Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Talk of tax cuts continues to swirl around the state Capitol as lawmakers iron out what Speaker of the House Davy Carter said Friday is shaping up to be roughly $100 million dollars worth of cuts.

"In concept there is an agreement ... for a tax cut package in that range," Carter told reporters, speaking of talks between the House and Senate.

The Speaker had asked for lawmakers to identify $150 million in tax cuts, but recent reports have indicated the number has been decreasing.

The House voted 82-3 to pass a bill Friday that would prevent government agencies from naming buildings after public office holders until ten years after they are out of office.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative John Burris, R-Harrison, said this law would solve some interesting situations that have occurred in various districts around the state.

A bill that would have directed a portion of state revenue from certain sales taxes to the Highway and Transportation Department failed to pass a house committee Thursday, though its sponsor says it could get another try in committee.

Representative Jonathan Barnett, a Republican from Siloam Springs, sponsored HB 1418 and says if he does bring it back up, it will have to compete with other bills cutting or reallocating state funding.

Two bills regulating body modification procedures are headed to the full House with support of the tattoo industry.

One bill would set an age limit for piercings without parental consent and another would ban sub-dermal implants. The bills passed the House Public Health Committee Thursday.

The bills' sponsor in the House, democratic Representative Deborah Ferguson of West Memphis, said the industry opposed earlier forms of the legislation but now they are working together.

Arkansas House Panel To Vote On School Choice Bill

Mar 21, 2013

Arkansas House lawmakers are weighing a proposal to rewrite Arkansas' school choice law that was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge last year.

The House Education Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal that would allow students to transfer to a school in a neighboring district for a variety of reasons. One of the rationales could be promoting greater racial integration in the receiving school.

Arkansas Lawmakers Back Expanded Lobbying Moratorium

Mar 21, 2013

Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to a bill to ban the state's constitutional officers and judges from becoming a lobbyist for a year after they leave office.

The Senate unanimously approved and sent to the governor the bill that expands a 2011 law placing one-year moratorium on lobbying for former House and Senate members.

Arkansas Senate President Hopes Deal Soon On Tax Cuts

Mar 21, 2013

Arkansas Senate President Michael Lamoureux says he hopes to reach agreement by the end of the week with Gov. Mike Beebe and House leaders on a tax cut package.

Lamoureux told reporters Wednesday that legislative leaders are still discussing what would be in that tax cut agreement - but he hoped to have a deal soon. House Speaker Davy Carter has called on lawmakers to approve $150 million in tax cuts, while Lamoureux has said he thinks $100 million in cuts is more likely.

Davy Carter
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter is wanting to see a written draft of a proposal to expand health coverage in the state by Friday.

Big River Steel CEO Hopes For Fall Groundbreaking

Mar 20, 2013

The developer behind a planned $1.1 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas says he hopes to break  ground on the project this fall if everything goes as planned.

The Legislature still needs to approve $125 million in state financing for the proposed Big River Steel mill to be built near Osceola.

Developer John Correnti spoke Tuesday with Mississippi County officials regarding the project.

According to the Courier News, Correnti says he hopes to have a construction and operating permit by the end of April.

Arkansas Bill Criminalizes Killing Fetus From Conception

Mar 20, 2013

The Arkansas House has approved a bill that would criminalize the killing of a fetus from the moment of conception.

The bill now goes back to the Senate to approve an amendment adding additional exemptions, such as fetal deaths resulting from contraceptives or reproductive technology.

Supporters say the bill would make it easier to prosecute criminal cases involving the death of a pregnant woman.

Abortion rights advocates have said they're concerned the bill would lay the groundwork for further abortion restrictions in the state.