State Representative Karilyn Brown (Dist. 41) of Sherwood has worked diligently on a range of issues in 2019 that we are proud to acknowledge. From legislation that shows our Veterans tremendous appreciation to a Sanctity of Life bill that draws a clear line against tax payer funded abortions, her work deserves the fanfare of Arkansans across our state.
In the spirit of Military Appreciation Month, it is fitting to celebrate Rep. Brown’s Act 66 which simplifies a prior-service member’s ability to have a Veteran designation on their license. This can be used to easily receive veteran discounts at local businesses and prove possible eligibility for health benefits at a Veterans Administration facility just by showing their driver’s license.
Rep. Brown took her appreciation for Veterans a step further by passing Act 729. Now, Veterans with a service-connected disability can enjoy all that our Natural State has to offer by receiving an exclusive and highly discounted lifetime fishing and hunting licenses. For only $52.50 our disabled Veterans can enjoy the best duck hunting and trout fishing the Southern United States has to offer for the rest of their lives!
On the front lines of the Sanctity of Life Movement, Rep. Brown passed legislation that prevents taxpayer dollars from funding human cloning and destructive embryo research. While this has been a banned practice in Arkansas, a loophole existed where taxpayer money could go to related research outside of Arkansas. With Act 799 now signed into law, embryos that are farmed and used as disposable research cannot be funded by Arkansas taxpayers whatsoever.
Rep. Brown has promoted the Republican Party platform through these pieces of legislation and did so in a manner that is compassionate and impactful for our state.
Rural Arkansas has benefitted tremendously this last session due to Rep. DeAnn Vaught (Dist. 4) of Horatio. Specifically, our farming communities are now better served as laws recently passed protect their property rights and ability to earn a living. Many other issues were on her radar this session to include school counseling and firearm preservation bills.
Farmers can rest easy after the passage of Act 518 which creates civil immunity for Farmers in certain circumstances. Prior to this law, if a person illegally enters onto a farmer’s property to steal farm equipment and is accidentally injured or killed on that property, the farmer may in many cases could be held legally responsible.
Rep. Vaught also worked closely with Governor Hutchinson and Sen. Breanne Davis to pass Act 190: “The School Counseling Improvement Act of 2019.” This legislation brings a renewed focus to planned goal-setting and post-secondary opportunities, behavioral and mental health counseling, and much more for our students. This bill alone is a transformative measure that dramatically improves counseling services in schools across our state.
On the Second Amendment front, Rep. Vaught passed a wildly popular firearm preservation bill that allows law enforcement agencies to trade confiscated firearms with federally licensed firearm dealers for credit toward their future agency purchases. This is a smart way to help fund our agencies at no cost to the taxpayer while not destroying firearms that hold significant value that would otherwise be wasted by their destruction.
Republican Representative Justin Boyd (Dist. 77) of Fort Smith has taken the lead on significant issues that have harmed Arkansas families for years. He dedicated his time during the 2019 Regular Session to combat the Opioid Crisis and brought regulatory reform to our criminal justice system. Taking on these issues can be a tall order, yet, Rep. Boyd was more than capable of passing meaningful legislation that improves the quality of life for Arkansans across the state.
Relating to Criminal Justice Reform, Republicans including Rep. Boyd have championed new beginnings for rehabilitated prior-offenders. In many cases, after a person has served their debt to society, they face many challenges that limit their ability to move forward. Act 680 is a helping hand to those who truly deserve a second chance. First, it eliminates a fifty dollar fee imposed on those looking to file a petition to seal an offense or violation. It also eliminates a five-year waiting period before a petition can be filed to seal a nonviolent felony after they served their time. Ultimately, the most important benefit of this legislation is that it lowers the barrier for those seeking employment and housing, ensuring that they have the means to become productive members of society.
By requiring a risk assessment for each child, courts can properly categorize those who are not likely to re-offend. Now, Juvenile Courts function with an emphasis on community involvement for these children instead of state managed disciplinary actions like incarceration. Under this new law, troubled youth are given the care and attention they deserve to help escape the cycle of crime before it destroys their chance at a normal life. It should be noted that this bill passed with zero dissent from the General Assembly.
In an effort to make our streets and highways safer, Rep. Fite also passed a number of bills that protect Arkansans from dangerous drivers. Act 288 amends the law on distracted driving to include the use of cellphones in school zones as an offense. Similarly, Act 166 increases the penalty of passing a stopped school bus to at least five hundred dollars. Both measures are guaranteed to protect Arkansans, especially our children, as these laws are enforced.
In an effort to protect victims of domestic violence, Rep. Fite has passed a few bills that address this evil head-on. Act 498 redefines Domestic Battery in the First Degree to include a Class Y Felony (the most serious crimes not punishable by death in Arkansas) in some circumstances and stiffens penalties for abuse of those 60 years of age or older, and increase penalties for abuse of children aged 4 or younger.
Likewise, to protect victims seeking professional help from domestic violence, she passed Act 499. Victims of domestic abuse are often afraid of seeking help as to not make their situation publicly known, especially to their abuser. Any victims who seeks the help of a shelter, center, or advocate for domestic abuse can do so with the guarantee of confidential reporting. This is a significant privilege for victims as many are in situations that pose imminent risk of serious harm to them or their loved ones.
