Friday, May 27, 2016

How a 1997 Power Grab Is Costing Arkansas Taxpayers Millions On Pet Projects

by Conduit for Action: The 1997 session of the Arkansas legislature has been called “Grab Fest.” The media primarily remembers Grab Fest for legislation passed to financially benefit some legislators enrich themselves from a $3 million program to provide lawyers for children involved in custody disputes. A number of Arkansas legislators were indicted or investigated and some went to prison.

But Grab Fest was bigger than just that scheme. Grab Fest describes the whole 1997 session in which Democrat legislative leaders sought to gain budget control against a Republican Governor who had not been elected to that position by the people.

On July 15, 1996, Lieutenant Governor Mike Huckabee became Governor after Governor Jim Guy Tucker resigned due to a criminal conviction. Huckabee faced a state legislature that was overwhelmingly Democrat and many of his agency heads were still holdovers from the Tucker administration.

Legislative leaders knew the budget better than Huckabee and knew many agency heads better than Huckabee. Legislators seized the opportunity to take control of the state budget. Taxpayers are still paying dearly for Grab Fest because of the grab of power over the General Improvement Fund (GIF) which was primarily used for one time expenditures for state agencies.


eeneral Improvement Fund changes for the worst

GIF is commonly referred to as “surplus funds.”  Spending surplus funds on special projects sounds better to the folks back home but it is not really a surplus. It is merely state revenue skimmed from the top and distributed in a different way from the rest of the state budget.  GIF was for one-time state expenditures that Governors and legislators did not want to add the into the agency’s regular general revenue budget, because the extra funds would inflate the agency’s budget for the future.

Another reason politicians like GIF funding is: it allows the general revenue budget to look smaller. Then and now public officials brag how they have worked to hold the line on the general revenue budget, while hundreds of millions more of taxpayer dollars are spent through GIF.

Before 1997 all the projects in GIF, whether requested by the Governor or by a legislator were lumped together in one list and both the Governor and the legislature had to cooperate on GIF spending priorities.

In Act 1356 of 1997 the legislature took control of part of the GIF money by creating a “Legislative Division” of GIF and an “Executive Discretionary Division” of GIF. In 1997 the Legislative Division was primarily about which projects would get funding priority and giving legislators (and not the Governor) credit for many GIF projects.

The creation of a Legislative Division and Executive Division changed the dynamics of GIF.  It quickly created an attitude of entitlement – this is my money. In future sessions, the funding for the Legislative Division was divided between the House of Representatives and Senate and each legislator was given a share. The “share” was unofficial but legislators kept track of how much was being obligated.

The attitude of “it’s my money” gave rise to many legislators directing their shares on purely local projects.  Even non-governmental entities began to receive “grants.” (For example, Boys Clubs etc.). The local projects were popular back home and became a reelection tool. (“Look what he has done for us now. He fought them city slickers and brought home the bacon.”)

Arkansas politicians also created a third division – Shared Mandatory Obligations Division. Just creating a shared division further emphasized that the other two categories are discretionary funds available for legislators and for the Governor.

A setback and the creation of an even worse plan

..... [Read Complete Article]

Isn’t it swell when a power grab from almost twenty years ago works to the benefit of legislators and governors so they can spend more taxpayer money on pet projects?

No? Then you must not be a politician.

Tags: Arkansas,, GIF Money, power Grab, costing, Arkansas Taxpayers, millions, pet projects, Conduit for Action,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Senate Approves Bill Naming Perryville Post Office in Honor of Arkansas Hero

Sergeant Harold George Bennett
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed legislation Thursday designating a Perryville, Arkansas Post Office as the “Harold George Bennett Post Office.”

Sergeant George Bennett, a native of Thornburg, Arkansas served as a Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) advisor during the war operating out of South Vietnam. On December 29, 1964, during a firefight with Viet Cong guerillas, Sgt. Bennett was taken prisoner.

Sgt. Bennett was the first American POW killed in Vietnam. He spent 179 days as a POW and after his third attempted escape, he was executed by his captors on June 25, 1965.

U.S. Senator John Boozman and Congressman French Hill led efforts to honor Sgt. Bennett.

“Sergeant Bennett’s story of courage, patriotism and sacrifice should be preserved for future generations. This recognition is important to the community he called home and a tribute to our nation’s appreciation for his selfless service,” Boozman said.

“I can think of no better time to honor the life of one of Arkansas’s great war heroes than Memorial Day Weekend. I want to thank Senator Boozman for moving this bill swiftly through the Senate, and I look forward to the President signing it into law so that Sergeant Harold George Bennett can receive the lasting tribute he deserves for his brave service to our great Nation,” Hill said.

The House of Representatives passed this legislation in April. It will head to the President’s desk to be signed into law

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments to the Arkansas Racing Commission

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today designated Commissioners Alex Lieblong and Mark Lamberth to take on leadership roles within the Arkansas Racing Commission, which regulates thoroughbred and greyhound racing in the State of Arkansas. Governor Hutchinson also announced the appointments of Steve Landers and Kent “Bo” Hunter to the commission.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:


“I am pleased to announce Alex Lieblong as Chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission and Mark Lamberth as Vice Chairman. These two individuals have done an extraordinary job serving on this commission and I look forward to their continued service within their new leadership roles. I also want to welcome Steve and Bo to the commission. Their passion for this industry in Arkansas goes without saying, and I am confident they will be tremendous assets to the Arkansas Racing Commission.”

Alex Lieblong, Conway, currently serves on the Arkansas Racing Commission. Governor Asa Hutchinson has elevated his status to Chairman. Mr. Lieblong was appointed to the Arkansas Racing Commission in 2004 by former Governor Mike Huckabee. He replaced Bill Roussell. Mr. Lieblong’s term expires on January 14, 2019. Mr. Lieblong is the President of Lieblong and Associates, Inc. in Little Rock.
Mark Lamberth, Batesville, currently serves on the Arkansas Racing Commission. Governor Asa Hutchinson has elevated his status to Vice Chairman. Mr. Lamberth was appointed in 2011 by former Governor Mike Beebe. He replaced Jerry Jackson. Mr. Lamberth’s term expires on January 14, 2021. Mr. Lamberth is the owner and partner of Atlas Asphalt, Inc. and White River Materials, Inc. in Batesville.
Steve Landers, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Racing Commission. He will be replacing Cecil Alexander. Mr. Landers’ term expires on January 14, 2018. Mr. Landers is the President of Landers Toyota in Little Rock and Hot Springs.
Kent “Bo” Hunter, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas Racing Commission. He will be replacing Jimmy Didier. Mr. Hunter’s term expires on January 14, 2020. Mr. Hunter is a financial advisor for Edward Jones in Fort Smith.

