House State Agencies a.m.

October 5, 2021

 

Tosh [00:00:00] Meeting is called to order. Committee members, what we’re going to do today is, you know, we go back into session at 11:00 a.m. We’ve got four bills on the agenda that we’ve not heard. We’re going to hear those four bills this morning. Again, we will not do an up or down vote on them, just like we did the others. After we hear those bills, then we’ll try to get back up into session. Hopefully we’ll be through with them. If not, we’ll just have to come back later. But we’ll go back up at 11 o’clock. And then upon adjournment, we, I will announce at that time what time we will return to committee. It’s my understanding and without objection that Representative Love does not, you did not want to run your bill. Is that correct? Sir? OK, so Representative Love is not going to run his bill today. And so that brings us to House Bill 1980, Representative Flowers. House Bill 1980, Representative Flowers. I don’t see Representative Flowers in the room, so we’ll move on to the next one, House Bill 1981, Representative Dotson. Representative Dodson, it’s– you have an amendment, is that correct? Committee members, what we’ll do, we’ll let Representative Dotson present his amendment. And we will vote on the amendment whether to adopt it or not. And then, then you will be allowed at that time, Representative Dotson to present your bill, but there will be no up or down vote. 

 

Dotson [00:01:52] Thank you, Mr. Chair. The amendment simply adds an emergency clause. It was missed in the drafting, so that’s all it does. I’d make a motion do pass or to adopt the amendment. 

 

Tosh [00:02:03] Okay, everybody’s got a copy of the amendment. It’s been explained by Representative Dotson. He’s made a motion of a do pass. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed no. The ayes have it. The amendment has been adopted. Representative Dotson, you’re now recognized to present your bill as adopted. 

 

Dotson [00:02:32] Thank you, Mr. Chair, members of the committee. We’re all probably getting used to looking at various maps and, and, and trying to figure out what’s in them. This one differs a little bit from most of what we’ve seen before in primarily the, the center of the state. So what I’ve presented in the past, District number 3 stays the same. Sebastian County’s split. The deviation is very tight on that. I believe it, it works out to 0 percent, but it’s about 24 people off of exact, exact. District number 2, the configuration changes in the counties that are there. Cleburne County would go into the 2nd. Van Buren, Conway and Perry counties would go into the 1st. And then the 4th for Conway and Perry counties. And Lonoke and Pulaski counties would be split. The 2nd congressional district, the deviation, it’s 91 people off and– of exactly on, spot on. And in this particular map, basically what this does is it keeps the, the– all the interstate cities coming out of Little Rock going up through Cabot into White County all together as communities of interest. So Cabot and Austin and Ward– there are a couple of little towns right along through there, and it brings that population into the 2nd District so that those, those communities stay all all together. The 1st Congressional District, if you look at the south part of it, Jefferson County is made whole late into the 4th. So the pieces that were part of the 1st are now part of the 4th. And in the 1st, it adds Van Buren, makes Searcy County whole, adds Marion and Boone counties to the 1st. And on the 4th side, it, it takes in all of Newton County, which was previously split. Obviously, Madison County goes to the 3rd, so it’s no longer in the 4th and it has, it takes in Pope County into the 4th. I think everything else is fairly self-explanatory by looking at the overall map. I won’t name every county, but be more than happy to try to answer any questions. 

 

Tosh [00:05:22] Any questions from committee members? Saying none, no– correction. Representative Hawks, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Hawks [00:05:32] Representative Dotson, are your cities in Pulaski County whole? 

 

Dotson [00:05:39] So on this particular map– let me zoom in here and look. The northern part of the county is not. But the city of Little Rock– along the I30 Corridor– it stays south of I-30 as it goes through Little Rock and the, the portion that’s on the south side of I-30 would be in the 1st. And then the north side of I-30, as it’s going through there would be in the, would stay in the 2nd. So there’s a few precincts along that edge that the city limits of Little Rock cross over I30. 

 

Tosh [00:06:26] Representative Johnson, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Johnson [00:06:29] And you know, you and I have discussed Sebastian County before, and, you know, I have a preference to try to keep Sebastian County whole and specifically whole in the 3rd. But understanding the challenges of that with the deviation, I guess I have questions about the southern border of Sebastian County in the 3rd. And you know, if we’re going to have to– you know, if the will of the committee is to vote out a bill that divides Sebastian County, how that gets divided, I think is important to me and to my constituents. You know, Greenwood School District runs up against Logan County. You know, trying to, trying to keep it not communities whole. School districts are part of the community. So I just had some questions about the details of where those precincts lie and how that boundary looks. 

 

Dotson [00:07:13] Yeah and I’m, I’m aware of the precincts you were discussing. We talked about them yesterday after this bill had already been filed. So I didn’t make changes, but I’m willing to to make, to make sure that those precincts we discussed with the Greenwood School District are part of it. 

 

Johnson [00:07:30] OK. 

 

Dotson [00:07:30] I think we can make that– if this is the map that we move forward with, I think that’s a fairly easy change to make and it keeps the deviations fairly tight. 

 

Johnson [00:07:39] Thank you. Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:07:42] Any further questions from committee members? Representative McCollum, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

McCollum [00:07:47] Thank you, Mr. Chair. So Representative Dodson, have you seen any other maps with a tighter standard deviation between the congressional districts than this one? Excuse me, maps that have been filed. 

