Rally for Reproductive Justice Saturday at State Capitol | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Rally for Reproductive Justice Saturday at State Capitol

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 7:18 AM

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The sixth Rally for Reproductive Justice, under attack more than ever in Arkansas, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the State Capitol.

Here's a Facebook link to share.

Speakers include Rev. Denise Donnell of the Human Rights Campaign, state Rep. Vivian Flowers of Pine Bluff and Evelyn Rios of the Transgender Law Center.

Last week,state employees who work on the Capitol grounds got a notice of last Sunday's March for Life, the annual anti-abortion observance, along with a copy of the news release from the sponsoring anti-abortion agency. State officials said that the notice was distributed so any state employees who might work on the weekend, would be aware some normal parking spaces on the Capitol Mall might be occupied for a time on a weekend day. The news release was distributed merely for informational purposes, they said.

I've asked state officials who said that notice was sent routinely and not to publicize the March for Life if a notice has been distributed about the Rally for Reproductive Justice, also scheduled on a weekend day at the Capitol. No response as yet.

UPDATE: For the record, no of course, the state won't send notice of this event. Not necessary it says.

Max – We will not be sending out a notice to state offices in and around the Capitol in anticipation of this weekend’s events. Our expectation is that the event is unlikely to interrupt state business and that a notice is not needed.

Our notice prior to last weekend went out because the event was expected to attract several thousand and limit available parking. The event this weekend is expect to attract about 300.

In addition, last weekend’s event was held on the west (back) side of the Capitol, near where the Big Mac and other state offices are located. The event this weekend will be held on the east (front) side of the capitol. We expect that sufficient parking will be available along Capitol to support the event, and that state operations will not be affected.

Jake Bleed
Communications Administrator
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

Some points:

1) There were acres of unused parking on the west side of the Capitol last Sunday, though perhaps not slots immediately in front of Mall buildings.

2) The Department of Workforce Services, whose notice first came to my attention, said it couldn't provide for me on account of computer issues information on any work time put in there last Sunday. But over a 54-week period from Jan. 1, 2015 through last Sunday, employees (of unspecified number) turned up to work on Sunday in the offices on 14 of 56 weekends. So much for the notion of routine state employee toil on the mall.

3) None of this justifies the state's distribution of a political flyer on the anti-abortion march along with the notice about parking. Fairness demands that, crowd or no crowd, the state — strictly for the same informational purposes of course — let's state employees know why people are marching this Saturday, just as it did last Sunday. I won't hold my breath. This is an anti-abortion administration and — even in matters such as this — it shows.

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