A group of UA Little Rock students participated in a pilot program by the Academy for Public Service that gave students experience in serving in a state legislative session and the Supreme Court.
The model legislative session was held June 13-17 and the model Supreme Court June 20, both at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. The model legislature proposed 200 legislative bills, made 60 model laws, and one constitutional amendment, while the model Supreme Court heard one case.
Made up of students from around the state, participants in the model sessions learned about public service, leadership, parliamentary procedure, issues affecting the state and marginalized populations, ethics, professionalism, and collaboration. There were no political parties.
UA Little Rock students Kwami Abdul-Bey, Shalon Bogard, Amy King, Emily Sanderlin, and Karla Eppinette participated in the program as members of the Arkansas Model Senate. Abdul-Bey served as the president pro tempore of the Arkansas Model Senate. In that position, he presided over the Arkansas Model Senate, signed legislation, and issued the oath of office to new senators.
The Academy for Public Service, founded by Romerse Biddle in 2021, is a nonprofit organization that teaches public service leadership, democracy maintenance, collaboration, state and local issues, and civic engagement.
“The model legislature and Supreme Court litigants did amazing things and performed exceptional professionalism,” Biddle said. “It was incredible they passed 60 model laws in five days. Legislators, legislative staff, and attorneys loved working with the students and were highly impressed in their performance.”