inVeritas inside :: Update from the Capitol

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Week seven of the Arkansas legislative session has come to a close, as members of the 90th General Assembly have successfully completed 47 days of the people’s work here in Arkansas. State legislators were not deterred by the winter storm that swept through most of the state this week, and were able to pass a number of significant bills. Please find below a quick snapshot of some of the key issues that transpired this week inside the Capitol:

Guns on Campus

HB 1077, which originally failed on a 10-10 party-line vote, passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday. This piece of legislation would require public universities and colleges to allow staff members with concealed-weapon permits to carry firearms on campus. A number of Democrats worked with State Representative Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, to create an amendment to the bill that would get it out of committee. The amendment will require active shooter training for permit holders as well as prohibiting guns at day care centers on campus. The training class includes 16-hours in initial training as well as eight hours annually in training. The bill now goes to the House floor for additional discussion.

Lottery Commission

On Thursday, Governor Hutchinson signed into law legislation abolishing the nine-member Arkansas Lottery Commission and placing the Department of Finance & Administration in complete control. The bill also sets up a 12-member legislative committee to conduct oversight.

Pollution Control

On Wednesday, the Senate Public Health Committee passed SB183 by Senator Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, which would give Arkansas elected officials responsibility for approving a key pollution-control plan. SB183 would bar the state Department of Environmental Quality from submitting a state plan to the Environmental Protection Agency to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity generation plants until approval by the governor or state legislature.

Death Penalty

A proposal to abolish Arkansas’ death penalty is heading to the full state Senate. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option in capital murder cases. Arkansas has 32 inmates on death row but hasn’t executed anyone in since 2005. Senator David Burnett, sponsor of the bill, said he no longer believes the death penalty is a deterrent to violent crime. The bill will face additional opposition in the Senate chamber.

Conscience Protection

A “conscience-protection” proposal that some believe is an attempt to sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians failed in a Senate Committee earlier this week. The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the bill that would ban any local or state laws or regulations that substantially burden religious beliefs unless a “compelling governmental interest” is proven. The bill failed on a 3-3 vote.

Computer Science

Asa Hutchinson has made good on a campaign promise by signing into law a measure requiring public high schools to offer courses in computer science. Hutchinson signed House Bill 1183, which creates a mandate for more computer instruction at public high schools and charter schools, as well as creating a commission to study how to further computer literacy in Arkansas education.

Top 5 Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make

Friday, February 27th, 2015

A solid marketing plan for your business should include a social media presence. If your marketing budget is tight, it’s a wonderful tool to increase awareness of your brand. Better yet, it’s FREE! However, it must be used correctly to be effective. Some small businesses struggle to find and engage their target markets. These five common mistakes could derail your social media efforts:

1. Choosing the wrong network.

There are numerous social networks, and the possibilities of where to share your message are growing every year. With unlimited social networking options, many companies are over-extending and struggling to present a strong presence on too many mediums.

You’ve been told: “You have to be on [some network] because everyone else is.” This is simply not true.

Take a step back. Ask yourself…who is your target customer? What demographics does your customer fall within? How do you envision your customers engaging with you? Are your posts going to be driven by information or visuals?

Once you have a clear vision of how you plan to share your message on social media, it will be easier to determine which site(s) are the best fit.

2. Post ghost town.

In order to stay relevant on social media, you must be engaging your followers on a regular basis. Mediums like Facebook make it difficult to reach your audience if they aren’t liking, commenting, or sharing your posts regularly. It can seem overwhelming to produce exciting content on a weekly basis, but there are tools you can use to help keep you on track.

We recommend crafting a social media schedule. Determine how often you want to post and think about what types of content you want to share. Look for social media trends to help guide your content – like #ThrowbackThursday. Once you have an outline, filling in the blanks each week will seem a lot less daunting.

Once you have your schedule set, try utilizing one of many scheduling tools to schedule your posts in advance. Facebook offers their own scheduler for Pages, and tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets ahead of time.

If you do decide to schedule your posts and tweets in advance, don’t forget to monitor your social media activity. You should check your posts for comments or questions at least once a day. Don’t let advanced scheduling keep you from engaging with your followers…

3. Ignoring the conversation.

Social media is just that… social! If all you do is broadcast information, people will grow tired of your posts eventually. Engagement is a two-way street – if you aren’t a part of the conversation, you’re quickly forgotten. Check in often to see if there are any trending topics that your brand can relate to. Cross promote with other brands to expand your circle of followers. Promote others’ successes as much if not more than your own. Make your brand seem like a living, breathing participant in the social marketplace.

4. Don’t lose sight of your brand.

While you want to come across as relatable, be careful not to forget that you’re representing a brand and a company. Before you share any content, determine the relevance to your company’s story.

Try to refrain from sharing your personal life through your brand pages. Yes, your dogs and children are adorable – but what does that have to do with your company brand? Keep your personal life on your personal page, and try to keep your professional pages on track with your brand.

5. Post overload!

Share your message, but don’t beat people over the head with it! There is perhaps an unwritten code of how often you should post on various social media platforms. Take care not to violate that code or your fans will hit the mute button! A general rule of thumb on Facebook is 1-5 posts per day for good engagement.

Of course, this all depends on how engaging your content is. We recommend following a quality versus quantity approach here – better to have one post that knocks it out of the park instead of 5 posts that fall flat.

The most important advice we can give is don’t give up! If you feel like social media is too much for you to handle for your business, consider hiring a professional. The biggest mistake you can make is not participating in the conversation at all. There’s revenue and customers you’re missing out on if you’re ignoring the digital marketplace. Contact me – – for guidance on how to increase your brand awareness online.

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.