The House Thursday defeated a couple of resolutions from the Senate, pet projects of Sen. Jason Rapert, on social issues.
The Senate resolutions asked for constitutional conventions to 1) define life as beginning at conception (and thus make abortion illegal everywhere) and 2) define marriage as one man-one woman (thus overriding Supreme Court law that legalized same-sex marriage.)
Rep. Jana Della Rosa spoke against both resolutions, continuing a long campaign against constitutional convention measures because of the potential for unintended consequences — runaway conventions that take up many subjects. She noted the number of various topics pending from many states, including a pending identical resolution from Arkansas on abortion passed years ago. (Sponsor Rep. Bob Ballinger said, in effect, you can’t be too careful.)
“Can we please just stop?” she asked.
The House did, defeating the anti-abortion amendment call 29-38.
Rep. David Meeks urged, on the marriage amendment, for the state to stand up against federal decisions. Rep. Mickey Gates invoked Dred Scott, the 19th century decision that upheld slavery, in urging a call to override same-sex marriage.
“Just because it’s legal, don’t make it right,” Gates said.
These votes do not, of course, reflect sentiment on abortion or same-sex marriage. But fear of constitutional conventions (and, who knows, maybe a little Rapert factor) prevented the kind of rote response that, for example, gun measures typically get.
PS: Earlier today, Della Rosa spoke in committee in favor of legislation to wait two years before counting tests scores by non-English speakers against whether a school falls short of sufficiency as measured by standardized test scores. There are lots of non-native-English speakers in her area and elsewhere. She was, of course, exactly right. It’s patently unfair to judge a school a failure when its Spanish-speaking students have a hard time with a test administered in English. (Thinking of the oft-derided Hall High School in Little Rock here.