 

Dotson [00:08:03] I’m trying to think– yes, my original map that I found was tighter in a couple of the districts. It was exactly the same in the 3rd. I’m trying to remember off the top of my head– I want to say the population deviation, the largest one in, in the first map that I’d filed was about 700 people off of– so it was 0.1 of a percent. In this particular one, it’s about 1,500 people off in the 1st. And so that’s 0.02 of a– it’s actually .21 of a percent. So yes, I’ve filed maps that are tighter than this. 

 

McCollum [00:08:49] Follow up? 

 

Tosh [00:08:51] You’re recognized for a follow up. 

 

McCollum [00:08:52] What about between a map that is not yours? 

 

Dotson [00:08:56] I have seen it drawn tighter than this. Yes. 

 

McCollum [00:09:00] Filed? 

 

Dotson [00:09:02] Oh, that’s filed? Goodness, I’m– there’s so many filed, I, I can’t even answer that off the top of my head. 

 

Tosh [00:09:11] Any further questions from committee members? Seeing none, no one has signed up to speak for or against the bill. Representative Dotson, you’re recognized to close. 

 

Dotson [00:09:23] Thank you. If, if this is– this map has, has kind of come about due to many conversations with various folks over the last several days and trying to accommodate the requests of as many people as possible. I know there are some other versions that we’re going to hear today. And so as we’re, we’re putting these things together, I’m, I’m open to making adjustments and tweaks to this or working with anybody else to make adjustments and tweaks to theirs to try to get the best, the best maps possible. Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:09:57] Thank you, Representative Dotson, appreciate your presentation. Committee members, Representative Love has informed me he is here today. He, he does want to present his map. So Representative Love, you’re recognized to go the end of the table and it will be House Bill 1978. Committee members, that’s House Bill 1978. I remind everyone, if you’re here and you’d like to speak for or against the bill, there’s a sign up sheet located just outside the door. And just sign that and it’ll make its way up here and we’ll recognize you. Representative Love, are you– you’re recognized to present your bill. 

 

Love [00:10:49] Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you committee for indulging me. House Bill 17– 1978 is a map in which I want to say that it takes a lot of things into consideration. But the major thing I want to do is to make sure that when we begin to draw maps, we’re kind of removing the politics and just looking at how the state and the populations are shifting. And so the premise that I started off with is anchor cities. And what I mean by anchor cities are cities that are, are– have a population more of– more than 75,000 or above to stabilize the population shift that we’re, we’re having. And so, with that being said, if you look at the map, it has four anchor cities that are above 75,000 or more. Of course, when you look in Congressional District number 1, you will have, you will have Jonesboro, which would serve as what I would consider our Anchor City, one that has a population. You look at the 2nd Congressional, you have Little Rock. And then when, when we came over to the 3rd, of course, with the growth that we’re experiencing in Northwest Arkansas, those are, those are anchor cities in which you have Fayetteville, you have Springdale that’s growing, you have Bentonville that’s growing. So that’s the fastest growing part of the state and so that we pretty much bought in. And then you look at the 4th congressional district, which is losing population. And so with that, that’s the idea. I put Sebastian County as a whole within the 3rd and we have Fort Smith. I took into consideration also the economic development piece. All the MSAs in this, in the the regions are all together. You have Fort Smith, you have Texarkana there in the, in the 4th. Then you have the MSA of Little Rock. That’s in the 2nd. Then you have the Craighead County. You have that area, the MSA, and then also you have the, the MSA that is, that is in the Washington County area. And so this, this map– you all– and if you look at the deviations, the deviations are, are pretty much tight. You have population shifts, but you have them to, to where if you look, if you look along– because I know that that Austin was talking about the deviations, it’s 0.5 for congressional district number 1. And I think that’s the one that’s pretty much over. But if you look at the 2nd congressional, that 0.28. The 3rd, 0.08. And then the 4th is 0.17. So it looks like the deviations are pretty tight. We kept all counties whole. But as I said, we thought about in this map not only the economic development interest, but make, make sure we try to stabilize the populations of these congressional districts. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I’m closed and I’m open for questions. 

 

Tosh [00:14:02] Any questions from committee members? Seeing none, no one is– just a minute. Just a minute. We’re checking to see if anyone signed up to speak for or against the bill, committee. Is there anyone in the audience that signed up to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none, representative, no one has signed up. Sorry, Representative Love, a little confusion here trying to find out if anyone signed up to speak for or against the bill. No one has signed up, so you’re recognized to close. 

 

Love [00:15:01] Well, I am closed, Mr. Chair, and I appreciate the committee’s indulgence. 

 

Tosh [00:15:06] Thank you, Representative Love, for your presentation. Committee members, I think I saw Representative Flowers, is that correct? Did– you’re here? OK, she’s in the room now. So if you would, just have a seat at the end of the table, and you’re recognized to present House Bill 1980. 

 

Flowers [00:15:43] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Give me just a second. I’m going to pull up my notes. 

 

Tosh [00:15:48] When you get ready, you’re recognized, Rep. Flowers. Just take your time. 

