Arkansas Senate Fails To Pass Racial Impact Legislation

Apr 6, 2013

The Arkansas Senate has rejected legislation that would have required racial impact  statements for any legislation that creates new criminal offenses or changes existing sentencing laws.  

The Senate voted 15-10 on Friday in favor of the bill by Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock requiring the statements, which would detail how legislation would affect minorities in the state. It needed 18 votes in the 35-member Senate.  

      Elliott's proposal would have required sponsors to consider amending their bill if the statement indicates a disparate impact on minority groups and to explain their reasoning if they don't make any changes.  Elliott has said the proposal would help educate legislators on the unintended consequences of proposals.  The Senate later expunged its vote, meaning Elliott could bring it back for reconsideration later.