ACLU's session report: Good and bad | Arkansas Blog

ACLU's session report: Good and bad




The ACLU of Arkansas has issued its 2013 Legislative Session Summary, and it's not all bad, though the bad bills were so bad that the good didn't really rise to the surface to buoy spirits.

Looking on the sunny side, the ACLU noted several good outcomes, include three privacy protection bills by Rep. Nate Steel, D-Nashville, to prohibit private and public employers (HB1901) and institutions of higher learning (HB1902, now Act 1480) from requiring employees to disclose passwords on social media accounts and restrictions on data kept by license plate readers (HB1996. now Act 998); and Rep. John Edwards' bill (HB1484, now Act 506) to cut down on red tape and the time the mentally ill are held in jail before adjudication.

Also on the positive side: Bad bills that the ACLU opposed and failed or were never. These include (but are not limited to) the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs), which would have allowed people to discriminate based on their own religious beliefs, and another to undo state Education Department rules that require that preschools receiving state funding do not violate the First Amendment by providing religious teachings (Sen. Cecile Rogers Bledsoe, R-Rogers, and Rep. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis).

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