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Lawsuit filed against Arkansas LEARNS Act



Little Rock, Arkansas – On Monday, a lawsuit was brought up in relation to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ LEARNS Act.

The Arkansas Department of Education is charged with contracting with a charter school management organization in violation of the law and the constitution as part of Arkansas LEARNS in the lawsuit submitted on Monday to the Pulaski County Circuit Court.

According to the lawsuit, Arkansas LEARNS is not yet a state law since the measure had an emergency clause that was not voted on separately from the bill.

Along with Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Students, worried parents filed the complaint.

It claims that the board decided improperly to permit Jacob Oliva, the secretary of education, to sign a contract that would allow a business to run the Marvell-Elaine School District in accordance with Arkansas LEARNS.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Ali Noland, claimed that lawmakers hurried to adopt the LEARNS Act without passing the urgency clauses and instead simply governed when a bill would become law. Timing, according to Noland, is vital.

“The LEARNS Act was rushed through the legislature, and the emergency clause in the bill wasn’t passed correctly. It’s simply invalid under the plain language of the Arkansas Constitution,” Noland said. “While emergency clauses only regulate the timing of a bill becoming law, for my clients, that timing is extremely important.”

“We fully expect the Arkansas Court system to tell the legislative and executive branches that they aren’t above the law, that the constitution says what it says, and that the LEARNS Act isn’t the law yet in Arkansas,” Noland concluded.

In response, state senator Bart Hester said that when lawmakers passed the LEARNS Act and the emergency clause, they did so in accordance with the Constitution.

“As I have said since the beginning, when you can’t find a problem with the merits you complain about process,” Hester said.

The Governor’s office is calling the lawsuit meritless, saying “Chamber procedure for the session did not deviate from the process that has been followed by the House and Senate for decades.”

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