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Arkansas Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Campaign Funds To Go For Childcare Expenses

Arkansas Senate

The Arkansas Legislature has given final approval to a bill that would allow campaign funds to be used for childcare services in certain circumstances.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 24-6, with 5 present, to pass House Bill 1728. It now goes to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The legislation, which has had bipartisan support, makes the distinction that the use of campaign funds to pay for a candidate’s childcare expenses would not be considered as a "taking of campaign funds as personal income" as long as the childcare being paid for because the candidate is engaging in campaign activity.

In presenting the bill to the Senate, Sen. Breanne Davis, R-Russellville, said the Arkansas Ethics Commission has already ruled that this practice is allowed, and this bill would just codify that decision.

"We’re already allowing it here in Arkansas, it’s just on a case-by-case basis. So this isn’t some new thing that we’re doing. We’re just putting it in code so that it’s no longer a case-by-case basis, where you have to go and ask the Ethics Commission every time," Davis said. "You guys know the intensity of campaigns and there are things that come up all the time and if you have to do something at the last minute where you have a childcare expense that you were not anticipating, but you have to wait three weeks for an Ethics Commission ruling, well that’s of no use." 

Davis also said the bill will help younger candidates in Arkansas who have young children, but want to run for office.

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