The Arkansas house has just wrapped the third week of legislative session. In that process the house has filed more than 250 bills with over 150 being filed in Senate Committees. Our work includes topics ranging from rules on sunscreen use in schools to restructuring state government. The house voted to pass the following bills:

•HB1012 authorizes special license plate issue to Purple Heart recipient spouses. I voted for this bill.

•HB1100 provides veterans more options to prove their veteran status when they go to the DMV for a license. Such a designation smooths the opportunity for veterans to gain access to benefits. I also supported this bill.

•HB1239 updates what is included in a search for a parolee’s residence. Probation and law enforcement officers are currently not allowed to search a garage or outbuilding. This bill provides warrantless law enforcement searches of garages and outbuildings at a probationer’s or parolee’s residence. I voted against this bill because it removes the power to grant search warrants from the officiating judge. It might also infringe upon rights of co-property owners who are unrelated.

I would also like to share some important bills that are advancing in the Transportation, Health, Welfare, and Labor, as well as the Judiciary committees:

•HB1006 passed in the Public Transportation Committee. This bill increases the minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus from $250 to $500. Additionally, the offense will be deemed a Class A misdemeanor. In coordination with this bill, the Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1182 which will allow law enforcement to stop a driver using a handheld device in a school zone.

•HB1176 advanced in the Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee. The bill sets goals, standards, and potential assistance to create human breast milk banks and depositories in Arkansas.

•HB1296 advanced and ensures that occupational licensing boards do not revoke licenses solely based on student loan payment delinquency

•HB1317 grants the Office of Medicaid Inspector General access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

•HB1233, which advanced in the Judiciary Committee, clarifies community corrections that probation begins immediately upon the judge’s verdict.

•HB1021 requires newly elected school board members to receive initial training and instruction on reading and interpreting audit reports.

•HB1020 allows school districts to consider out of state experience when determining teacher salary schedule.

In community news, I would like to acknowledge February as a celebration of Black History Month. May we commemorate all of those who paved the way for making our state, country, and world a better place. Also, throughout the Legislative Session, the General Assembly will have the privilege of hosting schools representing various districts that will visit us to witness the legislative process. I encourage District 11 schools to participate.

Finally, it is my goal to represent the constituents of District 11 in the most informative manner. If you need to reach me, feel free to contact me at my House of Representatives email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682- 6211.