The 92nd General Assembly has just completed its first week of extended regular session and our tenth week in total. Even with our accomplishments in regular session, we still have much work ahead as we continue to make strides with diverse legislation. It is my goal to champion all that concerns the constituents in District 11, but this week I have chosen to share with you some legislative accomplishments in youth care as well as the judiciary front.

With a unanimous vote for education advancement, the House passed HB1685 increasing the K-12 funding from $6,713 to $6,899 for the 2019-2020 academic year. The amount will increase again to $7,018 for the following year.

Further in education, HB1684 passed the House in support of students receiving in-state tuition at state schools. If Arkansas students have previously resided in the state for at least three years, they will be able to take advantage of in-state college tuition.

We have had continual action in education; however, there is additional legislation focused on protecting our youth in other areas. Arkansas is leading the nation with passing HB1674. With an 87-0 vote, the House passed HB1674 creating a statewide child abduction response team which is also known as CART. Collaborating state agencies will include the Arkansas Attorney General, the State Police, the Criminal Justice Institute, the Game and Fish Commission, the Sheriff’s Association, the Department of Emergency Management, the Association of Chiefs of Police, the Department of Community Correction, and the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator. If the Governor signs this legislation, Arkansas will become the first state to act on the state level in this regard.

The Judiciary Committee where I sit has also been busy presenting legislation. The House passed HB1754 addressing overdose deaths in prisons. This past year alone, 22 inmates have died in Arkansas prisons as a result of drug overdose. HB1754 assigns a Class A felony to any inmate passing illicit drugs to fellow inmates. This
crime will be punishable for up to an additional 30 years of prison sentencing.

In further Judiciary action, the House passed SB109. SB109 will constitute a Class Y felony and has been extended to include correctional facility employees who are injured while acting in the line of duty. The current law has previously only been applicable to law enforcement officers.

In advancing bills, I shared with you that I would be presenting HB1790 to the Education Committee this past week. HB1790 requires schools to provide digital learning courses to expelled students. This measure passed in committee and I will now present it to the House.

I have also completed filing a resolution recognizing the life and contributions of Robert S. Moore. I will continue to keep you posted as I work to pin various pieces of legislation as well as other advancing bills.

If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me at via email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682- 6211.