 

Flowers [00:15:52] Thank you. I have been before many of you and presented a bill that largely does the same thing in meeting all four of the primary guidelines, federal guidelines. And what I did was sort of worked on the map from before, but was able to create a map that achieved the goal of not cutting any counties, not cutting into any precincts. And so what we have here now since we’re still within the 1 percent deviation is we have a map that meets all four of the criteria. And I think that what makes this map especially appropriate and beneficial for the state of Arkansas is that I think it does a good job of capturing the traditional Delta counties. And so for many people who understand the significance of the Delta as it relates to Arkansas’s economy, whether you’re looking at agriculture or whether you’re looking at tourism, I think that this map achieves the opportunity for us to place more focus on the Delta and cut the existing line that divides the Delta between north and south and instead incorporates all of the Delta counties together, especially along the eastern border of the state and encapsulates Little Rock, which is also for many reasons considered a part of the Delta given its connection to the river. So without repeating everything that I’ve already stated in my previous presentation, I’d be open for any questions. 

 

Tosh [00:18:07] Any questions from committee members? Seeing none, no one has signed up to speak for or against me. Rep. Flowers, you’re recognized to close to your bill. 

 

Flowers [00:18:17] Yeah. The only other thing that I would reiterate is that this bill, along with a very few of the bills that you’ve heard, vary significantly and specifically addresses minority representation. And I’ve had an opportunity to sort of reflect on some of the questions and the comments. But I would remind you that even with all of the bills that you’ve heard or seen where there is a focus on ensuring the most optimal minority representation, I would point out that not any of those maps, including this one, creates a minority majority as it relates to voting age population, nor do any of the maps create a plurality of any one particular group within that group of minority groups. So the notion that this somehow creates a district to draw around and create some plurality for one particular group is simply not true. And so it would beg the question, why wouldn’t we optimize and maximize to meet that guideline? To not do it means we’re making a definitive decision to exercise the status quo. And that status quo is to not recognize minority representation, and as a matter of fact, to draw around it. So with that, I close and ask for your consideration and thank you for your attention. 

 

Tosh [00:20:06] Thank you, Representative Flowers, for the presentation. Committee members, we’re going to go ahead and start the next bill. That’s House Bill 1982. Representative Speaks, if you would, just have a seat at the end of the table. 

 

Speaks [00:20:50] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I bring to you today House Bill, let’s see, 1982. Actually, this is kind of a amendment, but we wanted a clean bill to start with, so that’s what we have done here. And as you can see, we have two counties that we split. One was Sebastian County. And what we done, we left two precincts in it and trying to not touch any city. So all the cities are clear. You know, they’re all together. Pulaski County was the other one. And the only thing that we added to that one was, it was, I believe, it’s a couple of precincts and it’s down around where the Bill and Hillary Airport is. What this done, it tightened up all of the deviations in that. So I want to bring those down where you can look at them. And you can see in the 1st district we have a minus 0.37. Then with the 2nd District, it’s a minus 0.33. With the 3rd District, it’s, it’s a 0.39. And then in the 4th District, it’s a 0.31. So what we done, we just tried to tighten up because the other map that I had presented, there was a couple of counties that was– I mean, yeah, districts, I’m sorry– that had been, just needed to be tightened up. The– all of the cities in Little Rock, Jacksonville, and North Little Rock, they are all left whole. So we did not split any of them. So if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. 

 

Tosh [00:22:58] Any questions from committee members? Representative Johnson, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Johnson [00:23:03] Yes, Rep. Speaks. And you and I spoke before, and I sort of have the same question for you as I did for Representative Dotson. Obvious in your map, you divide Sebastian County, and understand why. But the details of how that gets divided, I think is important to my community in trying to keep communities whole. Are you willing to work with us on trying to incorporate and look at the details of how those precincts are divided in that county? And do you think that affects the deviation in any great way to try to at least keep communities whole if we’re, if we’re having to divide the county? 

 

Speaks [00:23:32] Sure, if that’s needed. I would be happy to. I think that’s what we did with this map. 

 

Johnson [00:23:38] Yeah, the current map doesn’t seem to–

 

Tosh [00:23:40] You’re recognized, Rep. Johnson. 

 

Johnson [00:23:41] Yeah, I’m sorry. The current map doesn’t seem to reflect that, at least the one I’m looking at. But again, the visuals can be hard at the detail level. So, I just might get with you after committee. 

 

Speaks [00:23:50] OK. 

 

Johnson [00:23:50] Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

 

Tosh [00:23:51] Thank you, representative. Any further questions from committee members? Representative Dotson, you’re recognized. 

 

Dotson [00:24:00] Thank you, Mr. Chair. On your map here in Pulaski County, which communities are being split? 

 

Speaks [00:24:11] Well, I left– it’s the same that we had before that joins up with the 1st District. And those were– most of them were the rural going up through there. I don’t remember what all it took in, but we kept them in precincts where they were easy for the voting and that. Then on the other, it was– what I actually added this yesterday when we done the map was took in the Bill and Hillary Airport. And I believe that was two precincts there. 

 

Tosh [00:24:53] Rep. Dotson, you need a follow up? 

 

Dotson [00:24:54] I suppose so. 

 

Tosh [00:24:56] Ok, you’re recognized. 

 

Dotson [00:24:57] So if I’m looking at the precincts from your bill draft here, if I’ve got it– look– I think I’m zoomed in on it. The Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport stays in the 2nd, and– 

 

Speaks [00:25:09] Yes, it does. 

 

Dotson [00:25:11] –the communities of Sherwood and Jacksonville are split along the south side of 167 as you’re going up. 

