Arkansas Audubon Society Ecology Camp Sessions

We need your help! The Arkansas Audubon Society needs your help to recruit 11- and 12-year-old boys and girls (current 5th and 6th graders) for this June’s Halberg Ecology Camp sessions. Campers learn about seven different subjects- ornithology, mammalogy, aquatic biology, herpetology, entomology, geology and botany- during the Sunday to Friday sessions. The first session will be Sunday June 11 through Friday June 16, and the second session will be Sunday June 18 through Friday June 23.
> Classes of 8-10 campers are taught by two instructors who work together in each class. It’s intense, it’s expensive and it works!
> The camp has a staff of about 24 adults including a director and assistant director, 14 instructors, 5 kitchen staff, registered nurse, activities director and others. We rent Camp Clearfork, about 20 miles west of Hot Springs, from the U.S. Forest Service. The entire camp is closed to outsiders during our rental period, and is a very secure and safe environment.
> We only filled 77 of the 100 available first-year camper spots, 50 each session, last June. That’s 23 lost opportunities to teach youth about the wonders and intricacies of nature. Please be on the lookout for 11- and 12-year-old boys and girls who love nature, and who would be good applicants to attend camp this June.
> For families who can’t afford the regular tuition we have available funds that can be used for scholarships and tuition assistance. Tuition for first-year campers is $325 versus our actual cost of about $450 per camper.
> The important thing is to get the families of nature loving youths to complete and submit applications.
> Here’s a link to a digital copy of the camp brochure you can print and share with others:
> Feel free to share this with others willing to help recruit youth for this June’s Audubon Ecology Camp sessions. And please let me know if you have any questions about the Audubon Ecology Camp.
> Barry Haas
> Ecology Camp Treasurer

Civil Rights and the Arts in America

April 19: Civil Rights and the Arts in America
Join us at 7 p.m. on April 19 for “Civil Rights and the Arts in 2017 America: A Conversation with Terence Blanchard and Charles Blow.”

Terence Blanchard and Charles Blow will discuss the state of civil rights in the United States, as well as the uniqueness of music and the arts as a catalyst for unity. The event is a collaboration between MTCC, Oxford American Magazine, the Clinton School of Public Service, and UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication that is free and open to the public.

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‘Say it Loud!’ Lunch & Learn Panel Discussion on April 21
As part of the Say it Loud! literary event, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will host a Power Lunch Panel, “Impossible Without Partnerships and Community Support,” on April 21 to discuss collaborations and partnerships.The panelists for the program are Deborah Bell, Tim Edwards, Bettye Kerns, Dr. Billy Thomas and Janice Wilson.
This free program begins at noon; bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.
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MTCC to host authors during Arkansas Literary Festival
On April 27, MTCC will host two authors as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival.
At noon, inspiring poet Marquese McFerguson leads a bold writing workshop for aspiring poets and those interested in civil rights.
Then, at 6:30 p.m., be privy to The Wide Circumference of Love as Marita Golden discusses some of the research she conducted on Alzheimer’s disease for her new book of fiction. Golden “deftly explores this nuanced and timely subject through the African American experience.”
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Vendor applications available for Juneteenth 2017
Juneteenth 2017 is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. on June 17 and promises to be our biggest and best yet!
Find out how you can become a vendor at this year’s event!
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‘Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece’ on April 29
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, in partnership with the Foreign Tongues Poetry Troupe, presents “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece” on April 29.

This free poetry event will feature a performance by special guest Ed Mabrey, the current most winning slam poet, two-time Southern Fried champion and four-time Individual World Poetry Slam champion

Arkansas Ballot Issues

April 18, 2017
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Voter ID, “Tort Reform” Amendments on 2018 Ballot
Legislators Reject Third Proposal and Gas Tax Vote
Arkansas voters will decide in November 2018 whether showing photo identification should be an official requirement of voting and whether to establish dollar limits for financial damages in certain types of lawsuits.
Legislators went home this month after referring the two constitutional amendments to voters.
Arkansas’ constitution limits legislators to putting three constitutional amendments on the ballot, but they rejected a proposal that sought to change the ballot issue process. Additional highway funding bills that would have required voter approval were also rejected before the unofficial end of the session.
Legislators in the House and Senate agreed to put on the ballot:
  • SJR8, an amendment that would establish a dollar limit for financial damages awarded in certain types of lawsuits, shift authority from the state supreme court to the legislature in setting court rules and procedures, and limit how much attorneys are paid in medical injury lawsuits. Supporters of these types of laws often use the phrase “tort reform” when talking about them.
  • HJR1016, an amendment that would require citizens present photo identification when voting and the state to provide photo identification to eligible voters free of charge.