Tags: Governor Mike Huckabee, appointments, Arkansas Racing Commission To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Named ‘Hero of Main Street’ by National Retail Federation

Brad Fausett, CEO of ArkUAV, presented
 the National Retail Federation’s
‘Hero of Main Street’ award
 to U.S. Senator John Boozman
WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation recognized U.S. Senator John Boozman as a 2016 recipient of its ‘Hero of Main Street’ award for his support of legislation critical to the retail industry.

“I am honored to be recognized as a ‘Hero of Main Street.’ The retail industry is important to Arkansas’s economy. I am committed to promoting pro-growth and pro-business policies that help this industry thrive,” Boozman said.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four American jobs.

The ‘Hero of Main Street’ award recognizes members of Congress for supporting priorities important to the retail industry. The “heroes” have supported policies and initiatives defined by the federation that recognize the contributions of the retail industry, and have worked to encourage a “vibrant, sustained and healthy” retail sector.

“Senator Boozman has shown through his support that he cares about retailers big and small, and values the role these businesses play in communities across the country,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Senator Boozman is an advocate for his thriving Main Street and to the long-term growth the retail industry -- our nation’s largest job creators and the catalyst for continued growth and opportunity for our nation’s economy.”

Boozman was honored for his support of a wide range of issues including international trade, infrastructure investment, tax reform and labor issues.

Tags: John Boozman, Hero of Main Street, National Retail Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Boozman Pushes for Stronger Inspection Standards for Imported Catfish

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is fighting to keep harmful contaminants out of the food supply by supporting food safety inspections by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on foreign and domestic catfish.

“Catfish farming is an important industry to Arkansas. Arkansas producers are proud to supply a safe product for American consumers. The bottom line is that our farmers aren't afraid of competition. They just want the security to know that the domestic industry and imports are safe,” Boozman said on the Senate floor in support of the USDA Catfish Inspection Program.

Due to public health concerns, Congress included provisions in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills that transfer catfish inspection authority to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects less than two percent of imported catfish and relies solely on point-of-entry inspection. USDA works with the importing country to ensure that its regulatory system is equivalent to that of the U.S. and that products entering our country are safe and healthy.

“With only a few weeks of inspection under it’s belt, the USDA has already denied entry of two shipments of imported catfish because they found Crystal Violet in one shipment and Malachite Green in another, both are dangerous carcinogens. Earlier today, the American Cancer Society said that they support keeping farm raised fish inspection at USDA,” Boozman said in his speech.

Boozman said the threats to unravel the strict inspection standards would set a bad precedent and disrupt trade.

The Senate is debating to overturn the rule that allows USDA to inspect imported catfish.

Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, catfish stronger inspection standards, imported catfish To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill Statement on Visit to Southwest Border

WASHINGTON – After returning from a two-day assessment of the U.S.-Mexico Border in San Diego, CA, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement:

“This was my third visit to the southwest border in the past year, and it was the most eye-opening of the three by far. I appreciate the difficult job that local law enforcement and our customs and border patrol officers have, but from my visits and discussions it is obvious that there are serious deficiencies in our ability to control the flow of people and narcotics coming into our country. I have spoken with countless Arkansans who have made it clear that securing our homeland is one of—if not the greatest—issue facing this Nation. Seeing firsthand the obstacles in securing our border and hearing from those on the frontlines are invaluable to me in my role as a Member of Congress working to design solutions to this continuing crisis.

“As I have said since my visit to El Paso, TX, last spring, a wall is a useful tool in regaining control of what is occurring in populated areas on our border, but we need a more comprehensive approach that utilizes all technologies and manpower at our disposal to provide us with the maximum amount of security along the length of the diverse topography and demography of the entire border.”

Tags: U,S Rep. French Hill, visits, Southwest border To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Boozman Recognizes WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War Veteran Lt. Col. Kenneth Lucas


Salute to Veterans- WWII, Korean War and
 Vietnam War Veteran Kenneth Lucas
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman released his latest interview in his ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the service and sacrifice of Arkansas veterans. This spotlight highlights the military service of Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Kenneth Lucas who served in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Lucas was born in Scranton, Arkansas on July 17, 1925. He grew up with four younger sisters.

After graduating from high school, Lucas attended Arkansas Tech in Russellville for the spring semester in 1941 before heading to Chicago to work in a steel mill for the summer. Instead of reenrolling for the fall semester, on September 15, 1941 Lucas volunteered his service to the U.S. Army.

He had three months of basic training in the medical field at Camp Barkeley, Texas and learned from an instructor he admired from the silver screen, Lew Ayres, an actor who starred in the movie “All Quite on the Western Front.”

“They assigned him to the medical core. It wasted his talent, because he was teaching us – out of all things – how to make a bed,” Lucas recalls.

After basic training, Lucas was sent to William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, Texas, for veterinary school. Upon completion, he was assigned to a veterinary hospital where he took critical care of horses from the first cavalry division Army Medical Veterinary Corps.

After WWII, Lucas received his degree from Arkansas State Teacher’s College, now the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and taught vocational agriculture veteran farming at Lonoke High School.

On March 13, 1951, Lucas was called back in to active duty for service in the Korean War. One of his assignments during the was was to provide medical care to the prisoners of war (POWs).

“We had a lot of responsibility and cared for the prisoners. There happened to be another American hospital there but their commission was to care for the soldiers. So if we got sick in the prison we had to go to another place to get treatment. While I was there I had an emergency appendectomy,” Luscas said.

He continued military service during the Vietnam War. As a Medic, Lucas witnessed battlefield casualties and faced great struggles finding a job at the end of his tour.

“I worked a while as a carpenter. At this time, the general population of the United States could not accept the Vietnam conflict. There were demonstrations, and by being a military person, I was almost a banned individual. And I encountered the difficulty of trying to get jobs in my profession. I went to a place in Little Rock that had an opening, and I went through the interview and he said ‘Well, I know you are qualified and I know you would do a good job, but I just don’t have anything to do with the military,’” Lucas says.

“LTC Kenneth Lucas’ long and distinguished career in the military is admirable. I am grateful for his years of service and leadership to our country. I am proud of this opportunity to share his memories,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Lucas’s entire interview to the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.

Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, recognizes, Lt. Col. Kenneth Lucas, veteran, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Senator Tom Cotton's Remarks on Crime and Justice in America

Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton delivered remarks on crime and justice in America at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

Transcript of U.S. Senator Tom Cotton's speech:
This past Sunday, thousands of law-enforcement officers, their families, and other supporters gathered at the Capitol to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Every speech given, every tribute paid, and every prayer offered was a poignant reminder: public safety and order in our country often come at a high cost.

Law and order in our communities doesn’t arise spontaneously; men are not angels, after all. Police officers put the badge on every morning, not knowing for sure if they’ll come home at night to take it off. Dedicated prosecutors toil long hours in our courts. Corrections officers and other professionals do the thankless work of administering punishment and, hopefully, providing a path for redemption. And neighborhood-watch groups and civic organizations take it upon themselves to raise standards of conduct in their communities.

