We just wrapped the 12th week of this session and we could not be busier passing legislation that has certainly kept constituents engaged.
This week, I would like to share with you some legislation that I have pinned that is now law as well as some policy changes on the ballot for 2020. I have worked to devote my time in the House to making and supporting legislation that will fill a need with positive impact.
For example, Gov. Hutchinson signed HB1790, now ACT 709, into law this week. I pinned this legislation because a constituent came to me disappointed on behalf of a student who had experienced detrimental circumstances. The law Gov. Hutchinson signed extends the digital learning ACT of 2013 to require public school districts to offer such courses or alternative educational opportunities so that expelled students retain access to learning.
The expelled student had simply forgotten a pocket knife which is a common object many people use in a rural environment for hunting and fishing. Upon discovering this object and bound by policy, the school system was forced to make the difficult decision of expelling the student for one year.
Sometimes students intentionally break the rules and put others in danger, and some do not. In either scenario, I saw the need for provisions that would prevent further derailment of a young student and less of a chance for a student to become another statistic in the system.
Gov. Hutchinson expressed the added value of how this new law will fill a need without fiscal impact. Public school districts are allotted funding for students and resources will remain attached to students, even in this circumstance.
In other legislative action, my colleagues and I are currently covering some “housekeeping” items including review of the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA). This item is typically last on the agenda of every regular session. State lawmakers use the RSA to guide budgeting. Lawmakers use RSA to guide the budgeting process as follows: determining the Maximum General Revenue; determining priority allocation; setting minimum support levels for general fund designates (A, B, C); setting tiers for allocation priority (A-1 or B-1, etc.); and laying the framework for revenue for funding State agencies via priority and category.
The Assembly also addressed areas regarding our law-making policies as we prepare to wrap regular session. For example, SJR15 will be on the ballot for 2020. This measure is a proposed Arkansas constitutional amendment addressing legislative term limits. Legislators elected after January 1, 2021 would be limited to 12 years of consecutive service. The current limit is 16 years. Existing and future law allows subsequent service after a four-year waiting period.
The House also passed HJR1008 with a 68-20 vote. This proposed Arkansas constitutional amendment would require a 3/5 majority vote for an any item to become a ballot measure instead of the current 2/3 majority.
If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682- 6211.
[Pictured above is Gov. Hutchinson (center) with District 11 Rep. Don Glover (right)
and District 37 Rep. Jamie Scott (left). Hutchinson signed into law, Glover’s HB1790 requiring public school districts to offer alternative educational opportunities for expelled students. Scott co-sponsored Glover’s bill].