 

Speaks [00:25:19] I didn’t think so when we looked at the map. But the Bill and Hillary went down to the 4th District. 

 

Tosh [00:25:30] Committee members, Rep. Dotson, I hate to pause at this point. But we’ll take– we’re going to resume right here where we left out. I’ve got one person signed up to speak against the bill. So but we need to get up to session. It starts at 11 o’clock. So when we come back, Representative Speaks, you’ll be at the table. Representative Dotson, you’ll be recognized for your questions. So with that, we’re in recess. 

 

[RECESS]

 

Tosh [00:00:54] Committee members, if you would, go ahead and make your way to your seats and we’ll get started here in just about one minute. Committee members, if you would, please go ahead and take a seat. We need to get started. This committee is reconvened. When we left off, Representative Speaks was at the end of the table. If you would, Representative Speaks, go ahead and take a seat at the end of the table. Thank you. 

 

Speaks [00:01:55] Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

 

Tosh [00:01:57] And I believe, I believe that when we paused earlier, Representative Speaks, I believe Representative Dotson was, had just asked a question. I can’t remember if he’d just asked a question or if you were in the process of answering the question. But let’s, let’s go back to his question and then go from there. Representative Dotson. 

 

Dotson [00:02:18] Well, thank you, Mr. Chair. I’ve had lunch and we debated bills on the floor, and I don’t remember exactly where we were at with this. But I think I was, I was focused on the pieces of Sherwood and Jacksonville that are split in this, this variation of the map. And, and just to clarify, I think I heard you say that the airport in Little Rock was– I’m not sure which, which one you were supposed to– you said it was supposed to be in, but it’s in the 2nd on this map. So I just wanted to verify that’s what you thought– that’s where it’s supposed to be. 

 

Speaks [00:03:04] It was put into the 4th District. We took it in, and we were taking in the Bill and Hillary airport and you asked me about the other. And I want to assure everyone. I questioned that after you’d asked me. And so Pulaski County– or Little Rock, Jacksonville, Sherwood, and let’s see, North Little Rock, they are all whole cities. We did not go into any of those. And when we drew our map, we drew it with the Bill and Hillary Airport, and it’s down in the 4th District there and the others is up there, which went into the 1st District. 

 

Dotson [00:03:58] OK, so I–

 

Tosh [00:03:59] Need a follow up? 

 

Dotson [00:04:01] Yeah, I’m, I’m– 

 

Tosh [00:04:03] You’re recognized for a follow up. 

 

Dotson [00:04:04] Thank you. I’m assuming this is– because I followed the bill, not the– I guess, what the map that you were working off of– and just put the precincts into a map. And so we may just have the wrong precincts in here to do what you’re wanting it to do because that’s not exactly what the map does or the bill does. Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:04:29] Any further questions from committee members? Representative Beck, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Beck [00:04:38] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. So now my concern is, is if the precincts are wrong in the map or whatever, do we need to maybe give them some time to resolve that issue– 

 

Speaks [00:04:51] They’re not wrong. 

 

Beck [00:04:51] –that we are looking at the right– are the numbers right on the sheet now? 

 

Tosh [00:04:59] Representative Beck, I think that’s a question for the sponsor, not for the chair. I didn’t draft bill, but– 

 

Speaks [00:05:04] Just a minute. And let’s see, am I reading this right? Because when we talked about it, it was my understanding that was going to go. It’s right in here? OK. So I am– I’ll have to say I was wrong. But so the airport in that was left in the 2nd District. I just misunderstood as we were drawing this map. 

 

Tosh [00:05:31] OK, Representative Beck, is that a surprise for you or do you have a follow up? 

 

Beck [00:05:37] Yes, please. Your– the, the numbers that related as far as the variations and stuff in the maps, your, your– the numbers that are in front of us are correct?

 

Speaks [00:05:49] Yes, they are correct. I just misunderstood when we were drawing the map, I thought it went down in that other part there. 

 

Beck [00:05:59] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

 

Tosh [00:06:00] You’re welcome. Any further questions from committee members. Seeing none, we got one, one person signed up to speak against the bill. We have a Representative Ennett? Are you in the room? I saw you here earlier this morning. You signed up to speak against the bill. Are you in the room? I don’t see her, so no one else has signed up to speak for or against the bill. Representative Speaks, you’re recognized to close for your bill. 

 

Speaks [00:06:42] I’d just like to close. And when we do get to where we can vote, I’d ask for a good vote. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

 

Tosh [00:06:50] Okay, thank you for your presentation. Committee members, the next item on today’s agenda is House Bill 1983. Representative Payton. Representative Payton, you’re recognized to present your House Bill 1983. 