During this police week, I also want to take a moment to also remember Deputy Sheriff Sonny Smith, one of Arkansas’s own. Deputy Smith was an 11-year veteran of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, and he also proudly served in our nation’s Navy. He was killed in the line of duty last year while responding to a burglary.

Deputy Smith’s story is a sad reminder that preserving the peace takes vigilance. It takes hard work. And it takes sacrifice—sometimes, the ultimate sacrifice.

This may seem obvious to those who dedicate their lives to keeping our streets safe. But it’s no longer so clear to some in these times of historically low crime.

We’re currently reaping the benefits of one of the great public-policy achievements in modern times: a dramatic, generation-long drop in crime. Violent crime is at a 40-year low. Property crime is at a 50-year low. Even more remarkably, this drop in crime followed a decade-long spike in crime arising out of the drug epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s. That epidemic turned streets into literal battlefields, teenagers into foot soldiers, and too many citizens into casualties of the drug wars.

It may seem like a distant nightmare now, but make no mistake: 30 years ago, our cities were slowly dying.

Maureen Dowd, then a young metro reporter, described the ravages of the drug trade through the eyes of children living amidst it. She quoted a 10-year-old girl who called her neighborhood “the murdering area.” Other children chimed in as well: “Two days ago on the corner they stabbed a man,” said one. Another young boy confided in Dowd: “[T]he…raping, kicking, fighting. To death it scares me.”

At the peak of New York’s crisis, the city had 2,245 murders in one year—that’s over six murders every single day. In Los Angeles, a city half the size of New York, there were 1,094 murders. Nor was the crisis limited to the biggest cities. I have several family members living in Little Rock. At one point, Little Rock had the highest per capita murder rate in America, as memorialized in Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock, an HBO documentary.

This was the context, I would add, in which Hillary Clinton warned about so-called “super predators” while championing her husband’s crime bill, which is now much maligned by pro-leniency activists.

Many people in those days doubted whether our society could turn itself around. Maybe Central Park would forever be a no-go zone for law-abiding citizens. Maybe women would never be able to ride the subway alone again. Maybe drug gangs would always outgun the police.

These fears were understandable, but they were also wrong. We turned our society around and we made our streets safe again. But this didn’t just happen by accident; it happened because of policy changes like broken-windows policing techniques, mandatory-minimum sentences for violent criminals, 3-strikes laws, and other reforms. These sweeping changes to criminal-justice policy were championed by scholars like Jim Wilson, elected leaders like Rudy Giuliani, and tough police like Bill Bratton. These policies helped to take back our streets.

Too many people, it would seem, have forgotten these hard-learned lessons. They take our historically low crime rates for granted, acting as if safe neighborhoods are the natural state of man. They often speak and act as if criminals are victims, too.

This disturbing amnesia also comes with a policy agenda as ambitious as it is wrongheaded. Some members of Congress would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers and other violent felons, while giving liberal judges more discretion in sentencing again. Others want to prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal history in job-application forms; some states have already done so. Just last month, one governor restored voting rights to more than 200,000 felons, regardless of the offense committed or evidence of rehabilitation. And, of course, a nationwide movement is afoot to stigmatize law enforcement and the proven policing strategies of the last 25 years.

These policies are not merely wrong. They are dangerous. They threaten a return to the worst days of the 1990s, when law-abiding citizens lived in fear of their lives. Indeed, we may be living through the leading edge of a new crime wave. Over the last two years, murders across 56 of our largest cities are up 17 percent. The numbers are even more shocking in some cities. In Chicago, murders jumped 70 percent in the first quarter of this year alone. In Las Vegas, 81 percent. In Long Beach, 125 percent.

As a result, more and more Americans are worrying about the impact criminals are having on their communities. Last year, a Gallup poll showed that 53 percent of Americans say they personally worry “a great deal” about crime and violence, a 14-percent jump from 2014. That’s the highest figure Gallup has recorded in 15 years.

The ill-considered policies of criminal-leniency advocates and the resulting increases in crime reflect a badly misguided mindset. Criminals are not victims. Criminals are criminals. Victims are victims.

Now that may seem harsh to those who have security details and live in gated communities. From those comfortable perches, one can easily miss the silliness in the notorious old New York Times stories by Fox Butterfield with headlines like: “Prison Population Growing Although Crime Rate Drops.” It’s easy, after all, to feel virtuous about being soft on crime when you live in Chappaqua or McClean or Woodside. But when you live in Osceola or Trumann or Pine Bluff—working-class towns in my state where crime has been increasing lately—you can’t afford such woolly-headed abstractions.

What’s ironic is that this supposedly “new” and enlightened way of thinking about criminal justice isn’t new at all. The specious theory that responsibility for crime lies not with the criminal, but with society or the criminal-justice system is, in fact, very old. In the 1960s and 1970s, many academic criminologists believed that criminals commit crimes because the criminal-justice system works to “label” them as “deviants.”

The policy implications of this theory were, to say the least, unorthodox: legalize prohibited activity, reduce prison sentences, close prisons, restrain the police, and swiftly restore all rights and privileges of citizenship upon release from prison. Sound familiar? This kind of thinking created the crime waves that got us to the point where Hillary Clinton worried publicly about “super predators.” Yet all that’s old is new again, I suppose.

Now, let me stipulate that many reformers have the noblest of motives. They see crushing poverty, broken families, and struggling communities—and they want to help. Out of Christian charity, humanitarian fellow-feeling, or even their own brushes with the law, they’re seeking solutions.

Yet they’re looking in the wrong places. Modern sentencing law and policing techniques have reduced these social problems, not created them. Far from the source of the problems, our criminal-justice system is a key part of the solution. Yes, it could be reformed here and there, but wholesale criminal leniency would not only be ineffective, it would also lead to more crime, more poverty, and more lives lost. Ultimately, the criminal-leniency agenda will end up hurting the very offenders, families, and communities the reformers want to help.

Let’s consider this agenda in more detail.

As you probably know, there’s a bill in Congress now that would sharply reduce mandatory minimums for a slew of federal crimes, grant judges wider discretion to depart from these minimums, and apply reductions retroactively so that duly convicted felons will be released early. The bill’s advocates contend that we’re locking up too many offenders for too long for too little, we can’t afford it anyway, and we should show more empathy toward those caught up in the criminal-justice system.

These arguments, put simply, are baseless. They’ve been proved wrong by hard facts and by history.

Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed. Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.

Furthermore, the federal prison population is already declining. The Sentencing Commission has already granted 32,000 felons early release from prison since 2007 because of earlier sentencing-guideline revisions, with another 38,000 to be released. This has reduced the federal prison population to 196,000 inmates, down from 214,000 in 2014 and on track for its lowest level since 2005.

