inVeritas Involved :: No Kid Hungry

Friday, December 5th, 2014

The Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign launched in October 2010 with a goal of ending childhood hunger for Arkansas children by 2015. Arkansas ranks sixth highest in the nation for child food insecurity, with more than one in four children struggling with hunger. The Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign is working to close this gap with programs like the school breakfast program, summer meals program and afterschool meals program.

On Monday, November 10, inVeritas Creative Director Amy Kelley Bell and her husband, Chef Matthew Bell, hosted a fundraiser for the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign at South on Main. Guest chefs were invited to participate in the evening including Chef Felicia Suzanne Willett of Felicia Suzanne’s Restaurant, Chef Kelli Marks of Sweet Love Bakery, Chef Travis McConnell of Butcher & Public, Chef Jeff Owen on Ciao Baci, and Chef Capi Peck of Trio’s.

The evening began with a cocktail reception with beverages crafted by Barman David Burnette of South on Main and Beverage Director Lee Edwards of Yellow Rocket Concepts, and passed hors d’oeuvres by Chef Capi Peck. Guests then enjoyed a 5-course meal with wine pairings donated by De Nux Distributors.

Over 130 tickets were sold, and between tickets sales, live auction and paddle raises, the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign raised almost $50,000! All of the money from the evening will go directly to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, of which CEO Ruth Whitney is a board member. Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance will use the funds to expand programs like the school breakfast program, summer meals program and afterschool meals program.

We are proud of the work the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is doing for Arkansas children through the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign! We hope you will consider supporting their organization through attending a future fundraiser, or donations as part of your holiday gift giving. Please click here to find out how you can become involved and help us make No Kid Hungry a reality for Arkansas children!

Welcoming the 90th General Assembly

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Arkansas House and Senate are currently preparing for the upcoming legislative session that begins on January 12, 2015. Following the November elections, the Republican Party expanded their control in both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature. They now hold a 64-36 advantage in the House and a 24-11 advantage in the Senate.

This session is set to center around two main issues: tax cuts and the Private Option. Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson centered his campaign on a $100 million middle-class tax cut, so legislators are expected to take up his cause. Many believe the most controversial issue facing the legislature this cycle will be the renewal of the Private Option, Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion. This piece of legislation narrowly passed in the 2013 legislative session and is expected to face even more opposition this cycle.

Leadership in the House and Senate are also expecting legislation addressing issues such as tort reform, education, and tweaks to the lottery. The State of Arkansas is also facing a critical issue with prison overcrowding that must be addressed sooner rather than later.

The 2015 Legislative Session is shaping up to be very exciting. Arkansans voted for a change in leadership and direction. Now we get to see those changes in action. Stay tuned for more updates.

View the new committee memberships below.

inVeritas Involved :: Hunger Relief Alliance

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 28, 2014) – inVeritas was proud to support the Southern Legislative Conference/Mark Norris Campaign Against Hunger event this past weekend. Lawmakers from 15 different states came together in Little Rock to attend the 68th Annual Southern Legislative Conference. The conference continues to support Mark Norris’ campaign against hunger by packaging meals. More than 500 volunteers gathered at the Statehouse Convention on Sunday to continue the tradition to help package meals for the hungry.

Today, there are more than 49 million Americans, including 16 million children, classified as food insecure. While this is a national problem, the statistics are higher in the South. In Arkansas alone, more than 560,000 people are food insecure.

This year, with the help of sponsor CenturyLink, volunteers packaged over 50,000 meals, 30,000 more than previous years.

inVeritas inside: Special Session

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 2, 2014) – For the second time in eight months, Governor Beebe called a special session to address the increase in insurance premiums for teachers and public school employees. The legislature also addressed prison overcrowding and lottery restrictions.

This special session certainly was special, as the House of Representatives had the privilege of meeting in the Old State House. In this historic downtown museum, representatives cast votes and passed legislation for the first time since 1909. In 1837, then Speaker John Wilson fought with Representative J.J. Anthony after a heated debate in the same room the 89th General Assembly convened to address prison overcrowding. The two battled with knives, and Speaker Wilson ended up killing Representative Anthony on the House floor.

This is the same building where Arkansas’ constitution was signed. It is also the oldest state capitol building west of the Mississippi River. Representatives Tommy Thompson and Charlene Fite dressed in 19th century style clothing to commemorate this special session. Some lawmakers even arrived by horse-drawn carriages.

While the second special session of the 89th General Assembly was mainly engrossed by the history of the downtown museum, the legislature was able to pass a number of bills and conclude the people’s business in less than 48 hours. The legislature passed a package of bills that would avoid a 35% increase in insurance premiums that thousands of teachers and public school employees were estimated to face this fall. The proposals included transferring roughly $4.6 million a year from school districts’ payroll tax savings to the health insurance plans covering about 47,000 teachers and other public schools employees; making part-time school employees ineligible for coverage; making spouses of school employees and other state employees ineligible for coverage if they can obtain insurance through their employers; requiring verification of dependents’ eligibility; requiring employees in high-deductible plans to enroll in health savings accounts; and limiting coverage for weight-reduction surgery.

The legislature also freed up about $6.3 million from the state Central Services Fund to fund over 600 additional prison beds. Lastly, a bill that would prohibit the lottery from introducing monitor games passed with an overwhelming majority. This moratorium will expire March 13th,2015, allowing the legislature to decide in the next regular session whether to continue the ban.

inVeritas involved :: ACCESS Bingo Bash

Monday, June 16th, 2014

For the third straight year, inVeritas has been actively involved in supporting ACCESS, a non-profit resource center offering full-time education, therapy, training and activities for children and youths with learning disabilities. This unique organization serves families from throughout Arkansas and many surrounding states. ACCESS is composed of a preschool, an evaluation and resource center, ACCESS Academy for individuals 5-21, and ACCESS Life for ages 18-35. They also offer in- and out-patient therapy programs.

ACCESS was founded in 1994 and comprises three main branches: ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center; ACCESS Therapy; and ACCESS Schools.

inVeritas’ Vice President of Research, Kelly Sullivan, and Director of Government Relations, Jay Robbins, are serving on the ACCESS in Action young professionals group again this year in hopes to raise more than $20,000 for the ACCESS Tuition Assistance Fund. This group organizes an annual bingo bash, raising money for academy scholarships.

“ACCESS is such an incredible place, said Jay. “Since its inception 20 years ago, ACCESS has inspired so many children and young adults throughout this great state, and it has certainly inspired me.”

In 2013, inVeritas served as the title sponsor for the event, which raised more than $20,000. inVeritas also served as a silver sponsor of this year’s Starry Starry Night, ACCESS’ biggest fundraiser of the year.

“We are thrilled to have Jay and Kelly of inVeritas back on the Bingo Bash committee this year, said ACCESS Executive Director Tammy Simmons, M.S., CCC-SLP. We could not fulfill our mission without organizations like inVeritas, and we are proud to have them as a sponsor again this year.”

The eighth annual Bingo Bash, chaired by AOC Public Education Coordinator Corey Gilmore, is scheduled for Thursday, July 17, 6-9 p.m. at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church. Bingo Bash tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased from any committee member or by calling ACCESS at 501-217-8600. For more information on ACCESS, visit their website at www.accessgroupinc.org.