Procastinators' day at the Legislature OPEN LINE | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 11, 2013

Procastinators' day at the Legislature OPEN LINE

Posted By and on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Arkansas General Assembly bill deadline day image

Today is the last day to file bills at the Ledge, which means we can expect to see THE GOOD, THE BAD, and the THE WEIRD. We'll update throughout the day as bills of note are filed. We need your help in the comments! You can see what bills are being filed here. Should be some fireworks.

*TAX FAIRNESS? Rep. Warwick Sabin has several ethics bills but the one that caught our eye is to add some desperately needed progressivity to the state income tax code.

*NEVER SAY DIE: Sen. Joyce Elliott filed a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights amendment.

*ARKANSAS DREAM ACT: More realistically, Elliott filed a bill to give immigrants who have been educated in Arkansas the opportunity to have in-state tuition for college. Republican Johnny Key co-sponsored. We'll have more on this one in a separate post.

*CAPITAL GAINS CUT: It's just a shell bill, but HB1966, from Speaker Davy Carter, is clearly the give-away to rich people that he's described before as a necessary break for the "job creators" who're going to pay the tab for health care expansion.

*THE ARKANSAS SLAYER LAW: Anyone looking for a band name? This bill, from Rep. John Edwards, would keep the relations of anyone who unlawfully kills a property owner from inheriting said property. Which seems like it should already be a law. We need to find out the inspiration for this one.

*CHICKEN CAPITAL: Sen. Jon Woods wants Springdale to be known as "the poultry capital of the world."

*LOCAL CONTROL: Sen. Eddie Cheatham wants to put renewal of charter schools in the hands of local school boards, rather than the State Board of Education.

*LET'S JUST SECEDE: It's just a shell bill, but Rep. Randy Alexander appears to have put forward a measure that could serve as the theme of this General Assembly: The federal gubmint can't infringe on Arkansas law. Here's the title: "AN ACT TO AMEND ARKANSAS LAW CONCERNING INFRINGEMENTS OF THE CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS OR ITS CITIZENS VIA A FEDERAL ACT DEEMED TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES."

*PRIVACY WATCH: Privacy hawk Rep. Nate Steel, who's previously filed bills regulating the use of drones and preventing employers from accessing employee social media accounts, has filed a bill to limit the collection and storage of data by automatic license plate scanners, a device the Little Rock Police Department is using. As he promised on Twitter, Rep. Nate Bell is a co-sponsor.

*FEDERAL LAW DOESN'T COUNT WHEN IT COMES TO GUNS: Sen. Bryan King takes Rep. Bob Ballinger's "state's rights means the feds can't impose any regulation on our guns" mumbo-jumbo and ups the ante. Under King's bill, anyone trying to enforce ANY federal firearm law, regulation, rule, etc. in Arkansas is guilty of a Class D felony. UPDATE: King withdrew this one and filed another that, on a quick read, appears to be almost identical to Ballinger's HB.

A few good ones from earlier in the day we missed:

*ASSESSING LITIGATION COSTS OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILLS: It's just a shell bill, but the gist is there: Rep. Frederick Love wants fiscal impact statements on bills that're sure to inspire litigation to include the likely cost of said litigation. Makes sense.

*ETHICS REFORM: Rep. Warwick Sabin has filed his promised ethics reform package (HB1923, 1924, 1925), which would end corporate campaign contributions, extend the cooling-off period for former legislators to become lobbyists from 1 to 2 years and ban lobbyists from giving anything to legislators.

Shew. We had to tend to something else and now we're way behind.

*END CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: The governor said earlier this year that he'd sign a bill ending the death penalty in Arkansas if the legislature sent him one. Sen. Joyce Elliott has filed one.

*DON"T TAX MY SMOKES: Sen. Jake Files has a couple of crowd pleasing shell bills that would reduce taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products.

*LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIP PAYBACK: As promised, Rep. Nate Bell has filed a bill to require repayment of the Arkansas Academic Scholarship if a student drops out or doesn't achieve a degree. There are some exceptions. Rep. Kim Hammer has a similar bill in committee.

*NO DRONES FOR YOU: Sen. Jason Rapert doesn't want you or me or Rick Fahr flying an unmanned aerial device attached to a camera.

*RACIAL IMPACT STATEMENTS: Sen. Joyce Elliott wants them for any bill that would alter sentencing or the definition of a criminal offense to include an impact statement that includes the impact it would have on minorities, upon correctional facilities and on crime.

*NO SMOKING ANYWHERE: Rep. John Walker doesn't want anyone to smoke in public.

*SUSPICIOUS SHELL BILLS: There are dozens of 'em, but a few that caught our eye: Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson wants to amend the state FOIA law. Just in time for Sunshine Week. Sen. Bryan King wants to amend the way the members of most state commissions are chosen. Sen. David Sanders wants to define what a "journey" means as it pertains to a firearm.

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