It’s time to raise your voices and speak up!
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas has called a special session for state lawmakers to discuss tax cuts, new restrictions on public record access, and a ban on some vaccine mandates. The session runs Monday, September 11th through Wednesday the 13th, with the possibility of an extension.
PAWPAC finds the content of this session concerning and urges you to step up and voice your opinion. Here’s how you can do that this week.
Email each of your legislators
You have two reps: one in the Senate and one in the House. Go to the Arkansas District Finder and enter your address. Click on the Senate District button to get their information, then do the same for your House District. Email them ASAP.
Best practices for emailing your legislators:
- Be courteous and polite.
- In the subject line to your House Rep, write “Constituent Feedback on (insert bill # starting with HB).” Or if you’re only addressing one, just include the number of that bill.
- In the subject line to your Senator, write “Constituent Feedback on (insert bill # starting with SB).” Or if you’re only addressing one, just include the number of that bill.
- Tell them succinctly why you oppose the bill(s), and make it personal if you can.
Call each of your legislators
The number listed will probably be a cell phone. You will likely not get an answer, but you can leave a succinct message.
When you call, say this: “I am your constituent and urge you to vote no on tax cuts, weakening FOIA, and banning vaccine mandates.” If you care to elaborate, you may, but you don’t have to do so. If you get an answer, don’t argue and simply state why you are calling. If the voicemail is full, you can often text the number with the same short message.
Send a pink slip to each of your legislators
Here are the numbers to make these calls:
House in-session number: 501-682-6211
House out of session number: 501-682-7771
Senate in-session number: 501-682-2902
Senate out of session number: 501-682-6107
In the 11am session of the full chambers, they assign any bills to committee. That will give you guidance on which committees to watch for and send pink slips to. If this is confusing, it’s designed that way. Fewer people can be there in person to testify, and fewer people know who to “harass” on committee before a bill passes from committee to the full Chamber.
When you call, say this: “Hello, I’d like to send a pink slip to (insert your legislator’s name) telling them I oppose HB1001, HB1002, and HB1003 (in the House) or SB1001, SB1002, and SB7 (in the Senate).” They’ll write that message down and hand-deliver it to your legislator on the floor. A pile of pink slips on their desk in front of them sends a strong message.
Overview of bills and PAWPAC’s response
HB1001 TO REDUCE THE INCOME TAX RATES APPLICABLE TO INDIVIDUALS, TRUSTS, ESTATES, AND CORPORATIONS; TO CREATE AN INFLATIONARY RELIEF INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR CERTAIN TAXPAYERS; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.
The surplus money in Arkansas is not being used to help hungry children or mental health issues. Instead, the Governor and super majority are using it to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations. The tax cut for Arkansans who earn less than $90,000 per year is small and will only be given once, so it won’t have a significant impact.
HB1002 TO PROHIBIT THE GOVERNMENT FROM MANDATING A VACCINATION OR IMMUNIZATION FOR CORONAVIRUS 2019 (COVID-19) OR ANY SUBVARIANTS OF CORONAVIRUS 2019 (COVID-19), OR BOTH; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.
This is purely political and aimed at energizing her base. Requiring that the health department discourage people from getting the vaccine puts us all at risk.
HB1003 TO AMEND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT OF 1967; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.
This bill did not garner enough votes, so the bill below was filed.
HB1009 (revised bill filed 9/11/2023 9:44:05 PM) TO AMEND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT OF 1967; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.
HB1010 (revised bill filed 9/12/2023 12:42:52 PM) TO AMEND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT OF 1967; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.
All of these bills are very concerning. They take power from the people by removing government transparency. Arkansas is currently known as having one of the strongest FOIA laws in the nation. If this bill passes, it will be a huge loss for citizens. Check out this blog post from PAWPAC about FOIA. It discusses one of our endorsed elected officials who is working to increase transparency, and the fight she has on her hands.
Wrapping it up
We hope that you’ll engage with your legislators this week. The more they hear from constituents, the better. Remember: they work for us!
Lastly, don’t forget to show your support for PAWPAC. We provide direct financial support to progressive women who are running for office. Women who understand the need in their communities and are ready to fight for what’s right. Help us support their election campaign! Click here to contribute to PAWPAC once — or become a sustaining donor!