Five Democratic lawmakers have been honored for their work during the last session to improve the lives of children and families all across Arkansas. These five legislators delivered important legislative victories that will help strengthen families and build a better future for children in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families honored State Sen. Will Bond (Little Rock) State Sen. Joyce Elliott (Little Rock), Sen. Greg Leding (Fayetteville), State Rep. Megan Godfrey (Springdale), and State Rep. Jamie Scott (North Little Rock).
Sen. Bond earned his award by fighting hard for the health of our children. His bill, SB304, or the Arkansas Healthy Lifestyle Education Act, sought to provide a more rigorous health education curriculum. This bill would have made sure that our children are taught about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Sen. Elliott has long been a champion of education and children’s well-being in Arkansas. She continued leading the charge during the 2019 legislative session by passing Act 557 into law. It bans the use of corporal punishment on students with disabilities. Because of her hard work, and engagement with the community and educators, students with disabilities are now safer from abuse at school.
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Rep. Godfrey co-sponsored and passed Act 837, which allows DACA recipients to obtain nursing licenses, and Act 844, which ensures DACA recipients pay the same price as their classmates for an in-state college education. These are monumental wins that built off of past efforts from fellow Democrats like Sen. Elliott. This is great news for Arkansas and the state’s immigrant communities! Read more about it here >>>
Along with Rep. Vivian Flowers, Sen. Greg Leding passed Act 849, which banned child marriages in Arkansas. Because of this new law, innocent children in Arkansas will be protected from predators and abuse. Read more here >>>
Under the previous law 16-year-old girls and 17-year-old boys could get married with the consent of their parents. If a girl was pregnant, a judge could approve a marriage regardless of her age. Department of Health statistics show that more than 8,200 girls and 1,300 boys who were 17 or younger were married in Arkansas since 1999.
Rep. Jamie Scott made protecting children in the detention system a top priority. Because of hard work on Act 971, young people in Arkansas will be protected from the use of a severe, and often damaging, form of punishment. The new law prohibits the use of solitary confinement as a punishment for youths in most circumstances.
Read more about the great work of these representatives here: Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families: Cheers to our Legislative Champions!