It was a good week for ...
UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS. Sen. Joyce Elliott filed a bill that would allow anyone who attends high school in Arkansas for at least three years and graduates from an Arkansas high school or receives a GED to be eligible for in-state tuition rates at state colleges. That includes undocumented students — many who were brought here as small children and know no other country — who're currently forced to pay much higher out-of-state rates, a situation that puts extreme financial pressure on the students and their families. Under Elliott's bill, an undocumented student would have to file an affidavit with her state college of choice stating that she intends to work towards becoming legal. Co-sponsors of the measure include Sen. Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home), Rep. Les Carnine (R-Rogers), Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) and Rep. Sheilla Lampkin (D-Monticello).
BILL CLINTON. The former president wrote an impassioned editorial in the Washington Post calling for the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Clinton signed it into law in 1996.
It was a bad week for ...
WOMEN. The Arkansas House voted 56-33-1 to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of Sen. Jason Rapert's 12-week abortion ban, which means Arkansas has enacted the country's most restrictive abortion law. The act doesn't go into effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns; an injunction from a judge could halt it before it becomes law. Rapert celebrated the historic day by filing a bill aimed at crippling Planned Parenthood.
AN ESCAPE. A Jonesboro woman was placed under arrest after drunkenly trying to flee police in a child's battery-operated "Power Wheels" toy car after crashing her Pontiac into a mobile home and then removing her pants.
VOTER SUPRESSION. After speeding through the Senate and a House committee, Sen. Bryan King's bill to require voter ID hit a snag when Rep. Jim Nickels pointed out that it involves amending the Arkansas Constitution, which requires a supermajority in both chambers. The measure passed the Senate one vote short of a supermajority. At press time, the bill was headed to the House Rules Committee for study.
WEINER HIGH SCHOOL. The State Board of Education voted 5-2 to close Weiner High School, which includes grades 7-12. The Harrisburg School Board asked the state board to close the school, which was annexed into the Harrisburg district in 2010, and move its grades to Harrisburg campuses to save money.