And of this inmate population, only a fraction of a percent are imprisoned for an offense like mere drug possession. Even if you assume that these prisoners didn’t plea down from a more serious offense—and, believe me, most of them did—we’re talking about fewer than 500 prisoners here. If these are the so-called “low-level, non-violent, first-time” offenders that pro-leniency senators have in mind, why does their legislation extend to thousands of felons? Releasing a flood of these violent felons into our streets would surrender the hard-won gains of the last generation.

That generation started with short sentences and soft-on-crime judges. In the last crime wave, judges had vast discretion in sentencing. This meant that drug dealers often returned to the streets just days after arrest. In fact one police officer admitted to a reporter in 1984 that the majority of dealers he arrested would pay a $50 fine and be released within four days. He stated, “For us it’s cosmetics, cleaning the streets briefly. For [dealers], it’s just the cost of doing business.”

Well, the cost of doing business for criminals needed to go up. Two main factors affecting the cost-benefit calculus of criminals are the severity and certainty of a sentence. Increasing both in the 1980s contributed significantly to the massive drop in crime—as much as 35 percent of the drop according to some studies.

The truth is you cannot decrease the severity and certainty of sentences without increasing crime. It’s simply impossible.

The bill’s sponsors rarely speak of this trade-off. They don’t answer the concrete questions that matter to citizens, families, and communities: How many more crimes will be committed because of sentencing reductions? How many more lives lost? How many lives ruined and communities at risk? Let me tell you, with a recidivism rate of 77 percent for released felons, the answer is a lot, no matter how much we improve rehabilitation programs.

Instead of answering these questions, advocates for leniency often point to admittedly large government budgets for law enforcement, courts, and corrections. To which I would respond: And? After national security, what government priority is higher than law and order? Moreover, this perspective is particularly short-sighted, especially for conservatives. Put aside the cost of crime to our governments; what about the cost of crime to our society?

As for the claim that we should have more empathy for criminals, I won’t even try to conceal my contempt for the idea. I empathize first and foremost with the victims of crime and their families. We ought to give criminals a shot at rehabilitation and redemption, but primarily because it’s in our interest as a society, not because they deserve more empathy.

Now, all that said, I don’t discount the the possibility of a manifestly unjust sentence, one so out of proportion to the crime that it shocks the conscience. But that’s why the Anglo-American system of justice gives the pardon power to the executive. I support the use of pardon and commutation as a precise scalpel to identify and remedy such cases. But what we should not do is use the blunt instrument of releasing thousands of violent felons and major drug dealers because of a handful of such cases, many spurious or hypothetical at that.

I believe the criminal-leniency bill in the Senate is dead in this year’s Congress. And it should remain so if future versions allow for the release of violent felons from prison. I will, though, happily work with my colleagues on true criminal-justice reform—to ensure prisons aren’t anarchic jungles that endanger both inmates and corrections officers, to promote rehabilitation and reintegration for those who seek it, and to stop the over-criminalization of private conduct under federal law. But I will continue to oppose any effort to give leniency to dangerous felons who prey on our communities.

A second priority for the criminal-leniency movement is the so-called “Ban the Box” initiative, which would prevent employers from inquiring about criminal history on job application forms.

Ban the Box has a praiseworthy goal, which I share: helping offenders become productive members of society again. Aside from the small number of criminals sentenced to death or life without parole, all convicts will eventually return to society. It’s in their interest and ours if they leave prison a changed man or woman, turning away from a life of crime and toward productive citizenship.

But Ban the Box is not the right way to go about this. Let’s be clear: if the government dictates hiring decisions, if it seeks to deprive employers of information instead of giving them more, and if it threatens severe punishment on employers for failing to do what is allegedly “good for them,” you can be pretty sure the government’s policy is harmful and unworkable.

Some companies have already removed the Box from their forms. That’s their decision, of course, and I applaud their intentions. But for many others—particularly smaller businesses—Ban the Box regulations will increase the costs of compliance and the processing of job candidates who will ultimately prove unqualified for the work. And employers face greater litigation risks, from lawsuits filed by unsuccessful applicants and from enforcement actions brought by state and federal authorities who presume their moral superiority to benighted employers.

No doubt, ex-cons face longer odds in the job market, odds that are understandably frustrating to them. But is it any less frustrating to make it to the end of a hiring process only to lose out? Because even under Ban the Box regulations, that will be the outcome a majority of the time.

Ban the Box, in other words, is an attractive solution because it seems like a tidy solution—a quick fix that will allow us to declare victory and move on. But the truth is improving the post-prison lives of released felons requires a lot more. The policy changes we need cannot start at the point where an offender applies for a job. By that time, it’s usually too late.

We need to start earlier, while felons are still in prison. They need more educational and vocational-training opportunities to develop the skills they’ll need outside prison. When offenders are asked about their criminal history, they should be frank, but also proud of the plumbing skills they honed, or the GED they earned, or the book-keeping courses that led to a training certification. And we want them to point to the college kids who mentored them and the ministers who saved their souls as job references.

Here’s the simple truth: it’s not a job that makes ex-con a contributing member of society. It’s the skills he’s gained, the work ethic he’s developed, and the commitment to an upright life that help him get a job in the first place.

Another post-incarceration priority is the movement to automatically restore the franchise to felons upon completion of their sentences. Whether and how felons can earn back their voting rights has always been a decision left to the states—where it should remain, without federal interference.

But as states are pressured to reconsider their felon-voting rules, those advocating for automatic restoration of voting rights shouldn’t throw around irresponsible charges that disagreement with this policy is illegitimate, un-American, or racist. The principle that felons surrender their voting rights when they commit a crime is embedded in our Constitution, after all.

Unfortunately, advocates for felons like to throw around these poisonous accusations. Now, it’s true there were felon-disenfranchisement laws that deliberately targeted blacks after Reconstruction. Each of those laws has been justly struck down by the Supreme Court or amended to rid them of their original racial animus.

But that sad chapter in our history doesn’t undermine the logic behind modern felon-disenfranchisement laws. Should murderers, rapists, and others whose behavior fall so far outside the norms of our society be immediately accommodated? Given recidivism rates, should we create an automatic pro-crime constituency in our society? Should felons be trusted to elect legislators who make the law, prosecutors who enforce it, and judges who apply it?

As with many charges of racism, we ought to reject the heated rhetoric and instead acknowledge the realities, in this case the costs associated with the immediate restoration of voting rights to felons. An offender who automatically obtains the franchise will have little reason to buy back into the social contract and no motivation to re-learn the responsibilities of citizenship.

I personally believe most felons should ultimately be eligible for restoration of their voting rights, but a much better approach is to provide felons with a roadmap of rehabilitation. After relatively modest periods of demonstrated obedience to the law and lawful employment, for instance, states could reinstate voting rights upon individual application by a felon. This approach would be far preferable to immediate, automatic restoration, especially when ordered by erstwhile political operatives for the electoral benefit of their political paymasters.

