so many disciplines, from macro data analysis, robotics, software, and biotech, to the finance and venture capital that make these new technologies realizable.

When I started the farm news network AgWatch, I saw a void in agriculture related media and had an idea. After a few short years, the news service was broadcast on 39 radio stations in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

These days, all it takes for new entrepreneurs to emerge and fundamentally change the landscape of our industries is an idea and an Internet connection. Arkansans already know farming better than just about anyone else, and with modern technology, the people of Arkansas are in a prime position to innovate. Education is changing fast. A four-year college degree is no longer a prerequisite for success in our modern world, where hands-on skill and know-how trump accredited degrees. And thanks to recent state leadership by Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas became the first state that will require all public and charter high schools to teach coding and computer science. Soon, generations of Arkansans will be graduating with the hands-on skills required to succeed in our modern, highly tech-oriented economy.

The combination of fertile ground, computer science education, and an agricultural tradition could put Arkansas in a unique position to take the lead on technology-based solutions for agriculture. But innovation wouldn't stop at just agriculture. The problem solving skill-set used to tackle feeding the world's swelling population could be used to address all sorts of challenges rural communities face.

Now, if we could just find a way to get rid of those mosquitoes...

Tags: U.S. Representative, Rick Crawford, AR-1, Valley in the Delta, newsletter  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Arkansas: Right to Carry Reform Bill Heads to Governor, Additional Pro-Gun Bills Advance in General Assembly

by NRA-ILA: On Tuesday, Senate Bill 612 passed out of the Arkansas House of Representatives by a 79-1 vote after passing in the state Senate by a 26-3 vote on March 9. This legislation has been transmitted to Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) for his expected signature. SB 612, introduced by state Senator Jon Woods (R-7), seeks to remove the restriction on law-abiding, permanent U.S. residents who are not citizens from obtaining an Arkansas concealed handgun license.

On Wednesday, two pro-gun bills passed favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Bill 159 and House Bill 1488 are now awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. Please contact your state Senator TODAY and urge him or her to SUPPORT the below pro-gun bills when they are brought before them for consideration.

Senate Bill 159, introduced by Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R-19), was amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee and now removes the absolute prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm into a county courthouse for employees who have a concealed handgun license.

House Bill 1488, introduced by state Representative Tim Lemons (R-43), is “shall sign” legislation and would require the chief law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm, as required by the National Firearms Act, within 15 days if the person is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm by law. HB 1488 also establishes that an applicant may appeal a denial to the circuit court.

Tags: Arkansas, Right to Carry, Senate Bill 612, gun bills, Senate Bill 159, House Bill 1488 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.