From afar, politics is a tedious, uninteresting, and complex tangle of procedures and machinations, leaving some to believe that it is hopeless to try to influence changes in the law-making process. However, those who put in the effort while participating in a grassroots movement recognize the benefits of getting involved. No matter the outcome, when people get involved, they know that their voice matters, which can have a lasting effect on how they perceive the political process. Many in the Arkansas human resources community shared that experience when the Arkansas SRHM State Council (ARSHRM) sent out a call for action to stop a troublesome bill from becoming law.
ARSHRM determined that SB 71, An Act To Prohibit Discrimination In Peripheral Treatment By The State Of Arkansas, And Other Public Entities, aimed to reduce rather than increase the equal protection rights of Arkansans, and that was the start of this movement.
One of the main points of contention was removing affirmative action planning enforcement, and the bill also appeared flawed in several other ways. That's when ARSHRM launched a grassroots movement within Arkansas' human resources community to help block the passing of this bill into law.
In this effort, every voice mattered. Those who read the bill and agreed with the ARSHRM’s opinion were encouraged to contact their legislators, and many answered the call. The bill failed to pass the House and was recommended for study in the Interim Committee on STATE AGENCIES & GOVT'L AFFAIRS-SENATE.
If you were one of the HR professionals who contacted your legislator to vote against this bill, thank you for getting involved and being a part of the solution; your participation made a difference. And if your legislator voted against the bill, sending a thank you email to your legislator is good practice. This is an appropriate way to build a relationship with your legislators, which makes it easier to get your message through the next time you need to be heard. There will be a next time; there always is.
During our June NOARK Members' meeting, Tim Orellano, ARSHRM Professional Development Director, and Steve Schulte, ARSHRM Government Affairs Director, two significant players in this movement, will share their personal accounts of the process. It is an excellent opportunity to learn how to be more involved in local politics.
Never forget the Arkansas state motto: Regnat Populus, Latin for "The People Rule"!
Russell Holt, Legislative Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee
You can find out what ARSHRM is tracking by clicking the link below.