Finally, I want to turn to policing techniques and the growing assault on law enforcement. In the past two years, our country has seen several high-profile use-of-force incidents: the shooting of Michael Brown, the suffocation of Eric Garner, and the death of Freddie Gray, among others.

I’ve spoken with police officers about these incidents, and I can report that they feel about abusive cops the way most soldiers feel about misconduct in the ranks: they’re among the first who wish to see them disciplined. And if there are systemic problems in certain districts, it’s the law-abiding police departments that wish to see them reformed, and quickly.

That’s why full investigations of use-of-force incidents should occur and all the facts must be considered. That’s why the Department of Justice is collecting reliable national data on use-of-force incidents for use in developing training and protocols to help officers distinguish and handle situations involving the mentally ill, the substance-addled, and the truly threatening.

After all, no officer wants to be involved in a justified use of force proven unnecessary after the fact, any more than soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan wanted to make what proved to be the wrong decision in a shoot-don’t-shoot situation. Those decisions, even if justified, live with you forever, believe me.

But what should not and cannot occur is a rush to demonize law enforcement whenever force is used. In the absence of facts and hard data, we’re vulnerable to heart-wrenching images, to our own biases, and to cheap demagoguery.

This is dangerous. We’ve already seen one retaliatory attack fueled by misguided rage. In New York, a gunman claiming to seek revenge for Ferguson ambushed and killed Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

And at a broader level, anti-law enforcement sentiment is fueling a movement to roll back vigilant policing methods, the very techniques that are responsible for the historic drop in crime since the 1980s. In the very city where these methods originated—New York City—there’s an ideological mayor who campaigned against these policing methods and pointed to New York City’s Finest as part of the problem, rather than the solution. No wonder they turned their backs on him. I would too.

This anti-cop sentiment is surely driving the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” as FBI Director Jim Comey has called it. When professional protestors stigmatize the police as racist knuckle-draggers, when their vigorous enforcement of the law is constantly and unfairly criticized and undermined, a chilling effect on policing is nearly unavoidable. And the result is the disturbing increases in violent crime of the last two years. President Obama and others in the criminal-leniency movement are in denial about this. But it’s something more and more criminologists and law enforcement officials are confirming.

Let me make something clear: black lives do matter. The lives being lost to violence in America’s cities are predominantly those of young black men, with devastating consequences for their families and their communities.

But the police aren’t the culprits. In nearly every case, the blood is on the hands of criminals, drug dealers, and gang members. Bill Clinton recently exclaimed to protestors, “You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter.” For once, he was right. And it’s the police who are trying to protect those lives and prevent those murders. We shouldn’t stigmatize them; we should thank them.

And that’s what most people do. What critics of vigilant policing miss is that communities—including minority communities—overwhelmingly approve of “broken windows” tactics. They want low-level crime stopped. They want street corners cleared at late-morning hours so that school kids don’t have to walk among used needles and the lingering smell of urine and marijuana. They want safe neighborhoods.

In northeast Arkansas, there’s a town called Blytheville. Blytheville has faced some tough times. Its population has fallen by 40 percent, especially since the Air Force base closed. Blytheville is also majority African-American. It’s faced a serious drug and crime problem. Last year, in a major operation, hundreds of FBI agents raided the town in the dead of night to arrest 70 drug dealers.

What was the reaction of the community? It wasn’t anguish. It wasn’t fear. It wasn’t indignation that law enforcement used aggressive tactics.

The reaction was unalloyed gratitude. One woman ran up to an FBI agent. She cried tears of joy. The operation, she said, “was the answer to [her] prayers.”

There’s another Blytheville resident, a woman named Vivian Harrison. Two years ago, her son Justin was shot and killed in a senseless murder. She awoke the day of the FBI raid, and she praised it. She said she’d like to see the town rid of crime to the point where “decent, hardworking people can go on with their lives without being in fear.”

I’ll conclude with what I wish were a joke, but unfortunately it’s not. The Obama administration has become so solicitous towards criminals that we’re not supposed to call them criminals at all. Now the new term is “justice-involved individual.” I’m not joking, this is the administration’s new term for criminals: “justice-involved individual.” That alone is a crime against the English language.

But it’s much worse: it reflects the dangerous mindset that criminals are victims, that the justice system somehow happened to them. They didn’t commit a crime, they became “involved” in the justice system.

Let me say again: Criminals are not victims. Criminals are criminals. Victims are victims.

When we talk about crime and justice, we should never forget the actual victims of crime: people like Vivian Harrison, her murdered son, and the other residents of places like Blytheville. These are the people I have in mind when we make criminal-justice policy. So pardon me if I err on the side of being a little too tough on crime, rather than a little too soft on crime. It’s only innocent lives hanging in the balance, after all.

For their sake, we ought not make radical changes to a justice system that has delivered so much hope to so many communities since the crime wave of the last generation. We ought not discard proven strategies for political fashions. And we ought not care for criminals more than we care for victims and their families and communities.

Tags: U.S. Senator, Tom Cotton, speech, Hudson Institute, Crime, Justice, America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Landmark Conference at UN Promotes a “Family-Friendly World”


Uniting Nations for a Family Friendly World
exhibition located in the UN Visitors’ Lobby
now through June 12th. (C-Fam)
by Wendy Wright, C-Fam: We are gathered here to celebrate the family,” said Afaf Konja. The former UN spokeswoman and the youngest of eight children then proceeded to get personal.

“It is my mother who taught me unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness and spirituality and through whom I was first introduced to the profound presence of God in my life. It was my father who gave me the courage to live with an open heart as I watched the decisions he made,” she said. “Yet the family has not received the attention it deserves” at the UN.

Konja moderated a half-day event at the UN on “Uniting Nations for a Family Friendly World,” hosted by dozens of countries and groups.

The countries are working together as the Group of Friends of the Family.

Valentin Rybakov, deputy minister of foreign affairs of Belarus, introduced the Group’s declaration that notes the myriad of ways the family nurtures individuals and is “a key actor in the transmission of values within society that are vital” to development.

The family “forms a protective environment against external threats and give hope for the future for all of its members,” Rybakov said.

Religious leaders kicked off the first panel.

“God placed Adam in paradise,” but he did not enjoy paradise until he had a wife, said Imam Shamsi Ali. The father of six said the “beginning of the pursuit of happiness is in the home.”

“Rest, peace, and tranquility must begin at home. Home must be our own paradise on this planet. The very first school in a human’s life is in their home.”

“Being free does not mean undermining the family,” Imam Ali said.

“The titles that mean the most to us when we take our last breath are of husband, father, wife, mother because marriage and family are profoundly sacred,” said Pastor Jim Garlow of the Skyline Church in San Diego.