 

Payton [00:07:19] Thank you, Mr. Chair and colleagues. I didn’t expect to be presenting a map in this endeavor, but sitting on this committee and seeing all the maps that’s been proposed in front of us kind of got my head spinning. And we finally had an opportunity to rank those, those maps. And then, regardless of the ranking, they’ve all disappeared and seemed to be off the table to some extent. So late yesterday afternoon, I got to working with a couple of people that are geniuses on their computer and on their map and on the tools that they have. And I think I’ve come up with a map that does not have very much opposition, but not very many people have seen it yet. So I’ll concede to that. If you look at the map, in general, it creates two metropolitan districts, the 3rd and the 2nd and two basically rural districts, which would be the 1st and the 4th. And you know, we’ve heard a lot of discussion about what criteria we use to try to divide and, and whether it be geographical or, or, you know, by agriculture versus commerce or things like that. You know, I’d like to think that Arkansans stick together a little better than that. But I do consider the geographical high priority. And if you look in the 1st district, while it still runs a huge gamut around the east side of Arkansas, down in that southeast corner we’re adding Drew to stop that bottleneck into Chicot. We heard a lot from the agriculture lobby in Chicot and Desha and Lincoln that wanted to stay in the 1st. And I think Drew is a very good fit down there. It helped to balance some numbers that I’ll explain about why we needed that balance. As many of you know, up in the 3rd and in the northwest area of Arkansas, Sebastian does not like to be a split county. And we’ve tried several suggestions that would have kept it whole. And it’s just not working. So even as I speak, Representative Johnson is working with BLR for an amendment on this that I may propose at some point that would extend the line you’re seeing a little further south in Sebastian. So I want you to understand that. It keeps the 3rd more in a block without without running up and down. If you look at the page that shows the current district lines, you can see how we smoothed that jagged up and down effect. But basically it only splits two counties, and that’s Pulaski and Sebastian. And even with the amendment that may come tweak it just a little bit, and it’s supposed to be ready here 20 or 30 minutes, it will still be splitting Sebastian, it’ll just be further south. But the amendment would pull the southwest corner of Conway County that is on the opposite side of the Arkansas River. So I’m telling you all this because as a committee member, I’ve seen these goalposts moving and the target moving and you know, we hear bills being presented. And normally, you know, somebody wouldn’t sit here and describe in detail an amendment that may be coming. But my commitment to this committee is with the amendment that is coming, if we adopt it, I will not move this goalpost again. It can pass or fail up or down. I do have some support in the Senate. I do have a Senate co-sponsor. I have some support on the Senate committee. It’s not been whipped to know exactly how much. But folks, I don’t want to vote and rank sponsors. I want to vote and rank the content of the bill and the policy within the bill. And so I’ll be– when we do come to a vote and here, if I have an opportunity, I’ll be presenting this with an amendment that moves the line a little bit further south in Sebastian and satisfies several people in Sebastian County. It takes the southwest corner of Conway County that’s on the opposite side of the Arkansas River and puts it in the 4th, and the rest of this map would stay the same. So I would appreciate any questions, or I’ll do my best to try to answer. 

 

Tosh [00:12:07] Any question from committee members? Representative McCollum, you’re recognized. 

 

McCollum [00:12:10] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Yes, Representative Payton, looking at, you know, kind of a significant– a little bit more of a shift in the 2nd than maybe some of the other maps. And we’ve seen a lot of different maps. Really where I’m going is, can you guide me along the line of thinking from, you know, starting in Saline and going through, I guess, basically Little Rock all the way to White. Is that one corridor or like, what, what are you thinking there? 

 

Payton [00:12:39] Well, I appreciate the question. Actually, there’s more than one corridor there. So one map that’s been proposed would take Van Buren, which is a very rural county, out of the 2nd and put Cleburne, which is a very rural county in the 2nd. So I alluded to it at the beginning a little bit about metropolitan, urban areas versus rural areas and whether or not they mix well. Well, I have a really good friend that represents part of Van Buren County, and it’s, it hasn’t worked well for the last 10 years evidently having a county that rural being represented alongside Little Rock in the 2nd District. So what we did is we started down around in Saline County, Benton, Bryant down in there. You’ve got I30 coming to Little Rock, then you’ve got Highway 67 167 going northeast all the way up through Cabot, all the way to Searcy, McRae, Beebe. I’ve got an auto auction in Beebe. So right up that corridor, but then also towards Conway on Highway 40, you’ve got a lot of urban metropolitan build up that direction. So the 2nd District as drawn here, does not cut any cities in half. But it includes what I’ve been calling the commerce corridor, which is Benton to Searcy and to Conway along in that metropolitan urban area, if that answers your question. I thought it made sense that way. 

 

McCollum [00:14:20] Appreciate it. 

 

Tosh [00:14:22] Any further questions from committee members? Rep. Dotson, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Dotson [00:14:28] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I was looking at this from what you’re describing as far as the amendment that’s, that you say could be added to this. And if that’s, if it’s done like what I’ve got, what I think it is going to be, it would make your deviations in all four of these, a 0.12 is the highest deviation in any of the the counties, which is, is one of the tightest. Yeah, all of them would be under a thousand people off and one of the tightest deviations as far as any map we’ve seen. Would that, is that correct? 

 

Payton [00:15:07] That– so I’m waiting on the amendment. And as long as the information I have off of this website that if, that if those numbers match BLR’s numbers, then yes, it’s going to be under a thousand on deviation. 

 

Dotson [00:15:21] Thank you. 

 

Payton [00:15:21] In all four districts. 

 

Dotson [00:15:22] That makes this probably one of my favorite maps. Thank you. 

 

Payton [00:15:25] I appreciate that. Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:15:27] Representative Beck, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Beck [00:15:31] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Just some clarification. You said that on the southwest corner of Conway County that that would be, that would go over into the 4th District. Did you say that you were using the the Arkansas River as a boundary there? So, what– 

 

Payton [00:15:52] It’s my understanding– 

 

Beck [00:15:52] –I’m saying is west, west of the river would be in the 4th Congressional and east would be the 2nd. 

