jim dotson

Heightened requirements to put measures on the Arkansas ballot awaits Sanders’ signature

BY: - March 6, 2023

A proposed Arkansas law that would make it harder for citizen-led petitions to qualify for the statewide ballot passed the Senate and went to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ desk Monday. House Bill 1419 would require canvassers to gather signatures from at least 50 counties — up from the 15-county threshold laid out in Article 5 […]

Arkansas state Sen. Breanne Davis (R-Russellville) answers questions from fellow senators Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, about the governor's education overhaul bill, also known as Arkansas LEARNS. Davis is lead sponsor of Senate Bill 294. The bill, filed late Monday and heard in committee on Wednesday, passed the Senate by a vote of 25-7, with one senator voting present and two not voting. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate 02/23/2023)

Arkansas governor’s education package returns to Senate for final legislative approval

BY: - March 6, 2023

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ sweeping education bill will again be considered by the Arkansas Senate Tuesday, following committee approval Monday. Senate Bill 294, also called the LEARNS Act, is expected to clear the Senate and become law this week. Sanders said in a statement that she’ll sign the bill into law as soon as the […]

poll worker clean an electronic ballot machine

Arkansas committee OKs bill to make it harder for citizens to put initiatives on the ballot

BY: - February 16, 2023

A state Senate panel on Thursday advanced a proposal to make it harder for citizen-led petitions to qualify for the ballot, going even farther than a constitutional amendment Arkansans rejected from the Legislature in 2020. The Senate Committee on State Agencies and Government Affairs sent Senate Bill 260 to the full Senate in a split […]

Sen. Greg Leding

Committee tables legislation to increase funding for classified employee pay

BY: - February 15, 2023

The Senate Education Committee tabled a bill Wednesday that would increase per-student foundation funding in order to support a raise for public school districts’ classified employees. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 149, which would increase per-student foundation funding amounts from $7,349 to $8,195 for the 2023-2024 […]

Visitors at the Birkenau Museum view the many faces of the men, women and children who died at the Auschwitz II – death camp. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Arkansas bill to create Holocaust Education Week headed to House for a vote

BY: - February 2, 2023

A bill to establish Holocaust Education Week in Arkansas public schools unanimously passed the House Education Committee on Thursday and will go to the House for approval. Senate Bill 68 amends state law that requires Holocaust education to designate the last full week of classes in January as Holocaust Education Week.  The bill unanimously passed […]

Sen. Dan Sullivan

Higher education free expression bill halted in committee

BY: - February 1, 2023

After an hour of debate among Senate Education Committee members on Wednesday, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro) pulled down a bill he said was designed to protect free expression on college campuses.  “The intent of the bill is to allow students to be expressive and we’re seeing a lot of bills now that seek to restrict […]

school hallway lockers

Will a new governor and shifting Legislature mean the expansion of school choice in Arkansas?

BY: - December 30, 2022

A new governor and turnover in the state Legislature have proponents hopeful for the expansion of school-choice programs in the state during the 2023 legislative session. A coalition of Democrats and Republicans from mostly rural areas have blocked numerous school voucher bills in committee in past sessions. No legislation has been filed, but in interviews, […]