Normally, I discuss Arkansas General Assembly bills with Luke and we both offer our insight on the issue at hand. However, in light of the quick turnover of information, I am flying solo on this update.
Last week, the House Education Committee voted Do Pass HB 1222, a voucher bill that stands to divert millions of dollars of public money and revenue to private schools. It was placed on the House calendar for general floor debate today; but, in a shocking twist, it has been sent back to committee for further amendment.
Luke and I have discussed in the past why we oppose this bill. The education savings accounts allocated in this bill mirror private school vouchers. The states that were used as policy models for shaping this bill utilize programs and vouchers like the proposed ESAs to funnel money from public to private schools. Despite claims that programs like this exist to open private education to all socioeconomic classes, voucher programs have been shown to increase social, economic, and racial divisions and HB 1222 will not be an exception.
But discussion amongst ourselves is not enough. In order for representatives to know where their constituents stand, the constituents (i.e. you) need to contact them with their (i.e. your) concerns. If you are uncomfortable with phone conversations, please ask to just leave a message or send a brief email. If you are comfortable with phone calls, the easiest way to reach your representative is to call the Arkansas House of Representatives main line and leave a message for your district’s representative. The main switchboard is 501-682-6211.
Unsure of who your representative is or what district you are in? Follow this link for a complete listing of all state representatives and this link to find your district. If you have any further difficulty, please feel free to comment or us the contact section of this site to get in touch with Luke or myself- we will gladly help out!
In parting, I am including the latest engrossment of HB 1222 below. If you have any questions about it or other bills in session, please do not hesitate to contact us. Stay safe, stay warm, and stay informed!
***Update: HB 1222 is scheduled for the 3/14/17 House Education committee meeting at 10:00 am***