LITTLE ROCK — Legislative committees Wednesday rejected a proposal to boost funding for early childhood education and advanced a proposal to limit what low-income Arkansans can buy with government assistance.
Also, proposals to fund an electronic filing system for campaign finance reports, prohibit colleges and universities from hiring navigators to help people enroll in health insurance and abolish the Capitol Zoning District Commission in Little Rock advanced. A proposal aimed at reducing election costs was rejected and proposals to boost funding for public libraries were put on hold.
The Joint Budget Committee rejected a proposed amendment to a Department of Education appropriation bill to increase funding for the Arkansas Better Chance early childhood education program by $10 million.
"We've been stagnant over the last eight years, except for some one-time money we put in. Pre-K is still suffering the same problems of quality and availability," said the amendment's sponsor, Rep. Michael John Gray, D-Augusta. "Studies show that pre-K reduces crime, reduces the cost of incarceration, (leads to) higher graduation rates, reduces the chances of these children being on social welfare programs."