 

Payton [00:15:58] That’s my understanding. Yes, sir. Thank you. 

 

Beck [00:16:01] Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:16:03] Any further questions from committee members? Seeing none, no one has signed up to speak for or against the bill. Representative Payton, you are recognized to close with the bill. 

 

Payton [00:16:11] Thank you, members. I just would appreciate it at the proper time that we get a chance to consider and vote up or down. Appreciate y’all. 

 

Tosh [00:16:20] Thank you for your presentation, representative. Committee members, at this time, we’re going to take a 10 minute recess. 

 

[00:16:59] [Recess] 

 

Tosh [00:29:01] I’ve got an announcement to make. Committee members, if you would, go ahead and take your seats. Let’s hold the noise down. I need everybody to make sure they hear this announcement. Y’all just hold up for a minute. We’re fixing to make an announcement then while everybody’s in here, if you don’t mind, please. Committee members, we are going to take a recess and we’ll be back at– we will reconvene at 3:30. So we’re recessed until 3:30. Thank you, committee members. 

 

[RECESS]

 

House State Agencies part 3

October 5, 2021

 

Tosh [00:00:58] Committee, this, this, the meeting, this committee has reconvened. At this time, I’d just like to make a few opening comments before we get started if I could have your attention, please. You know, as we started out with these meetings when we first got here, the goal of this committee is to recommend one proposal. And you know, when I started, I set up a, what we called a weight value on the bills that were, excuse me, that were introduced, and we had three that finished in the top three from the input from this committee. So what I’m going to do to honor that process was what I originally stated was– we’re going to go at this time and we’re going to go back to those three bills that received the most high scores, one, two and three. That was Representative Speaks, Representative Dodson and Representative Gonzalez in that order. So at this time, I’m going to ask Representative Speaks to go to the end of the table and present your original bill. The one that we amended that the committee voted on was House Bill 1971. House Bill 1971, that was the original, that was the original bill Representative Speaks, and that’s one that garnered the most, most points in from the committee. So if you would, just have a seat at the end of the table. You’re recognized to present your original bill. I know you had an amendment on it to this committee approved. That House Bill 1971. 

 

Speaks [00:03:02] I’m not sure that it’s engrossed in here. 

 

Tosh [00:03:08] Just a minute. Some of you may not have it. Rep. Wardlaw, did you have a– 

 

Wardlaw [00:03:16] I have a motion, I guess, Mr. Chairman, at the proper time for you. 

 

Tosh [00:03:20] Let me hear the motion. 

 

Wardlaw [00:03:22] I have a motion to substitute House bill, substitute House Bill 1982 for House bill 1971. When we left here that day, we were all understanding there’d be some tweaking of that bill. That tweaking has taken place. The bill was filed and there is actually an amendment to 1982 to finish that tweaking. So I’d make a motion to substitute 1971 for 1982. I hope I’m not confusing. 

 

Tosh [00:03:59] OK, that, that is a proper motion. It is a debatable motion. Committee, you’ve heard the motion by Representative Wardlaw. Is there any discussion on the motion? Representative Payton, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion from Representative Wardlaw. 

 

Payton [00:04:17] I’m unable to locate a map of 1982. I’d like an overlay of 82 and 71. See how, you know, how much they’re alike? Well, if I could have a minute to dig through my packet again, I’ve already dug through it. Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:04:34] OK, let’s give Representative– Representative Payton, let me know when you have that in front of you and your, you’re ready to go. Representative Payton, are you, are you ready? 

 

Payton [00:04:59] Yes, I got an overlay there. 

 

Tosh [00:05:00] OK, thank you. Any further discussion from– Representative Miller? You’re recognized for discussion on the motion by Representative Wardlaw. 

 

Miller [00:05:10] Well, I don’t know if it’s the proper time, but I’ve got a substitute motion to Representative Wardlaw’s substitute motion. 

 

Tosh [00:05:20] Let me hear you– let me hear that. Let me hear your substitute motion? 

 

Miller [00:05:26] I make the motion that we substitute the bill number that Rep. Wardlaw said for Bill number HB 1983. 

 

Tosh [00:05:46] Just a minute, Representative Miller. Representative Miller, just make sure I’ve got my House bill correct, that was 1983 that you’re making a motion to, is that correct? 

 

Miller [00:06:23] Yes, sir. 

 

Tosh [00:06:24] OK. That is a proper motion. It is debatable. Any discussion on the motion by Representative Miller? Representative Payton, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion by Representative Miller. 

 

Payton [00:06:43] Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Representative Miller. I just want to assure the committee that the map as is where is with all its faults, no representation of warranty expressed or denied, is a workable map. You know, the small tweak that I had mentioned earlier and the amendment that was being drafted earlier only affected two or three hundred population each direction. As is, the deviation is very small and the districts make sense, as I explained earlier, and I’d appreciate a good vote. 

 

Tosh [00:07:24] Did you say you had an amendment to that, to 1983? Did I misunderstand you? 

 

Payton [00:07:29] I had an amendment, but got it tied up in confusion with BLR, so it’s not going to be prepared and the bill is fine as is. It does not need the amendment. So we’re good to go is what I’m assuring. 

