Opinion

More than 200 bills filed in opening of session

Courtesy: Danny Watson, House of Representatives
LITTLE ROCK – Highway funding, tax cuts, teacher salaries, and transforming state government are just a few of the many issues before us this session.
So far, more than 200 bills have been filed in the House. More than 130 bills have been filed in the Senate.
These bills, and the hundreds yet to be filed, will all be thoroughly vetted in the committee process.
Minutes after we took the oath of office on January 14, Speaker Matthew Shepherd announced committee assignments.
Each of us serves on one “A” standing committee and one “B” standing committee. The “A” standing committees will meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10am. The “B” standing committees will meet on Wednesday mornings at 10am. The committees can also meet anytime at the call of the chair. We’ve posted the list of committee members and committee chairs on our website, www.arkansashouse.org.
House committees have already advanced three bills to the House floor. HB1013 adds podiatrists to the list of healthcare providers subject to rules regarding schedule II narcotics. Schedule II narcotics include most opioid prescriptions.
HB1016 reduces the waiting period that a court may grant a petition to seal a criminal record. The legislation reduces that period from 90 to 30 days. Also making its way to the House is HB1124. This bill creates certifications for veterinary technologist and technician specialist.
On the second day of the session, the Governor addressed the legislature outlining his agenda for this session.
He called for a third phase of tax cuts he referred to as the “2-4-5.9 plan”. It would lower income tax rates to 2% for people who earn up to $8,000 a year, 4% for those who earn between $8,001 and $18,000 a year and 5.9% for people who earn more than $18,000 a year. He is also asking the legislature to increase public safety funding for more state troopers and increase minimum teacher salaries by $1,000 a year.
The full House will convene at 1:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays. On Thursdays, we will convene at 10am. Schedules are always subject to change, but you can find schedule updated daily on our website. We also live stream every meeting and archive the meetings on the website.

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