The deadline for citizen-led proposals is not until next summer. We’ll keep you updated on any changes over the next year.

Get Engaged. Get Informed.
The Public Policy Center has published nonpartisan fact sheets on Arkansas’ statewide ballot issues since 2004. We welcome your questions at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Did you know?
Eighteen measures have been certified to appear on statewide ballots across the United States in 2018. Twelve of these measures have come from state legislatures and include the legalization of medical marijuana, regulations on energy markets, and decisions on how tax revenues can be used.
Source: Ballotpedia 
LegislatureLegislative Ballot Issues

Legislators are able to refer up to three constitutional amendments to the voters every general election. These two proposals will be the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot.
SJR8 – A constitutional amendment limiting contingency fees and awards of punitive and non-economic damages; and changing the powers of the General Assembly and the Supreme Court regarding rules of pleading, practice, and procedure.
Read SJR8


HJR1016 – A constitutional amendment adding as a qualification to vote that a voter present certain valid photographic identification when casting a ballot in person or casting an absentee ballot.

Read HJR1016

AGLooking Forward – Potential 2018 Ballot Issues from Citizens
Attorney General Opinions
The Attorney General is responsible for reviewing the language and titles of potential ballot issues submitted to voters by the public. Ballot issue groups can circulate petitions only after the Attorney General verifies that the ballot title and popular name honestly, intelligibly and fairly describe the purpose of a proposed constitutional amendment or act. The following are recent Attorney General opinions regarding potential ballot issues:
Ballot proposals rejected
April 17, 2017 – An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Legalizing Gambling to the Fairplay Holdings Ballot Question Committee Member(s) with the Sale, Service, and Complimentary Service of Alcoholic Beverages as a Municipal, and or County, Ballot Measure –  A proposal to allow a company to initiate a local election to allow a casino was rejected in part because of the length of the popular name and ballot title, according to Opinion No. 2017-042.
This is the seventh time this proposal has been rejected. See Opinion No. 2017-029 (March 20, 2017), Opinion No. 2017-016 (Feb. 24, 2017), Opinion No. 2017-001 (Jan. 19, 2017), Opinion No. 2016-133 (Dec. 27, 2016), Opinion No. 2016-109 (Nov. 7, 2016) and Opinion No. 2016-099 (Oct. 10, 2016). Barry Emigh of Hot Springs submitted the measure. 
April 7, 2017 – The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2018 – A proposal seeking to legalize the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of recreational marijuana, and which would release from incarceration people who were convicted of violating laws related to marijuana was rejected. Opinion No. 2017-040 cited several sections where the intentions of the ballot language were unclear. Mary L. Berry of Summit submitted the proposal
March 20, 2017 – Arkansas Cannabis Hemp and Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2018 – A proposal seeking to legalize the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of recreational marijuana and cannabis hemp was rejected because of ambiguities in the text, according to  Opinion No. 2017-030.
This is the second time this proposal has been rejected. See Opinion No.2017-021 (March 3, 2017). Mary L. Berry of Summit submitted the proposal.
Ballot proposals approved for signature gathering
Oct. 28, 2016 – Arkansas Term Limits Amendment – A proposal to reduce the number of years a state senator or representative can serve in office was certified for signature gathering, according to Opinion No. 2016-105. The proposal would repeal Amendment 94, which voters passed in 2014 and extended term limits to 16 years for members of the General Assembly. Thomas Steele of Little Rock submitted the October measure.
Know of a potential ballot issue?
E-mail the information to or call Kristin Higgins at 501-671-2160.
You can find past newsletters and ballot issue fact sheets at
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The Public Policy Center was established in 2004 to provide Arkansans with timely, credible, unaligned and research-based information and education about public issues. Public issues are defined as pressing and emerging issues that involve multiple points of view and have widespread consequences. Our goals are to:
  • increase citizen knowledge, awareness and understanding of public issues;
  • enhance public participation in decisions regarding public issues and
  • help citizens craft, evaluate and implement alternative solutions to public issues.
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture –
News & Notes Volume 5, Issue 5. This e-mail newsletter is shared with Cooperative Extension Service agents, subscribers from the general public and election officials or educators identified by the Public Policy Center. To unsubscribe, click below on “instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe.”
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


ASO Concertmasters Kiril Laskarov and Andrew Irvin are featured on double concerto from J.S. Bach and Michael Fine – a world premiere from the Grammy-winning composer and producer – and Copland’s exploration of American folk themes closes the Intimate Neighborhood Concerts Series at Christ Episcopal Church on Scott Street in downtown Little Rock.
Get Your Concert Tickets Now!

