Elliott introduced the legislation after the Senate Education committee rejected another of her bills, this one to ensure dyslexic students are receiving services. (We'll have more coverage of that bill later.) She said SB 710 and SB 712 were "a matter of transparency and good government … and being accountable to the public."
"This is just a fundamental thing that we are trying to do: That if [you] are using state funds … you shall comply with all the requirements of public and open meetings," she said of SB 710. There was no audible dissent on the initial voice vote, and the committee chair, Sen. Jane English initially said, "Obviously, the bill has passed." However, when another senator called for a roll call vote, only Elliott and fellow Democratic Sen. Uvalde Lindsey voted "yes"; the Republicans on the committee stayed silent, and the bill failed for lack of support. (On a roll call vote, a bill must receive five votes on the eight-member committee.)
Richard Hutchinson of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel spoke for SB 712, saying it was "a matter of transparency and making sure that people have the information about how their taxpayer dollars are spent." Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale), who sponsored legislation earlier this session favorable to charter schools, asked him, "If this bill were passed, would you then support school choice, in your organization?" Hutchinson said he was there to talk specifically about SB 712, and Clark voted "No" on the bill. The rest of the committee's Republicans again stayed silent on the roll call vote, and the measure failed for lack of support.