Good and Bad Bills Passed And/Or Failed from Conservative Viewpoint
SB 959 Banning Gay Adoption and Foster Care was named as one of the good bills that failed. In his introduction Jerry included this interesting paragraph on this bill.
"The same day the House Judiciary Committee rejected the bill to ban homosexuals from adopting children, they passed a bill by Sen. Percy Malone (D) Arkadelphia that bans smokers from being foster parents. The same lawmakers who told us they couldn’t support our ban on homosexual foster care because children were in desperate need of foster homes didn’t hesitate to reduce the number of potential foster homes by baring smokers from being foster parents. While Family Council doesn’t condone either one, it is a sad day when lawmakers think it is more acceptable to be gay than to smoke cigarettes. The ACLU worked tirelessly on behalf of the homosexuals, but didn’t lift a finger to help the smokers keep their right to be foster parents."
Below are the other details on this bill included in the Family Council letter. Family Council is now in the process of determining when and how to put this issue before the people for a vote. Raising the money for this project is a big concern. Any donation toward this project can be sent to Family Council,414 S Pulaski St., Suite 2, Little Rock, AR 72201.
"Defeated: Banning Gay Adoption and Foster Care: SB 959: Senator Shawn Womack of Mountain Home. In 2006, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services’ regulations banning homosexuals from serving as foster parents. The Court ruled that the Child Welfare Agency Review Board that set the policy had no authority to do so. The Court stated that the issue of regulating gay foster parenting was an issue more appropriately addressed by the legislature. The court did not rule on whether or not a ban on homosexual foster parents would be constitutional.
"Family Council worked with Senator Womack to draft the strongest law of this type in the nation. The law banned homosexuals from serving as foster parents or adopting children. The law also banned couples living together out of wedlock from adopting for serving as foster parents. The law drafted for Arkansas was patterned after Florida’s ban on gay adoption and Utah’s ban on adoption or foster care by cohabiting couples. The Florida law has been upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Utah law remains in force. The Arkansas Senate passed the bill. Here is how they voted.
"Twenty senators voted to ban gay adoption: Altus, Baker, Bisbee, Book out, Capps, Critter, Farris, Glover, Hendrix, Horn, G. Jeffers, B. Johnson, Livery, Malone, Miller, Pritchard, Trusty, Whitaker, Wilkinson, Womack
"Seven senators voted against banning gay adoption: Argue, Brown, Bridles, Crumbly, Madison, Salmon, Steele
"Seven senators did not vote: Hill, J. Jeffers, Luke, T. Smith
"Two senators were had excused absences: Broadway, Taylor
"On two previous occasions, the Arkansas House of Representatives had debated the issue of gay adoption. In both cases, the legislation had been assigned to the Aging, Children, Youth, and Military Affairs Committee. In spite of appeals by members of the House of Representatives, Speaker Benny Petrus of Stuttgart assigned the bill to the House Judiciary Committee. This move effectively killed the bill. The House Judiciary Committee is a liberal and inexperienced committee and has only two Republican members out of 20. Kathy Webb, the legislature’s only openly lesbian member, is a member of the Judiciary Committee. In spite of the fact that similar laws in Florida, Utah, and Mississippi have been allowed to stand, Governor Mike Beebe undermined the bill by questioning its constitutionality.
"The bill to ban gay adoptions and foster care was debated for almost 2 hours in the House Judiciary Committee. Here is our commentary on how each member dealt with or didn’t deal with the issue. At the end, a voice vote was taken. There was no roll call. We have no official way of knowing how each member voted. However, some did tell how they voted after the meeting. Some told us where they stood before the hearing began.
"1. Robert Jeffery (Chairman), (D) Camden: Indicated before the hearing began that he would support the bill. He did a good job of
moderating the hearing. He provided ample time for a “do pass” motion to be made. We were unable to determine if he voted when the voice vote was taken.
2. Jon Woods (R) Springdale: Voted for the bill and made the “do pass” motion, but did not speak in favor of the bill.
3. John Paul Wells (D) Paris: Voted for the bill but did not speak in favor of the bill.
4. Lamont Cornwell (D) Benton: Voted for the bill but did not speak in favor of the bill.
5. Aaron Burkes (R) Lowell: Voted for the bill but did not speak in favor of the bill.
6. Steven Breedlove (D) Greenwood: Indicated that he opposed gay adoption. Did not attend the hearings on the bill.
7. Charlotte Wagner (D) Manila: Indicated that she opposed gay adoption. Did not speak for the bill. We were unable to
determine how she voted on the voice vote.
8. Tommy Baker (D) Osceola: Rep. Baker told one of his constituents that he would support the bill. He did not speak for the bill.
We were unable to determine how he voted on the voice vote.
9. Bubba Powers (D) Hope: Indicated to one of his constituents that he opposed gay adoption. Did not speak for the bill. Asked
negative questions during the hearing. We were unable to determine how he voted on the voice vote.
10. Robert Moore (D) Arkansas City: Did not speak for or against the bill. We were unable to determine how he voted.
11. Earnest Brown (D) Pine Bluff: Did not speak for or against the bill. We were unable to determine how Rep. Earnest Brown
voted on the voice vote.
12. Jerry Brown (D) Wynne: Did not speak for or against the bill. We were unable to determine how Rep. Jerry Brown voted on
the voice vote.
13. Mark Pate (D) Bald Knob: Did not attend the hearing on the bill. He was present when the vote was taken. We were unable to
determine how he voted on the voice vote.
14. Joan Cash (D) Jonesboro: When contacted by a retired minister who was one of her constituents, she would not tell him how she
planned to vote or if she would be attending the hearing on the bill. She did not speak for or against the bill. We were unable
to determine how Rep. Cash voted on the voice vote.
15. Tracy Pennants (D) Fort Smith: Voted against the bill and spoke negatively about the bill.
16. Will Bond (D) Jacksonville: Voted against the bill but did not speak against the bill.
17. Chris Thyer (D) Jonesboro: Voted against the bill but did not speak against the bill.
18. David Johnson (D) Little Rock: Voted against the bill and asked negative questions of the sponsor of the bill.
19. Kathy Webb (D) Little Rock: Voted against the bill, spoke against the bill, and spoke negatively toward a person who testified
for the bill.
20. Steve Harrelson (D) Texarkana: Voted against the bill. Spoke against the bill. In the opinion of Family Council, Rep.
Harrelson was unnecessarily rude to a witness who testified in favor of the bill.
"After the bill to ban gay adoptions failed to pass the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Frank Glide well (R) of Fort Smith asked that the bill be placed on the House Agenda for the purpose of voting to pull the bill out of the committee and bring it to a vote of the entire House of Representatives. Speaker Benny Petrus opposed the move to pull the bill out of the committee with a floor vote. Over the weekend before the session ended, the motion to pull the bill out of the committee mysteriously disappeared from the House Agenda. Rep. Glide well inquired as to why his motion had been removed from the agenda. He was told that the Speaker thought he wanted the motion pulled down. Rep. Glide well informed the speaker that this was not the case. With only two days left in the session and short of the 67 votes needed the pull the bill out of the committee, Rep. Glide well did not have the motion placed back on the agenda. "