The 92nd Assembly has wrapped the regular legislative session and more than 900 bills have been signed into law. We still have some work to do, but I would like to take this time to thank the constituents of District 11 for being more engaged than ever. We will take a short recess and reconvene later this month to complete our work.
In the interim, I still have a lot to share with you about the legislative ground that we have covered. Among those pieces of legislation of which I am most proud has been an increase in educational funding, Medicaid, and public safety. I shared last week with you that the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA) is the State’s budgeting system. This year we have had the lowest increases Arkansas has seen in the past 10 years at 2.2 percent. The good news is that those increases include additions for $31 million for public education and $61 million for Medicaid. Further budget increases for public safety allows funding for the Department of Community Correction to hire more officers as well as funding for additional state police and troopers. Savings also include a $25 homestead tax credit increase for homeowners.
We have passed many bills throughout the session. I have chosen to share more specific information regarding those on my personal platform or which represent the legislative committees I serve.
For example, teacher salary pay will increase over $4,000 over the next four. We have also transformed the juvenile justice system with laws that have ultimately been shown in pilot studies to reduce the amount of young people in foster care as well as the prison systems. Just last week, the House passed SB490 expanding eligibility requirements for the Succeed Scholarship Program. This bill will allow foster youth diagnosed with a disability and previously participating in the prior year’s program to attend an eligible private school.
These legislative topics and others are among the outcomes my colleagues and I have achieved on behalf of our constituents this session. I sit on the Judiciary as well as the committee serving the Aging, Youth, and Military Affairs. Even though we have signed over 900 bills into law, I have only had the opportunity to share with you a few topics on each occasion. Our committees will remain active during the recess, and my plan is to continue to share with you how lawmakers are implementing the new legislation. As part of this communication, I will also be hosting community town hall events. I will work with local officials and organizations to host our constituents on topics that matter most to our communities. I will keep you posted on those important dates and times.
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.