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Bill Allowing Campaign Funds To Be Used For Childcare Services Sent Back To Committee

Arkansas House

A bill that would allow campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses is being sent back to committee after failing to pass the Arkansas House.

Representatives voted 32-59 Monday on House Bill 1728,  which was not enough votes to advance it to the Senate.

Speaking on her bill before the vote, Rep. Megan Godfrey, D-Springdale, said the legislation would not cover any existing or full-time childcare commitments.  

"These expenses would only be allowable if the candidate or elected official is actively engaged in campaign activity or in her official capacity as an elected official," Godfrey said.

The bill made it through the House Rules Committee the first time with a unanimous "do pass" vote, she said, adding that any elected official, no matter their gender, would be able to use campaign funds for childcare.

Rep. David Ray, R-Maumelle, spoke against the legislation, calling it "extremely broad."

"It goes far beyond what the Arkansas Ethics Commission said in their 2018 opinion was permissible. And in doing so, I think the bill really blurs the line between what is a campaign expenditure and what is a personal expenditure," Ray said.

After the vote, Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, R-Hermitage, made two motions. One was to expunge, or clear the vote on the bill, the other to refer it back to the House Rules Committee so changes could be made.

"It came through Rules Committee without really any opposition, so I just want to give [Godfrey] the ability to send it back to committee and address some of those concerns," Wardlaw said.

Both motions by Wardlaw passed by a voice vote.

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