Civil Rights and Election Reform Caucus

The Civil Rights Caucus of the CFC works on issues related to racial equity issues, prison and sentencing reform, election reform, and protecting the rights of All Arkansans.

Chair: William El-Amin

Priority Issues

• Create juvenile diversion programs to help at-risk youth.

• Decarcerate Arkansas, curbing the extreme growth of Arkansas’ prison population which disproportionately affects people of color, the poor, people with mental illnesses, and other minority groups.

• Upgrade Arkansas’ voter registration system to create greater accessibility.

Key legislation 

Priority Bills We Support

  • HB1494: Rep. Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff; in House Judiciary Committee. Expands protections against the imposition of the death penalty for those with serious mental illness.

Priority Bills We Oppose

  • HB1059: Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-Clarksville; deferred in House Judiciary Committee. A “Stand Your Ground” bill.

  • HB1239: Rep. Rebecca Petty, R-Rogers; passed. Allows the expansion of warrantless searches of property to include garage and outbuilding spaces of a probationer or parolee’s residence.

  • HB1289: Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro; in House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. Allows healthcare professionals to refuse treatment to patients if it violates their conscience, which includes religious and ethical guidelines, without threat of employment retaliation.

  • HB1489: Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio. Increases the penalty for petition fraud from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

  • SB7: Sen. Alan Clark, R-Lonsdale; passed. Allows legislators to attend closed juvenile hearings.

  • SB109: Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View; in House Judiciary Committee. Amends language to include the assault of correctional officers by juveniles as punishable by 10-40 years in prison.

  • SB198: Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville; referred to Senate Judiciary Committee, deferred. Allows a study on the feasibility of establishing law enforcement agencies within school districts.

Bills We Are Monitoring

  •  HR1006: Rep. Brandt Smith R-Jonesboro; read and adopted. This racially-charged legislation encourages law enforcement to suspend contact and outreach with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, asserting that CAIR is a front for terrorism.

  • HB1004: Rep. Charles Blake, D-Little Rock; in House State Agencies and Govt. Affairs Committee, deferred. This system reform would expedite and automate the process of voter registration.

  • HB1016: Rep. Sarah Capp, R-Ozark; passed. Reduces the wait time to seal a petition from 90 to 30 days.

  • HB1152: Rep. Justin Boyd, R-Forth Smith; passed. Amends filing deadlines for elections involving independent candidates.

  • SB9: Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado; referred to Senate Judiciary Committee, deferred. Grants law enforcement officers employed with the social security administration the authority to arrest.

  • SB90: Sen. Alan Clark, R-Lonsdale; re-referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. Amends the law concerning evidence presented during probable cause hearings.

  • SB116: Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville; passed. Language charges that no incarcerated persons can take action against their living conditions until all administrative resources have been exhausted.

  • SB149: Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway; passed. Immediately bans abortion in Arkansas should the Supreme Court overturn of Roe vs. Wade.

  • SB152: Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View; passed.

  • SB221: Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton; referred to Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. Changes language that could allow for the expansion of mental health-related roadblocks in the consideration of death penalty sentencing.

  • SB313: Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock; referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. A transparency bill that requires the state parole board to release findings of fact when it denies parole or transfer or a person otherwise eligible for release on parole or transfer from the Department of Correction.