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Arkansas lawmaker laments prison expansion and asserts that the state’s future depends on education



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – In order to update her constituents on the results of this year’s legislative session, an Arkansas lawmaker held a town hall with them in the Pine Bluff neighborhood.

According to state representative Vivian Flowers, D-District 65, education is the key to the future of the state. Flowers wanted to give specifics on how recently passed laws would affect Pine Bluff residents during the town hall.

Flowers opposed the state’s adoption of a permitless carry bill. She also emphasized the necessity for state education system development and the fact that expanding the prison population is not the solution.

“We know that how the prison population is projected is based upon third-grade reading scores, we know that economic development doesn’t happen if we don’t have quality schools,” Flowers said.

According to Flowers, the state must try to keep children in classrooms rather than prison cells.

“We know that doesn’t work to prevent crime and it doesn’t necessarily increase crime in the ways that we know many public policies have worked,” she said.

Seana Spears is a mother of three from Pine Bluff. She went to the town hall meeting to learn more about the proposed millage tax that will be decided by voters on August 8 in a special election. Pine Bluff High School will be renovated as part of the multimillion-dollar initiative.

“There has to be a lot done and I think that can be done by reinvesting in our children rather than building a new facility,” Spears said.

Spears asserts that she considers the mental health of the students in the Pine Bluff School District to be more significant than a new structure.

“Wherever they are housed, whether it be at Pine Bluff High, whether it’s at Jack Roby or some other institution we have to take care of the wholeness of the child and not just decorate it outside part, the exterior,” she said.

If Pine Bluff voters pass the measure, any homeowner with a $100,000 home would have to pay an additional $120 in property taxes annually or $10 per month.

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