One of Rep. Fite’s most significant victories this year was for the deaf community. Given their specific needs and underserved population, it can be difficult for these Arkansans to find help in a number of ways. Act 644 sponsored by Rep. Fite is a ‘Bill of Rights’ for the Deaf Community regarding mental health needs. This Act provides the deaf community with mental health services that are fluent in their primary means of communication, such as American Sign Language. Not only does this provide them with the ability to communicate freely with their mental health providers, it also seeks to ensure those providers are familiar with the unique culture of the deaf community.
February 7, 2018|Speaker Ryan Press Office
The bipartisan budget agreement is absolutely critical for our national security, disaster recovery, and other Republican priorities. It is the result of six months of efforts to secure funding for our military, and it will allow Congress to end the cycle of governing by stop-gap measure and move on to other important agenda items. It also has meaningful budget offsets, including structural reforms to mandatory spending programs.
Here are five reasons why it is so important:
LITTLE ROCK – In December, Democrat Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray made the following statement regarding the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act:
“Corporations will get the tax cuts, and we're asking our children to pay for them. What the GOP is doing is worse than fiscal irresponsibility -- it's fiscal insanity. Republicans in Congress believe if we give these big corporations more money, it will trickle down to the working class, which is simply a myth that has been proven untrue time and time again.”
Interestingly enough, the tax plan is already putting more money in the pockets of Americans. The Arkansas based company Wal-Mart, the largest employer in the US, has announced that employees will be receiving bonuses and increased starting pay. They join literally hundreds of other major corporations that have reinvested capital into their employees solely due to the new tax plan. Also, the CBO reports that the average middle-class American will see thousands in tax savings come their tax return this year. Jobs, check. Tax cuts, check.
Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb made the following rebuttal as more companies give back to their employees at a dizzying rate:
“The Democrats believe in higher taxes, more fees, more fines, more regulation, and heavy government oversight. The Republican Party has always operated to alleviate those burdens on the American people. With this tax plan we have done just that, as well as stimulate the economy toward what is turning out to be a very prosperous future for all Arkansans and Americans.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson
"White supremacy has no place in America. When it turned violent in the 80's, I prosecuted them as U.S. Attorney."
Senator John Boozman
"The violence & hatred in Charlottesville is unacceptable. Bigotry has no place in our society. We solve our problems by working together."
Senator Tom Cotton
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia:
"I'm currently traveling in the Balkans, where the long, violent history of ethnic supremacism still stalks the land and is a reminder of how unique America is. White supremacists who claim to ‘take America back' only betray their own ignorance of what makes America so special: our country's founding recognition of the natural rights of all mankind and commitment to the defense of the rights of all Americans. These contemptible little men do not speak for what is just, noble, and best about America. They ought to face what they would deny their fellow citizens: the full extent of the law."
Republican Party of Arkansas
The Republican Party of Arkansas deplores the recent violence in our country caused by extremists whose values we do not share. We stand against the agenda of the so-called neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacist groups whose only vision for America is one of hate and exclusion. The Republican Party rejects and renounces racial animus and bigotry. Our Party is open to all Arkansans who share the dream of America’s founding ideals of liberty and opportunity for all. There is no place in the Republican Party for people who promote and condone racial hatred.
The unfortunate and deplorable events in Charlottesville were immoral and unjust. The Republican Party endorses Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous statement that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
LITTLE ROCK, AR- Construction is well underway at the Rockefeller Republican Center. The steel skeleton of the new Gov. Asa Hutchinson Historium has seemingly sprouted up from the ground overnight and has already eclipsed the current RPA homestead. There are temporary scars on the lawn and parking lot from the heavy equipment that has dug into it over the past few weeks. Foundation, plumbing, electric veins are being set to someday provide for good people who will one day soon enjoy it.
Imagine for a moment your first time entering the new building, walking up and through the modern portico entrance into a reception area featuring a gallery of busts of Arkansan leaders. The reception area is open and inviting with historically significant displays placed around the room.
Above you notice the glowing "Freedom Rings" layered in red, white, and blue. It is the centerpiece light fixture, appearing spacious and pleasant by accompanied sky lit windows. The new addition will also feature two public office spaces for all elected officials, friends, and volunteers to work in private or for an occasional meeting.
To the left, enter the door to the soon to be Huckabee Administration Wing and see RPA staff working busily in what is now the current office building. Step through the doors on the right of the reception room, and you may find Chairman Doyle Webb speaking to a group of 200+ attendees in the Hammerschmidt Hall, complete with a catering kitchen among other amenities.
While we here at the RPA continue our enthusiastic work to grow the Republican Movement in Arkansas, we are occasionally reminded by the banging steel and the roar of backhoes, of our humble beginnings, and the bright future all Arkansas Republicans will surely make possible. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, swing by the RPA headquarters and see it for yourself. It is the result of the hard work and dedication you and many other Arkansans earned and rightfully deserve.
You can immortalize your name on a wall in the Parks Diversity Plaza by donating $150 and we will add a personalized brick, with your choice of text, to be proudly displayed for generations to come. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.