Politics

Various state bills advance in House committees

By Danny Watson, District 3 state representative
LITTLE ROCK – The House Rules committee advanced HB1565. This bill seeks to provide funding for a national cancer institute-designated center at UAMS. The bill provides the funding by diverting existing taxes on medical marijuana from general revenue to the institute trust fund.
The trust fund would also receive new revenue created by a 50 cents per pack tax on cigarette rolling papers, removing a border tax exemption on cigarettes and increasing the minimum mark price on cigarettes. In addition, HB1565 raises the legal age to use or possess vape or tobacco products to 21, with an exception for military.
The House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee advanced HB1615. This bill creates a farm to school and early childhood education program within the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
The committee also advanced HB1640 which designates the Alligator Gar as the official game fish of Arkansas.
The House State Agencies Committee advanced HB1523. This bill states a correctional or detention facility shall not place an inmate known to be pregnant, in labor, or in post-partum recovery in restraints unless the facility makes a determination that the inmate presents a substantial flight risk.
The committee also advanced HB1503 which allows voters additional time to complete their ballot. The bill increases the time from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
The House Insurance and Commerce Committee advanced SB290 which allows inactive CPA’s to place licenses on inactive status.
The full House passed HB1506. This bill imposes a criminal penalty (class A misdemeanor on first offense & class D felony on second offense) for theft of items from a cemetery or grave site.
The House also passed HB1251 which amends the definition of practice of optometry.

Editor’s Note:  Representative Danny Watson (R-Hope) represents District 3 which includes portions of Hempstead and Nevada counties.

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