Bishop John O’Hara likened the challenges today to that at the founding of the UN.

Before World War II, Cardinal Suhard saw “the world falling apart and totalitarianism on the rise” and challenged people they had “responsibility to bring order out of chaos,” Bishop O’Hara said.

After World War II, “in a world where individuals were tossed aside and family destroyed,” the mural in the UN Security Council was created “showing the true restoration of society comes through the family.”

“Family is central in our diverse religious traditions. Without family, we lose the sacredness of each person and lose our identity,” Bishop O’Hara said. “Lasting peace and true harmony is built on the solid rock of the family.”

This “rings true to us today as a challenge that as sacredness of the family, of husband and wife is threatened, redefined, distorted we need to bring order out of chaos. Otherwise we’ll be building our society on sand, not the solid rock.”

Annie Franklin of Family Watch International also drew attention to the Security Council mural on the panel showcasing experts. The mural shows “family is the phoenix that regenerates society from within.”

“The basis of the family is marriage,” said scholar Sherif Girgis. “Marriage is found in all ancient cultures. Man and woman come together to be husband and wife and to be father and mother to any children they rear.”

“Marriage unites children to their parents, and to their being reared by the man and woman who gave them life. It gives children the best shot of waking up under the same roof as the man and woman who gave them life,” Girgis said. It serves health and education, and all the things necessary for healthy society and political life.

“Changing the vision of marriage undermines every aspect of the common good that marriage serves,” he warned.

“If family is worth celebrating, so are the laws and policies that protect it,” said Susan Yoshihara of C-Fam. Despite political differences “we can all agree that fundamental rights should be protected.”

“Man and woman are equally important to the family, and the state must protect parents’ rights, ” said Yoshihara. “The inherent nature of the family is powerful and fragile, and needs to be cared for.”

The change in marriage law has “shut down dialogue, and put us in corners like boxers in a ring. It pits the teacher against the parent, and forces children to take sides. It seems to be about winning even if the child loses,” she said.

“We’re not made for solitary confinement,” said professor Helen Alvare. The dynamic harmony of the family, to desire the good for another, cannot be manufactured or legislated and is undermined by treating people as just a body, a sexual object. No other institution cares for the vulnerable like family, she observed.

Professor David Crawford tied identity to family, and family as a buffer against totalitarianism. Some say community and individual rights are in tension, he noted. “But we are communal beings, and the family is the natural community.” The family wards against men and women being reduced to creatures of the state.

Ambassadors then took turns describing their countries’ high view of the family. The developing countries Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Sudan, Iran and Tajikistan highlighted the “cherished” role of the family—and said the UN should foster respect for it.

Russia encouraged countries to monitor UN officials and agencies from encroaching on the rights of the family, and cautioned that agencies in Geneva, the headquarters on human rights, humanitarian aid and refugees, need particular watching.

Austin Ruse of C-Fam singled out countries in the room for their actions in past UN negotiations to protect the family from the sexual revolution. He also announced a new coalition, the Civil Society for the Family, to encourage countries to defend the family.

“It is an honor to be among brave people standing up for things that unite us all, that is, the natural family,” he said.
---------------
Wendy Wright is the Vice President for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) in New York. C-FAM was founded in 1997 to monitor and affect the social policy debate at the United Nations and other international institutions.

Tags: CFAM, Wendy Wright, Landmark Conference, at UN, “Family-Friendly World” To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

National Health Leaders Recognize Boozman for Leadership in Healthcare Innovation

Debbie Witchey of Healthcare Leadership Council
presents U.S. Senator John Boozman with the
Champion of Healthcare Innovation” award
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) was honored as a “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” by The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of the nation’s premier healthcare companies and organizations, at a recent award ceremony.

“I’m honored to receive this award. Promoting innovation leads to advances in medical research and new ways to treat patients. I will continue advocating for cost-effective solutions to our nation’s healthcare challenges,” Boozman said.

"We’re on the verge of a remarkable era in American healthcare. Genomic and biologic research, improved data analytics, and advanced mobile technologies are enabling people to live longer, healthier lives,” HLC President Mary R. Grealy said. “To continue this exciting transformation, we need visionary leadership and sound policymaking. We honored Senator Boozman for providing important advocacy and leadership for patients and consumers.”

The award presentation took place at the Council’s annual Healthcare Innovations Expo on Capitol Hill. The expo showcases new developments in health care technologies, treatments and practices. This event featured virtual reality technologies to assist veterans with post-combat stress challenges, and uses of health data sharing to combat opioid abuse and addiction.

Tags:IU.S Senator, John Boozman. recognized, leadership, healthcare innovation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Gov. Hutchinson to Hold MOU Signing - $250M in Savings Over Five Years

$250M in Savings Over Five Years
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Hutchinson will host a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between a provider group led by the Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) as part of the Governor’s efforts to reform Medicaid and achieve overall cost savings.

Details for the Memorandum of Understanding signing are as follows:

WHAT: MOU Signing Ceremony with AHCA and DHS

WHEN: 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 20, 2016

WHERE: Governor’s Conference Room
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, AR 72201

Tags: IOU, Arkansas, Governor Hutchinson, Arkansas Health Care Association,, Dept of Human Services, DHS, reform medicare, achieve savings, newx 5 yrs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Senate Passes Appropriations Bill with Boozman Provision Allowing Arkansas to Designate Portion of Highway 67 ‘Future I-57’

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) applauded Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill that includes a provision he authored enabling Arkansas to designate a portion of Highway 67 from North Little Rock to Walnut Ridge as “Future I-57.”

“Congress has a basic responsibility to determine how we spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Passing appropriations bills provides accountability and reduces wasteful spending. I’m pleased to support this process that enables all Senators to play an active role in the legislative process and to address concerns that are important to their states. Arkansas has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make Highway 67 an interstate-quality road, and this brings our state one step closer to calling it what it is, Future Interstate 57,” Boozman, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said.

Boozman highlighted his provision and the support from Arkansans in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Sen. John Boozman - Full Floor Speech

“Walnut Ridge aldermen voted this week to support this designation. Resolutions of support for the I-57 designation have been passed by the Newport Economic Development Commission as well as Chambers of Commerce in Bald Knob, Cabot, Jacksonville, Lawrence County, Newport, Sherwood and Searcy. Other expressions of support have been received from communities throughout the central Arkansas and northeast Arkansas regions,” Boozman said on the Senate floor.

The provision would also give Arkansas the ability to request that any segment of the road that is built to interstate standards be officially added to the federal interstate system as “I-57.”

The bill fully funds the highway programs authorized under the recently-passed long-term highway bill, provides critical funding for the modernization of air traffic control, provides funding for air traffic control towers in Arkansas, will support aircraft certification that is critical to aircraft manufacturers in Arkansas, and supports locally-controlled programs – such as the Community Development Block Grants - that assist with housing and community development needs in rural states like Arkansas.

