ICYMI: Weekly Legislative Update Feb. 27-March 3

HEALTH: HB1465, a bill to freeze enrollment in the Medicaid expansion program for low-income adults, passed out of the House of Representatives this week. The bill, which prevents any newly eligible people from enrolling in the health coverage program Arkansas Works, will now be presented to the Senate Public Health Committee.

AACF also released a one-page fact sheet and short video this week about the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal on Arkansas’s kids. According to the Urban Institute, repealing the ACA will double the number of uninsured kids. In Arkansas, this means that at least 34,000 kids would lose their coverage. Moreover, as many as 127,000 Arkansas children could lose coverage if we get rid of the federal law that keeps ARKids First eligibility requirements at current levels. Read more here. 

EDUCATION: As part of the Arkansans for Quality Education Coalition, AACF joined our partners at the Capitol this week in urging legislators to focus on research-based policies that are proven to help students and teachers. “Tax cuts and the big overwhelming emphasis on trying to do too much around choice – when it is not dictated by the research and when a lot of these other strategies are supported by the research – affects the investment you need to make in education and in other areas that impact children and families,” said AACF Executive Director Rich Huddleston at the press conference, which was covered by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The coalition unanimously agrees that investing in quality pre-K and after-school and summer programs are just two of the many proven programs that would make the biggest return on investment in children’s lives and our state’s education system and workforce. Read the coalition’s full statement, “Providing Arkansas Students a Public Education System of Excellence.”

FAMILY ECONOMIC SECURITY: A bill affecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is back with an amendment. Now, in addition to limiting the types of foods SNAP users can purchase, this bill (HB1035) would also require Arkansans to show ID before making purchases at grocery stores. Because of federal regulations, this has ripple effects that will cause problems for local grocers, and it will ultimately limit families from obtaining the food they need. Read more in a blog post here.

See below for a look at all the bills we’re tracking so far. Keep an eye on our blog for the latest news and updates. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional thoughts and analysis.