 

Tosh [00:07:42] So the motion is for House Bill 1983 as is without an amendment. Is that correct? 

 

Payton [00:07:48] That’s the way I would understand it. Yes. 

 

Tosh [00:07:50] Is that correct, Representative Miller? Is that your motion? 

 

Miller [00:07:52] Yes, sir. 

 

Tosh [00:07:53] OK. Any further discussion? Representative Beck, you’re recognized for discussion on Representative Miller’s motion.

 

Beck [00:08:01] And, and I apologize. I was actually going to jump in on Rep. Wardlaw’s, but it fits with yours also. We are now taking maps that we went and we took an hour long recess and we looked at and we decided which ones were the best and we rated them. And now we’re substituting maps that have nothing to do with those original maps. They’re modified maps. So my– I guess my point is is I have some concern as to this process. It’s almost like we we went through a process where we gave everything a weighted average and then now we’re going to throw that out the door by saying that all you really needed was just to get a map filed and you can substitute another map without it being weighted at any point in the process. And that doesn’t seem like– I really, and I truly liked the way you were handling this, allowing us all to weight it and to get in there and that helped narrow it down. But now it looks like we’re throwing that all out the door and just like, you know, who’s going to stop someone else from another motion here in just a second to substitute something else in there? So I just have my concerns about the validity of this. 

 

Tosh [00:09:14] OK, well, I did call Representative Speaks to the table to run House bill, and it was a proper motion by Representative Wardlaw. It’s also a proper motion by Representative Miller. And they are both debatable and that’s what we’re doing at this time. So any further discussion on Representative Miller’s motion in regards to House Bill 1983? Representative Miller, you have a follow up. 

 

Miller [00:09:37] Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chair. And Rep. Beck, you make a very fair point. And I don’t, I don’t think anybody in her. Came back in here at 3:30 with the anticipation of voting up or down or Representative Speaks’ original bill. And as far as we all took the hour and a half or whatever, there were a select few that took the hour and a half and made, you know, made some changes and came to some conclusions or whatever. But I don’t know what that speaks necessarily for the whole committee, and we’re just trying to follow the process and we’ll see what happens. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

 

Tosh [00:10:26] Any further discussion on Representative Miller’s motion? Seeing none, all in favor of Representative Miller’s motion say aye. All opposed say no. The noes have it. The motion has failed. Now going back to Representative Wardlaw. Representative Wardlaw had a motion to, for replacement on Representative Speaks’ Bill of 1971 with House Bill 1980–. 

 

Wardlaw [00:10:59]  1982 House Bill 1982. 

 

Tosh [00:11:05] It was 1982. Any discussion of that motion? Representative Wardlaw, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion. 

 

Wardlaw [00:11:13] Just to be clear because it was brought up in the substitute motion. There is an amendment to House Bill 1982 that is the same amendment that was just passed in the Senate. That is– that, I just want to be clear. It’s not 1982 as its current form. It is 1982 with an amendment that Rep. Speaks is ready to present. So there is an amendment. I just want fair, open process. Rep. Miller said it right. No one came in here that I know of expecting to vote on 1971. I think that was a very fair statement, and thank you for for making sure that the committee’s clear on that and the public’s clear. But there is an amendment to 1982 that brings in some agreement. 

 

Tosh [00:12:01] Any further discussion? Representative Payton, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion from Representative Wardlaw in regards to 1983. 

 

Payton [00:12:09] Thank you. So I guess–

 

Tosh [00:12:12] 1982, I’m sorry. 

 

Payton [00:12:12] I guess my question is when we vote on this motion, then will we have discussion and debate on the bill or will we move straight to a vote on the bill? 

 

Tosh [00:12:21] No, we will have discussion on the bill. It’s my understanding, Rep. Wardlaw just mentioned and I’m sure Rep. Speaks will refer to this in her, in her testimony at the end of the table that she has an amendment to this bill. I think that’s what I’m understanding. Has that amendment been parsed out? Not yet, because we’re not to that point yet. But anyways, to answer your question, yes. 

 

Payton [00:12:46] Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:12:47] You’re welcome. Any– Rep. Beck? 

 

Beck [00:12:52] So, if this motion– excuse me, if this motion passes, then as I understand it, we will have the amended version of 1982– 

 

Tosh [00:13:01] Correct. 

 

Beck [00:13:03] –before us. And Nelda’s going to present that bill as amended for us to vote up and down on? 

 

Tosh [00:13:09] That’s right. That will be presented to the committee. And at that time, we’ll vote on the, on the amendment. And if it passes at the will of this committee, then she will present her bill as amended. Any further discussion on the motion by Representative Wardlaw? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed say no. The ayes have it. The motion has carried. Representative Speaks, at this time instead of presenting House Bill 1971, you will present House Bill 1982. But first you will present the amendment. So, committee members, I don’t believe you have a copy of the amendment. Is that correct? We’re going to hand those out at this time and I’ll give you, give you a couple of minutes to review that amendment. 

 

Speaks [00:14:17] Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair. 

 

Tosh [00:14:24] Representative Speaks, you have a comment?

 

Speaks [00:14:27] Yes, I do. Somewhere when they made the, the map, they’ve got the wrong number up there. The map is correct, but it should be 1982 and it has 1981. But it’s just an error that got done when they were trying to get the map made. 