The Senate jointly considered the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations bill. This bill funds the Department of Veterans Affairs at record levels and invests in priorities such as veterans’ health care, benefit claims processing, the Board of Veterans Appeals, the VA Inspector General, as well as prosthetic research.

In addition to providing VA with the resources it needs, this bill also secures funding and resources for military housing and family support. It also includes funding for projects to ensure military readiness and improve the quality of life for our military families.

Passage of this legislation is the latest example of the Senate’s return to regular order and its commitment to improve our nation’s fiscal challenges.

Last week the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The bill’s passage marked the earliest that the Senate approved a stand-alone appropriations measure in more than 40 years.


Tags: U.S. Senator, John Boozman, Senate Passes Appropriations Bill, includes Boozman Provision, Arkansas, Designate Portion of Highway 67 ‘Future I-57’ To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Rep Hill On House Passing Bill to Fully Fund National Security Priorities & The VA Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2017 by a bipartisan vote of 277-147. The NDAA will provide $610.5 billion total in funding for national defense priorities, with $566.5 billion in base funding, and an additional $35.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

“Finding consensus can be a hard fight in Congress, but for the 55th straight year, Republicans and Democrats have come together to fund our military at the levels they need to complete their strategic missions throughout the globe,” said Congressman French Hill (AR-02).

This year’s NDAA will increase troop levels, give a deserved pay raise for all servicemembers above the levels requested by the president, and will simplify TRICARE options to better fit the health care needs of our military.

It will also authorize the modernization of the C-130 Hercules fleet, which is the backbone of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard airlifters at Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB). “LRAFB has been a center for excellence for a long time, and modernizing their planes will guarantee these planes remain a critical part of our national security for years to come,” said Hill.

President Obama has threatened to veto the NDAA, the veto threat was primarily over restrictions placed against transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay (GTMO). In September of last year, Congressman Hill went to GTMO as part of a CODEL visit to assess GTMO’s facilities and operations.

“In my view, GTMO offers our Nation a safe and secure facility for the custody of perpetrators of terror including ruthless killers, bomb makers, the bomber of the USS Cole, and the 9/11 Five,” said Hill after returning from GTMO. “Further, we have invested in state-of-the-art secure courtroom facilities that enable the proper adjudication of the detainees by military commission. GTMO remains a key national intelligence resource.”

The president campaigned in 2008 on the promise of shutting down GTMO, a move that has been repeatedly blocked by Congress, “closing GTMO is not in the best interest of the American people. President Obama’s insistence on closing it shows a commander-in-chief who is not committed to using all the tools at our disposal to defeat an enemy that is determined to harm us and our allies throughout the world,” said Hill. “I strongly urge the president to reconsider his veto threat and use this authorization towards winning the Global War on Terror.”

Also yesterday, the House passed H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. H.R. 4974 contained a provision that prohibits funding solar panel projects under the Green Management Program. Congressman French Hill (AR-02) spoke on the House Floor Wednesday night in support of this provision. Last year, Congressman Hill and Senator John Boozman (AR) requested a Department of Veterans Affair Office of Inspector General report (VAOIG) into the failed solar panel construction project at the Little Rock VA Medical Center.

Following passage of H.R. 4974, Congressman Hill released the following statement:

“This appropriations bill will give the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) an increase in the resources it needs to care for our veterans. I am particularly pleased with the funding to move toward a paperless and more efficient processing system for disability claims. Our wounded and injured veterans should not have to wait months and years to receive the compensation they deserve for their service.

“While this bill does contain important provisions to increase congressional oversight of VA dollars—like eliminating bonus pay for poorly-performing VA executives and provisions to prevent cost overruns on construction projects—that oversight will not be as effective as it needs to be until the Senate moves the VA Accountability Act of 2016. Employees who do not act in the best interest of the veteran need to be removed from the system, and I urge the Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to pass this bill through the Committee.”


Tags: Rep. French Hill, Arkansas, AR-2, U.S House, passes, Fully Fund National Security Priorities, VA Appropriations Bill To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Hill Statement on DOL Overtime Rule

WASHINGTON – Today, after the Department of Labor finalized its overtime rule, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement:

“The Obama Administration’s decision to move forward with this rule ignores the more than 250,000 comments submitted to the agency that outline the costly impacts of this overly-burdensome regulation on our nation’s small businesses, cities, towns, universities, and non-profit organizations. I support Congress acting to prevent the implementation of this ill-advised rule and working to provide the modernization of the overtime rule that respects regional differences within the United States, promotes flexibility in the workplace, and allows for career advancement for hardworking Americans.”

Tags: U.S., Rep. French Hill, 2nd Congressional District, DOL Overtime Rule To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

You're Invited to Raise the Roof!

RAISE THE ROOF OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ARKANSAS
with
DINESH D'SOUZA
June 3 at the Fayetteville Town Center

Dear Fellow Conservative,

Please join the Washington County Republican Committee and the Republican Party of Arkansas as they welcome Dinesh D'Souza to Northwest Arkansas.
Dinesh is a #1 New York Times best selling author and creator of the second highest grossing political documentary of all time. Dinesh will be sharing about his new upcoming movie. "Hillary's America."

The film exposes the secret history of Hillary but also of the Democratic Party.

Four years ago, Dinesh exposed Obama with his movie, "2016: Obama's America." That film made very specific predictions about Obama that have all come true. Dinesh also made the highly-acclaimed film "America" in 2014. This film was a patriotic defense of America against many of the slanders against the founders and the country that have made their way into university curricula and high school textbooks.
Get Tickets Here!

Tags: Rais The Roof, Arkansas, Republican Party, GOP, Dinish D'Souza, Hillary's AmericanINSERT TAGS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman Leads Effort to Improve Health Care Access for Arkansans

Arkansas physicians Dr. Stephen Routon, Dr. Scott Harter,
Dr. Whit Goodwin and Dr. Bruce Greenburg joined
U.S. Senator John Boozman in Washington, D.C.
to show their support for legislation he introduced.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation to ensure patients have timely and quality access to health care providers by enhancing the role of radiology assistants (RAs) and recognizing qualified RAs as non-physician providers.

The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2016 authorizes Medicare coverage of procedures performed by RAs in states that have laws licensing and establishing their expanded role.

“Utilizing the expertise of radiology assistants is critical to healthcare delivery. These healthcare professionals are well qualified to address the increased demand in medical imaging services and fill the gap in the shortage of radiologists, particularly in rural areas. Ensuring the procedures performed by RAs are covered by Medicare is commonsense to providing seniors with the specialized services they deserve,” Boozman said.

“This legislation will allow radiology assistants to utilize their expertise and training to help care for our seniors and people with disabilities. This is a commonsense change that will require Medicare to reimburse radiology assistants for their expertise and contributions, something which is already happening in many states around the country," Casey said. “Over 925,000 Pennsylvania seniors and people with disabilities rely on Medicare, and this bill will help ensure they have access to radiology services in a timely manner.”