Orchestras Feeding America Food Drive Continues at Appalachian Spring

Get FREE tickets to an upcoming concert! Bring 12 non-perishable food items and get a voucher good for a pair of tickets to any upcoming concert this season or next season. More than 500,000 children, seniors, and families in Arkansas don’t know where their next meal will come from. ASO is partnering with Arkansas Foodbank and Orchestras Feeding America. Your food donation makes a difference.


APR 28 Alexi Kenney Residency Concert

May 13-14

Back to the Future

Power up your DeLorean…recharge your flux capacitor… and get ready to celebrate this unforgettable movie classic as you’ve never seen and heard it before!

Support ASO Music Education Programs at this exciting fundraiser!

APR 28

Thank you to ASO Season Sponsors:
Copyright © 2017 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, All rights reserved.

State Rules in Favor of Parris, Cumberland, and Powell Towers

State officials overruled their own State Review Committee for Historic Preservation, which decided against granting National Register status to Parris, Cumberland and Powell towers, operated by the public housing authority, in December, and put the buildings on the National Register Mar. 7.

see posting online at:

The status clears the way for housing officials to obtain grant money for renovations to the buildings, continuing their usage after their expected lifespan – according to the experts who prepared the applications. The approach follows unsuccessful efforts to get maintenance funding elsewhere.

2017 Arkansas Fair Housing/Lending Conference

Arkansas Fair Housing Commission

2017 Annual Arkansas Fair Housing/Fair Lending Conference
April 19-21, 2017
Four Points by Sheraton
Little Rock, AR

Register HERE for Affirming Our Oneness

It’s less than one month away!! Don’t miss these exciting highlights:
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 events:
  • Historic Bus Tour – departs the Four Points by Sheraton (9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.)
  • Opening Reception – Four Points by Sheraton Grand Ballroom at 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 20, 2017 events:
  • Registration opens at 7:00 a.m.
  • Opening Session begins at 8:00 a.m. in the  Grand Ballroom
  • Keynote Luncheon begins at 12:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom
  • Sessions end at 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 21, 2017 events:
  • Registration opens at 7:00 a.m.
  • Opening Session begins at 8:00 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom
  • Keynote Luncheon begins at 12:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom
  • Sessions end at 4:00 p.m.
Our annual Fair Housing Act celebration kick off Wednesday, April 19, 2017, with a number of activities designed to highlight special contributions that you and other public servants, community and industry leaders have made to enhance the quality of life for those who call Arkansas home.
Our 2017 conference, “Affirming Our Oneness: Affirming Our Oneness: One Community ◊ One Justice ◊ One People ◊ One Goal,” will be held during National Fair Housing Month on April 19-21, 2017, at the Four Points by Sheraton, 925 South University, Little Rock, AR 72204.
CLE Credits Pending
We look forward to seeing you! You may register online at are one per person for each event. Please enter name and email information for each individual registrant.
Have questions about 2017 Arkansas Fair Housing/Fair Lending Conference, “Affirming Our Oneness: One Community ◊ One Justice ◊ One People ◊ One Goal”? Contact the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission.
The AFHC’s mission is to receive, initiate, investigate, conciliate and/or resolve complaints alleging violations of the Arkansas Fair Housing Act.  The Arkansas Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.

If you believe your rights have been violated, you may report these violations to the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission

Solar Energy Expansion for Arkansas

Dear Friend,
Good news! Grassroots leaders successfully advocated for solar energy expansion in Arkansas!
The Arkansas Public Service Commission issued a new order that guarantees customers who invest in solar energy can lock in their current rates for 20 years. This provides the economic certainty one needs to invest in going solar.
The PSC’s order also clarifies language about who owns solar facilities, stipulating that a solar array may have multiple owners, and rejected the notion that lessees could be owners of solar arrays meaning it is up to the legislature to open the market for third party solar. However, the ruling leaves the door open for community solar, in which a solar system is jointly owned by multiple customers. 
Congratulations and thanks to Audubon Arkansas, Sierra Club-Arkansas Chapter, and everyone else who worked with the commission to promote solar in the Natural State!
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is a statewide organization dedicated to achieving social and economic justice by organizing citizen groups around the state, educating and supporting them to be more effective and powerful, and linking them with one another in coalitions and networks. The Panel seeks to bring balance to the public policy process in Arkansas.