Act 312 Stops Illegal Voter ‘Education’ in Texarkana

arkansas news

We write a lot here about all the bad laws that come out of the state legislature, but today we want to focus on one of the best ones: Act 312 of 2013, sponsored by state Rep. Nate Bell. As we wrote in November, Act 312 prohibits government employees from using taxpayer-funded resources to influence the outcome of ballot measure elections. Violating this act amounts to a Class A misdemeanor; furthermore, whoever violates it will both lose his or her job and be barred from future Arkansas … [Read more...]

Sales Tax Holiday Leads to High Tax Hangover

Sales Tax Free Weekend

All tax reductions aren’t created equal -- and nowhere is this more evident than in this weekend’s annual sales tax holiday. Because of tax changes passed in 2011, some purchases of clothing and school supplies will be free from taxation on Saturday and Sunday. Many politicians in the middle of campaign season take the week before this holiday as a chance to boast about their tax-cutting bonafides. However, this temporary tax respite leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to fostering … [Read more...]

Report: Only “Robust Growth” in Little Rock Is from Government

Arkansas capitol

Another new study adds to the evidence we’ve written recently about: namely, there's lots of room for improvement with respect to economic growth in central Arkansas. According to the Manhattan Institute’s America’s Top Metros report, the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway area ranks 90 out of 100 metros in economic recovery from the recession since 2009. (To be clear: #1 is the top; #100 is the bottom.) From the report: Unlike most of the bottom 20 on our list, the Little Rock MSA is … [Read more...]

The Not-So-Independent Citizens Committee

Independent Citizens Committee

Over the weekend, Republicans at their party convention voted to oppose an upcoming “ethics reform” ballot measure in 2014 that waters down term limits for state legislators. Here is the report from the AP: Arkansas Republicans have voted to oppose a ballot measure that would loosen the state's term limits and tighten state ethics laws. Delegates at the state GOP's convention on Saturday approved a resolution opposing the proposed constitutional amendment appearing on the November ballot. … [Read more...]

Judge McGowan Benchslaps Act 1413

A-lonely-gavel

One of the most offensive bills that the Arkansas General Assembly passed last session was SB 821/Act 1413. This bill, which we warned the legislature about, almost seemed designed to make it more difficult for citizens to pass laws by means of ballot initiatives. Act 1413 created a new set of regulations that controlled the registration, tracking, and training of those who gathered signatures for petitions. Earlier this week, we were very pleased to see Judge McGowan’s decision to the effect … [Read more...]

Term Limits Camouflage

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The debate over extending legislative term limits in Arkansas is only just beginning. Unfortunately, that debate has been diluted: in this year’s legislative session, the legislature opted to couple term limits extension measure with ethics reform. The amendment’s ballot title says nothing about extending term limits. Instead, it mostly discusses ethics reforms and then, in the last line, says it is intended to “establish” term limits. This, to say the least, has concerned many conservatives … [Read more...]

Just Saying Hello (And Those Other Guys Suck!)

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Last week, an email with the subject line “Just Saying Hello” went out to legislative supporters of the “private option”/Medicaid expansion. The email was from State Rep. John Burris. He began this missive by explaining that it lacked “a real motive or specific request.” It’s real cute. You should read it: Hey all, This is an email to those who voted "yes" on the DHS appropriation that included the Private Option spending authority. I don't have a real motive or specific request. I just … [Read more...]

Who Are Arkansas’s Friends Of Freedom?

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Today at the Capitol, 23 state legislators were awarded “Friends of Freedom” awards from the Advance Arkansas Institute. These legislators represent the top tier of scorers on AAI’s newly released 2013 Freedom Scorecard, an index of over 100 bills that were debated in this year’s legislative session. (If you’d like a copy of the full report, send us a tax-deductible donation and we’ll ship one out to you.) So, who are the Friends of Freedom? In the House, the following representatives made the … [Read more...]