Arkansas is one of 31 states with laws regulating the practice of RAs. This profession is critical to Arkansas health providers.

“The presence of the RAs in Arkansas hospitals provides timely, efficient care to the people of this state. The lack of legislation allowing coverage for services provided by RAs threatens the efficient care provided by them. Radiology services need these individuals to help our state deliver modern healthcare that is efficient, timely and of excellent quality,” Dr. Bruce Greenberg, UAMS Professor of Pediatrics and Radiology, said.

This legislation has the support of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas, Associated Radiologists, Ltd., American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the American College of Radiology, the Society of Radiology Physician Extenders and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act of 2016 was introduced in the House of Representatives in February (H.R. 4614).

Tags: John Boozman, lends effort, improve healthcare, access Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Arkansas GOP Convention Delegates and Alternates Elected

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.– Arkansas GOP leaders convened on May 14, 2016 in Hot Springs at the State Committee Meeting to elect the remaining 25 delegates and 25 alternates to the Republican National Convention.

There were 168 State Committee voting members present.

The results are as follows:

Trump Delegates:
Barbara Webb (Benton)
Chase Dugger (Beebe)
Reta Hamilton (Bella Vista)
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (Little Rock)
Joel Pritchett (Searcy)
Susan Gessler (Fayetteville)
Barbara Deuschle (Hot Springs)
Nancy Barnett (Siloam Springs)
John Nabholz (Conway)

Trump Alternates:
David Wright (Siloam Springs)
Marie Holder (Little Rock)
Johnny McMahan (Bauxite)
Diana Wright (Siloam Springs)
Stacy DeJarnette (White Hall)
Jennifer Parks (El Dorado)
Amy Brooker (Siloam Springs)
Col. Conrad Reynolds (Conway)
John Arthur Hammerschmidt (Harrison)

Cruz Delegates:
Tom Lundstrum (Elm Springs)
Bobbi Dodge (West Memphis)
Lisenne Rockefeller (Little Rock)
Rep. Bob Ballinger (Hindsville)
Rep. Rick Beck (Center Ridge)
Patricia Nation (Little Rock)
Julie Harris (Springdale)
Rep. Robin Lundstrum (Elm Springs)
Will Rockefeller (Little Rock)

Cruz Alternates:
Mindy McAlindon (Centerton)
Duane Neal (Bentonville)
Dennis Meadors (Siloam Springs)
Rod Soubers (Mountain Home)
Tom Marshall (Eudora)
Karen M. Lamoreaux (Maumelle)
Col. Richard Sackett (Cherokee Village)
Brian A. Vandiver (North Little Rock)
Justin Gonzales (Okolona)

Rubio Delegates:
Ann Clemmer (Benton)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (Little Rock)
Senator Bart Hester (Cave Springs)
Auditor Andrea Lea (Russellville)
Darren Ray Waddles (Mountain View)
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (Little Rock)
Senator Jim Hendren (Gravette)

Rubio Alternates
Jack Avery (Fayetteville)
Rep. David Meeks (Conway)
Senator Jeremy Hutchinson (Little Rock)
Rep. Grant Hodges (Rogers)
Judd P. Deere (Little Rock)
Rep. Mark Lowery (Maumelle)
Rep. Justin Boyd (Fort Smith)

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

RPA Chairman Challenges Conner Eldridge to Renounce Obama's Unlawful Overreach

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb today called on U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge to renounce his former boss President Barack Obama's unlawful and overreaching mandate to force his beliefs on Arkansans, and all Americans. Webb calls on Eldridge to stand up for the students, parents, and schools of Arkansas. Mr. Eldridge should do the right thing in protecting the rights of Arkansans from President Obama's overreach.

“Conner Eldridge should be ashamed to continue to support his former boss, President Obama. Senator Boozman continues to make Arkansans and their values a priority. The implications of this overreaching federal mandate from Washington ultimately manipulates our education system and forces Obama’s beliefs on not only Arkansas, but the entire country.”

Tags: RPA, Dole Well Chairman, Republican Party of Arksnsas 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 Appointments

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:
John Carmack, Siloam Springs, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Appointment expires December 1, 2018. Replaces Reverend Paul Moore.
Robbie Cline, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Appointment expires December 1, 2018. Replaces Todd Patten.
Damon Jackson, Garfield, to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2017.
Cory Hallmark, Little Rock, to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces Charles Crow.
Larry Jayroe, Forrest City, to the State Plant Board. Appointment expires March 17, 2018. Reappointment.
Danny Finch, Jonesboro, to the State Plant Board. Appointment expires March 17, 2018. Reappointment.
Marcus Creasy, Drasco, to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2018. Replaces Mack Hayden.
James Craig, Stuttgart, to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 8, 2017. Replaces Melanie Baden.
Joseph Clements, Roland, to the Arkansas Fire Protection Licensing Board. Appointment expires April 1, 2021. Replaces Mark Hall.
Jason Wills, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Fire Protection Licensing Board. Appointment expires April 1, 2021. Reappointment.
Brooks Jackson, Jr., Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers. Appointment expires April 26, 2021. Reappointment.
Terry Suen, Bentonville, to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2020. Replaces Robert Remy.
David Cawein, Morrilton, to the Arkansas State Board of Registration for Foresters. Appointment expires July 18, 2019. Replaces John Wainscott.
Jaycob McMillan, Roland, to the Advisory Committee on Petroleum Storage Tanks. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces William Colvin.
Janet Hendren, Bentonville, to the Old State House Commission. Appointment expires March 19, 2025. Replaces Vince Chadick.
Vera Dawson, Forrest City, to the St. Francis County Quorum Court District 9. Appointment expires December 31, 2016.
Janie Pugsley, Summit, to the Health Services Permit Commission. Appointment expires April 9, 2020. Reappointment.
Paula Hartz, Fayetteville, to the Health Services Permit Commission. Appointment expires April 9, 2020. Replaces Jim Petrus.
Eric Bell, Little Rock, to the Health Services Permit Commission. Appointment expires April 9, 2020. Replaces David Laffoon.
Foster “Jock” Davis, Russellville, to the Arkansas Motor Vehicle Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2018. Replaces Kenneth Burkes.
Mitchell Ward, Cabot, to the Arkansas Motor Vehicle Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Replaces Henry Trotter.
Jason Kelley, Bella Vista, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-15-953 Katie D. Stehle v. Ernest W. Zimmerebener III. Replaces Justice Josephine Hart, who has disqualified herself from the case.

Collier Moore, Fayetteville, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CR-15-618 State of Arkansas v. Vann Bragg. Replaces Justice Rhonda Wood, who has disqualified herself from the case. 

Note: This notice was previous sent on May 11, 2016

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