Unfortunately, SB 71 Advanced to the Senate Floor
In my last blog post, I wrote about the Arkansas State Council's (ARSHRM) hard work trying to stop SB71, titled "An Act to Prohibit Discrimination or Preferential Treatment by the State of Arkansas and Other Public Entities."
The major problem that ARSHRM had with the bill seemed to be its intent to eliminate any affirmative action planning (AAP) enforcement. As we know, when AAP is in place, it helps prevent discrimination regarding hiring, promotion, termination, or compensation.
The Women's Foundation of Arkansas also took a stance against SB 71. ARSHRM and the Women's Foundation of Arkansas met and shared notes on this issue, working to build a solid front during the public hearing process to keep this bill from passing and moving out of the State Agency committee to the Senate floor.
The public hearing process can be frustrating. If a bill is on the agenda to be heard, the sponsor (a legislator supporting it) can hear it whenever they want, commonly called running the bill. The sponsor typically knows how many 'yes' or 'no' votes there are before they run the bill. If a bill looks like it will fail based on potential 'no' votes, the sponsor will usually not run it, giving the legislator more time to lobby for the necessary number of 'yes' votes.
Kudos to AR SHRM's Council's Professional Development Director, Tim. Orellano, PHR, and all the other dedicated ARSHM members who took time out of their schedules to show up to the hearings to speak in opposition to the bill only to have it pulled several times.
The State Agency finally ran the bill on the 7th of March and was approved by a voice vote, despite the efforts of everyone involved.
This bill will now move to the Senate floor. ARSHRM advises that those with a strong view of the bill communicate with their state legislator to express their sentiments.
For more information, please read the bill: An Act to Prohibit Discrimination or Preferential Treatment by the State of Arkansas and Other Public Entities
https://www.arkleg.state.ar. us/Bills/FTPDocument?path=% 2FBills%2F2023R%2FPublic% 2FSB71.pdf
This link is to find each district’s legislator
District Finder (youraedi.com)
Russell Holt, Legislative Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee