ARSHRM Council stands in Opposition to SB 71

One of the bills the Arkansas State Council (ARSHRM Council) is tracking was concerning enough for the members of the council to vote to oppose it. The bill is SB 71, An Act to Prohibit Discrimination and Preferential Treatment by the State of Arkansas and Other Public Entities.

On its face, the title would make one think this bill’s purpose is to work toward prohibiting discrimination or preferential treatment. However, some of the verbiage extracted from Arkansas‘s current law were statements about diversity, equity, inclusion, and civil rights. This raised some flags as to why remove that verbiage if you want to encourage those behaviors.

One of my efforts has been to find out from our legislators their reasoning for this bill. I asked them to help me understand what SB 71 is supposed to fix or make better. But as of the writing of this post, I have yet to hear from any of the legislators I have contacted.

After ARSHRM Council voted to oppose this bill, they started a grassroots effort to oppose it statewide.

ARSHRM Council’s Professional Development Director, Tim Orellano, PHR, is preparing to speak in opposition to SB 71 to the Senate State Agencies Committee on Thursday, March 2, 2023. I will post a follow-up detailing the results.

For now, this is an excellent opportunity for HR Professionals to influence legislation at the state level.

I encourage all NOARK members to read the bill’s text and contact your state legislators to express your opinion about HB 71.

Your email notification does not need to be official sounding. All you need to do is identify yourself, state your position regarding the bill and why you feel that way, and ask your elected official to support or oppose the bill. And then offer to provide more information or help if needed.

When you’re engaging with your legislators, be yourself and ask them for their support. Remember, they are elected to serve the people of the State of Arkansas; they work for us. But more importantly, ask them if you can help them by providing them with information from your perspective. Legislators need to hear from knowledgeable constituents to help them write well-reasoned bills.

Below is a link to SB 71:

SB71 as engrossed on 02-27-2023 09:55:09 (


Russell Holt, Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee