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Arkansas PoliticsHealthcare/Covid-19Read

Legislation Responding To Mandatory Vaccinations

This is a summary of five bills being considered by the Arkansas General Assembly concerning mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. Two of the bills are identical. These bills have made their way out of committee. This will give you a good overview of the types of legislation being considered.


HB1972 by Representative Josh Bryant and SB739 by Senator Kim Hammer are identical bills or in the process of being made identical.  The bills would establish a natural immunity exception to the vaccine by showing the presence of antibodies, a T cell response, or proof of a previous positive test for COVID-19 or its variants.

While the legislation should be supported, unfortunately, it is being called a “compromise bill” which means it may be the only protection passed. If so, workers who cannot show immunity are still subject to termination by employers mandating vaccination.

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SB731 by Senator Bob Ballinger would establish a right of privacy regarding vaccination status. It would prohibit employers from requiring the disclosure of an individual’s vaccination status and from retaliating against an individual for exercising that right to privacy. An employee or individual who is injured by an employer in violation of the bill will have the remedies and procedures available under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993, § 16-123-101 et seq.

SB731 is the broadest bill on protecting employees from vaccine mandates.

Unfortunately, Senator Ballinger said he will hold the bill, if SB739 concerning a natural immunity exemption passes.  Even if the natural immunity bill passes, without SB731 unvaccinated workers who do not have natural immunity will not be protected from termination.

Sen. Ballinger explained that even if he could get his bill passed with a majority it is unlikely his bill could get the 2/3rd majority in the Senate and House necessary to pass an emergency clause to make it effective immediately. Without the passage of the emergency clause the bill cannot become law until sometime in January, which is long after most employer deadlines pass for taking the vaccine. Even without the emergency clause this bill should be passed to show employers their vaccine mandates are out of step with Arkansas.

SB731 is the bill many legislators do not want to vote on because it will put them at odds with big corporations such as Walmart, Tyson, and several hospitals.

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SB730 by Senator Trent Garner allows employees terminated for not being vaccinated to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Employers are claiming the termination of unvaccinated employees is due to employees voluntarily leaving, not a firing. This bill clarifies that these employees have been terminated by the employers and are eligible for unemployment benefits.

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SB732 by Senator Blake Johnson prohibits employer coercion of employees to get them to take the COVID-19 vaccine.  Coercion does not include positive incentives.

The prohibition on coercion only applies if the unvaccinated employee is claiming a medical or religious exemption. Also it is unclear what happens if the employer coerces the employee in violation of the bill. The bill does not state any penalty or consequence for a violation.

Although the bill requires an employer to “consider” an employee’s exemption claim, the employer can reject the claim and the bill does not provide any standards for considering or rejecting an exemption. At least the bill provides a consequence if the employer totally fails to consider an exemption claim.  If the employer fails to consider the exemption claim, the employee can seek lost wages. Although the bill says “lost wages” the bill limits reimbursement to a sum comparable to unemployment benefits through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Pub. L. No. 117-2, or any other federal funds that may become available.

In its current form this bill is confusing and doesn’t do much.

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SB731 is the bill you want passed if you oppose vaccine mandates because it proposes to keep vaccination status private.

The natural immunity exception proposed by HB1972 & SB738 is the second most important legislation being considered.  It helps some workers but many will not be protected from termination.

SB730 clarifies that a person who is terminated for refusing the vaccine is eligible for unemployment

Be sure to reach out to these Senators in particular, we will need their vote. Tell them to fight for medical and health freedom and that you are watching their votes and they will be held accountable.

First Name Last Name Email Phone Number District Party affiliation Representative or Senator
Cecile Bledsoe 479-636-2115 3 Republican Senator
Ronald Caldwell 501-682-6107 23 Republican Senator
Jonathan Dismang 501-766-8220 28 Republican Senator
Lance Eads 479-435-5139 7 Republican Senator
Jane English 501-257-7670 34 Republican Senator
Jimmy Hickey JR 870-772-4444 11 Republican Senator
Ricky Hill 501-286-2285 29 Republican Senator
Missy Irvin 870-269-2703 18 Republican Senator
Matthew Pitsch 479-883-2072 8 Republican Senator
Bill Sample 501-627-5386 14 Republican Senator
James Sturch 870-612-7589 19 Republican Senator

Contact your personal State Senator and State Representative as well as Speaker Representative Matt Shepherd and Senate Pro temp Senator Jimmy Hickey. Here is how.

First Name Last Name Email Phone Number District Party affiliation Representative or Senator
Fred Allen 501-804-7844 30 Democrat Representative
Bob Ballinger 870-505-4448 5 Republican Senator
Howard Beaty 9 Republican Representative
Rick Beck 501-912-1441 65 Republican Representative
Charles Beckham 12 Republican Senator
Mary Bentley 501-889-3556 73 Republican Representative
Mark Berry 82 Republican Representative
Stan Berry 4799707982 68 Republican Representative
Cecile Bledsoe 479-636-2115 3 Republican Senator
Justin Boyd 479-262-2156 77 Republican Representative
Ken Bragg 870-917-9205 15 Republican Representative
Harlan Breaux 479-981-3170 97 Republican Representative
Keith Brooks 5017446080 31 Republican Representative
Karilyn Brown 501-580-9000 41 Republican Representative
Joshua Bryant 5015002206 96 Republican Representative
Ronald Caldwell 501-682-6107 23 Republican Senator
John Carr 94 Republican Representative
Frances Cavenaugh 870-886-4000 60 Republican Representative
Linda Chesterfield 501-888-1859 30 Democrat Senator
Craig Christiansen 501-724-5326 47 Republican Representative
Alan Clark 501-844-6800 13 Republican Senator
Joe Cloud 479-858-8033 71 Republican Representative
Nicole Clowney 479-445-5337 86 Democrat Representative
Bruce Coleman 479-806-6825 81 Republican Representative
Andrew Collins 501-650-2233 35 Democrat Representative
Cameron Cooper 501-230-5635 44 Republican Representative
Bruce Cozart 501-627-3232 24 Republican Representative
Cindy Crawford 479-782-4693 76 Republican Representative
Carol Dalby 870-772-1255 1 Republican Representative
Breanne Davis 479-970-0081 16 Republican Senator
Marsh Davis 870-847-7334 61 Republican Representative
Gary Deffenbaugh 479-719-8197 79 Republican Representative
Jonathan Dismang 501-766-8220 28 Republican Senator
Jim Dotson 479-222-1234 93 Republican Representative
Lance Eads 479-435-5139 7 Republican Senator
Les Eaves 501-827-1344 46 Republican Representative
Joyce Elliott 501-603-9546 31 Democrat Senator
Jane English 501-257-7670 34 Republican Senator
Denise Ennett 5016904211 36 Democrat Representative
Jon Eubanks 479-438-0533 74 Republican Representative
Sonia Eubanks Barker 8708147605 7 Republican Representative
Brian Evans 501-941-4002 43 Republican Representative
Deborah Ferguson 870-735-7098 51 Democrat Representative
Kenneth Ferguson 870-413-8942 16 Democrat Representative
David Fielding 870-234-6143 5 Democrat Representative
Charlene Fite 479-414-1818 80 Republican Representative
Lanny Fite 501-317-2400 23 Republican Representative
Scott Flippo 870-421-3420 17 Republican Senator
Stephanie Flowers 870-535-1032 25 Democrat Senator
Vivian Flowers 870-329-8356 17 Democrat Representative
Jack Fortner 870-656-7664 99 Republican Representative
Tony Furman 501-909-1537 28 Republican Representative
Denise Garner 479-283-5050 84 Democrat Representative
Trent Garner 870-818-9219 27 Republican Senator
Jimmy Gazaway 870-215-1243 57 Republican Representative
Ben Gilmore 501-467-5952 26 Republican Senator
Megan Godfrey 479-200-4460 89 Democrat Representative
Justin Gonzales 870-245-6365 19 Republican Representative
Michelle Gray 870-291-2515 62 Republican Representative
Delia Haak 4792384671 91 Republican Representative
Kim Hammer 501-840-3841 33 Republican Senator
Spencer Hawks 501-764-6847 70 Republican Representative
Jim Hendren 479-787-6222 2 Republican Senator
Bart Hester 479-531-4176 1 Republican Senator
Jimmy Hickey JR 870-772-4444 11 Republican Senator
Ricky Hill 501-286-2285 29 Republican Senator
David Hillman 870-830-3004 13 Republican Representative
Monty Hodges 870-763-4443 55 Democrat Representative
Mike Holcomb 870-489-7177 10 Republican Representative
Steve Hollowell 870-270-3831 49 Republican Representative
Ashley Hudson 5016584096 32 Democrat Representative
Keith Ingram 870-735-8610 24 Democrat Senator
Missy Irvin 870-269-2703 18 Republican Senator
Lane Jean 870-90-1856 2 Republican Representative
Joe Jett 870-276-5319 56 Republican Representative
Blake Johnson 870-323-1766 20 Republican Senator
Lee Johnson 479-883-6393 75 Republican Representative
Mark Johnson 501-682-2920 15 Republican Senator
Jack Ladyman 870-340-7499 59 Republican Representative
Greg Leding 479-966-9201 4 Democrat Senator
Fredrick Love 501-612-3939 29 Democrat Representative
Mark Lowery 501-837-5221 39 Republican Representative
Robin Lundstrom 479-957-1959 87 Republican Representative
Roger Lynch 501-412-8959 14 Republican Representative
John Maddox 479-394-6060 20 Republican Representative
Stephen Magie 501-327-4444 72 Democrat Representative
Julie Mayberry 501-888-3522 27 Republican Representative
Rick McClure 5017864186 26 Republican Representative
Austin McCollum 479-426-4141 95 Republican Representative
Tippi McCullough 501-766-3177 33 Democrat Representative
Mark McElroy 11 Republican Representative
Richard McGrew 501-623-2481 22 Republican Representative
Gayla McKenzie 479-787-6411 92 Republican Representative
Ron McNair 870-754-7962 98 Republican Representative
Stephen Meeks 501-314-9250 67 Republican Representative
Josh Miller 501-365-3599 66 Republican Representative
Jon Milligan 870-219-1261 53 Republican Representative
Reginald Murdock 501-940-5157 48 Democrat Representative
Milton Nicks Jr 870-739-1083 50 Democrat Representative
John Payton 501-362-5815 64 Republican Representative
Clinto Penzo 479-466-6681 88 Republican Representative
Mark Perry 501-982-4561 42 Democrat Representative
Aaron Pilkington 479-308-8384 69 Republican Representative
Matthew Pitsch 479-883-2072 8 Republican Senator
Jason Rapert 501-336-0918 35 Republican Senator
David Ray 40 Republican Representative
Terry Rice 479-637-3100 9 Republican Senator
Jay Richardson 78 Democrat Representative
Marcus Richmond 479-299-4416 21 Republican Representative
Johnny Rye 870-919-3690 54 Republican Representative
Bill Sample 501-627-5386 14 Republican Senator
Jamie Scott 501-398-2961 37 Democrat Representative
Matthew Shepherd 870-862-2087 6 Republican Representative
Keith Slape 870-715-5623 83 Republican Representative
Brandt Smith 870-351-7459 58 Republican Representative
Stu Smith 870-612-3974 63 Republican Representative
Nelda Speaks 870-421-2552 100 Republican Representative
Joy Springer 501-374-3758 34 Democrat Representative
Gary Stubblefield 479-635-4314 6 Republican Senator
James Sturch 870-612-7589 19 Republican Senator
Dan Sullivan 870-275-2929 21 Republican Senator
Larry Teague 870-845-5303 10 Democrat Senator
David Tollett 12 Republican Representative
Dwight Tosh 870-926-0423 52 Republican Representative
Clarke Tucker 501-246-4933 32 Democrat Senator
Kendon Underwood 4796448461 90 Republican Representative
DeAnn Vaught 870-832-2638 4 Republican Representative
David Wallace 870-919-8046 22 Republican Senator
Jeff Wardlaw 870-226-9501 8 Republican Representative
Les Warren 501-623-4405 25 Republican Representative
Danny Watson 870-703-5524 3 Republican Representative
David Whitaker 479-236-8313 85 Democrat Representative
Carlton Wing 501-416-4926 38 Republican Representative
Richard Womack 870-403-6287 18 Republican Representative
Jim Wooten 501-858-7403 45 Republican Representative
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