Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill to allow colleges to charge in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students who've graduated from Arkansas high schools and had sufficient residency here failed in a Senate committee today.
Fox 16's David Goins reports that the bill was approved on a voice vote, but Republican Sen. Alan Clark asked for a roll call and the bill failed on a 4-4 tie, with Republican Sen. Jason Rapert out of the room.
The bill was amended to leave the decisions to individual schools, rather than mandate it for all.
* BACKGROUND CHECKS: A bill to require criminal background checks for political candidates failed on a roll call vote in a House committee.
* MARK MARTIN GETS A POLICE FORCE: A House committee endorsed a Senate-passed bill to authorize a "voter integrity" unit in the secretary of state's office to investigate election complaints. Republicans seem to think existing laws and agencies empowered to do this blow it off. They insist it is not partisan to vest this police power with Republican Martin to investigate and present results to the state board of election commissioners. His office says he can create this unit at no cost with existing employees. A spokesman insisted these same employees were already working full-time on other duties but would just work harder.
Susan Inman of the state Board of Election Commissioners said the investigative option already exists under the non-partisan board and said she favored giving the power to an independent, rather than partisan office.
* HOME SCHOOLING: The House today approved legislation that would allow home schoolers to participate in public school extracurricular activity.
* RAW MILK: The Senate voted 19-11 to approve a bill already passed in the House to allow farm sales of unpasteurized milk.
* EDIFICE COMPLEX: The Senate passed a House-passed bill to prevent naming publicly financed buildings after politicians until they've been out of office for 10 years.