Arkansas Legislature

The latest news about the Arkansas Legislature.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute says Arkansas lawmakers should avoid as much state responsibility involved with the federal Affordable Care Act as possible.

The health policy expert from the Cato Institute, a public policy think tank dedicated to promoting free market principles, spoke with lawmakers Tuesday in the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee to discuss the state’s options regarding what to do with its health insurance exchange.

Nathan Vandiver

A bill to require Arkansas voters to show a valid photo ID before casting a ballot is on it’s way to the Governor after clearing its final hurdle in the Senate today.

The bill was already passed by the Senate, but it picked up an amendment in the House, so today’s vote was to adopt the amendment. The measure passed 22-12.

Each Arkansas Chamber To Work Toward $50M-$60M In Cuts

Mar 18, 2013
capitol steps

Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter says the House and Senate are working to develop between $50 million and $60 million in tax cuts in each chamber.

The House on Monday passed the first of its proposed tax reductions, one that would benefit poultry and catfish producers. Carter, a Republican from Cabot, says there are still no specifics available on what state spending will be cut.

Carter says the spending cuts have to be considered in light of Gov. Mike Beebe's proposed budget and potential future spending needs.

Arkansas Senate Delays Vote On Voter ID Requirement

Mar 18, 2013

A vote on legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls has been  delayed over questions about procedure.

The Senate on Monday delayed a vote on the voter ID legislation after a Democratic lawmaker questioned whether the Senate had previously approved the measure with the proper amount of votes.  

Similar concerns had come up in the House by Democrats who argued that the bill requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.

Arkansas Raw Milk Bill Fails Before House Panel

Mar 15, 2013

A proposal to allow Arkansas dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk has failed to clear a House  committee.

The House Agriculture Committee on Friday voted 9-8 against the bill, which would have permitted the sale of "raw" goat and cow milk at the farm where it was produced.

Farmers would have been allowed to sell up to 500 gallons per month on average.  

Stepping Toward School Prayer

Earlier today the House Education Committee passed through legislation that mandates a “one (1) minute period of silence at the beginning of each school day.” The bill suggests students use this time to, “reflect,” “pray,” or “engage in silent activities.”

Arkansas State Legislature

A bill that would direct a portion of the state’s general revenue to pay for highways in the years to come has many in state education and higher education programs worried they’ll lose a portion of their funding in the future.

  The bill’s sponsor, Representative Jonathan Barnett, a Republican from Siloam Springs, says some general revenue needs to shift to highways because revenue sources like the state’s fuel tax aren’t keeping the state’s highways adequately funded for upkeep.

After a series of impassioned arguments for and against, the Arkansas House today passed a bill that would require all voters to show some form of photo I.D. each time they vote. The bill received 51 yeas to 44 nays.

There were questions as to whether the bill required a two-thirds majority to pass as some had suggested it might be a change to the state's constitution.

Arkansas House Panel OKs Emergency Gun Regulation Bill

Mar 13, 2013

An Arkansas House panel has advanced a proposal to eliminate the governor's emergency power to  regulate guns during a disaster.

The House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs on Wednesday approved the measure by a 13-4 vote.

It would remove from the list of emergency powers granted to the governor the ability to regulate guns. 

Currently the governor may, in the case of a disaster emergency, suspend or limit the sale, distribution and transportation of firearms.

He also has enhanced powers to regulate alcohol, explosives, and combustibles.

No Limit Southland

This Tuesday the Legislature continued to relax regulation of Southland Park in West Memphis. Limits on both the hours and days on which greyhound racing may be held have been rescinded and the Racing Commission has been granted additional regulatory powers.

I asked two of the bill sponsors, Senator Keith Ingram of West Memphis and Representative Deborah Ferguson of West Memphis, about the removal of language prescribing hours and dates of operation. Both were wary of characterizing SB 330 as a precursor to unrestricted racing.