 

Tosh [00:14:51] OK, the map is wrong, but the amendment is correct, is that right? 

 

Speaks [00:14:54] Yes. The map is correct. 

 

Tosh [00:14:57] OK, as long as the amendment has the correct House bill on it, then that was just a clerical error on the map is the way I’m understanding what you’re saying. 

 

Speaks [00:15:06] That is correct. 

 

Tosh [00:15:07] OK. 

 

Speaks [00:15:07] And that is the correct map that’s up there. 

 

Tosh [00:15:10] OK, so we have the correct map and also in the amendment, we have the correct House bill. So that’s OK. All right, committee members, anybody need any more time to review the amendment before we move forward? Seeing none, Representative Speaks, at this time you’re recognized to present your amendment to House Bill 1982. 

 

Speaks [00:15:33] Thank you, Mr. Chair. To make the correction, we added back in to Sebastian County five precincts, which will bring that– all of that will be going into the 3rd District. We have– and that is the Glenwood School District. So it, so it has been put back in– Greenwood. I’m sorry. Greenwood, Greenwood School District. Bonanza stayed, which that will be in the 4th District. That’s in Sebastian County. We also done some cleanup with Sherwood and Jacksonville to make sure it is whole. We took some rural precincts from, and, and took that up on Pulaski County up to I30. And we made sure that all the infrastructure that is stayed in to county. We put back Lincoln County into the 1st District. And after we’ve done all of this, all four districts will be less than 0.05. Would there be any questions? 

 

Tosh [00:16:56] Committee members, Rep. Speaks has presented the amendment. Any, any questions? Representative Hawks, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Hawks [00:17:06] Quick question. Sherwood and Jacksonville, are they in the 2nd District? 

 

Speaks [00:17:13] Yes, yes, sir. We just made sure there was some talk about it, but made sure that they are whole in 2nd District. 

 

Hawks [00:17:21] Wonderful. Thank you very much. 

 

Tosh [00:17:24] Representative Payton, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Payton [00:17:28] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly or not, but at one point did this map split North Little Rock? And is that corrected, or is it still splitting North Little Rock? 

 

Speaks [00:17:41] No, my understanding is it is not. Now it has come up, I don’t think to Little Rock, but it’s, but they’re whole. 

 

Payton [00:17:51] OK. And I may have had that confused with another map. 

 

Speaks [00:17:54] Well, that’s my understanding. 

 

Payton [00:17:56] Thank you. 

 

Tosh [00:18:00] Any further questions from committee members on the amendment? No one has signed up to speak against the amendment. Seeing no further– you’re signed up to speak against the bill, not the amendment. And you’ll be given that opportunity once the bill is presented, but not the amendment. So the amendment has– you ready to close for your amendment, Rep. Speaks? 

 

Speaks [00:18:35] I am and I, I ask for a good vote on the motion– on the amendment of the motion. 

 

Tosh [00:18:44] Representative Speaks has made a motion for a yes vote on the amendment. All in favor say aye. All opposed say no. The amendment is passed. You’re now recognized to present House Bill 1982 as amended. 

 

Speaks [00:19:04] So it’s exactly like what we talked about before. And, and now we have back in, we only have the– I guess it’s called three splits in Pulaski County. And they are the ones that go into the 2nd District and there’s some going into the 3rd– I mean the 4th and into the 1st District. Like I had explained earlier with Sebastian County, we’ve made it much better by putting back Greenwood into the district and moving Lincoln into the 1st District. So and I know that that was some things that people wanted. So if there’s any questions on the bill that I had presented with the motion of the amendment, I’d be happy to answer. 

 

Tosh [00:20:08] Representative Speaks has presented the bill as amended. Any discussion from– we’ve got a motion of a do pass. Any discussion from– oh, you hadn’t made a motion yet have you, Rep.Speaks? I’m sorry. Any discussion from committee members? Any questions. Seeing none, Representative Speaks, we’ve got one person signed up to speak against the bill. Mrs. Whitfield, are you in the audience? Mrs. Whitfield, did I pronounce that correctly? If you would, just have a seat there at the end of the table. If you would, just pull the mic up close to you, make sure that it’s on, and identify yourself to the committee. 

 

Whitfield [00:20:59] Sure, my name is Dr. Anika T. Whitfield. Not misses, but I’m doctor Anika T. Whitfield. And I thank you for giving me this opportunity. 

 

Tosh [00:21:07] You’re recognized, ma’am, go ahead. 

 

Whitfield [00:21:08] Thank you. Yes, I’m concerned about the congressional districts for many different reasons. As you can see at this board, there’s not a lot of diversity on this committee. But in our state there are at least 17 percent of African Americans in our state and disproportionately concentrated in certain areas. And what I don’t understand is why Little Rock would be carved out as one of the districts that would not be made whole. Why there are specific areas in the city of Little Rock that would be pulled away that are more concentrated on African Americans that are in that area pulled out of the 2nd Congressional District into the 4th? I think that it shows the inequity that we see even in this committee, but sadly the inequities that we’ve been seeing in our nation. And so I would ask that you would rise above trying to separate people that are African American, that you would rise above trying to continue to discriminate and that you would provide the entire area– I don’t understand why you would carve out part of the area to go into District 1 and another part to go to District 4, but the rest of Pulaski County and parts of Little Rock to be in the 2nd Congressional District. And so I would really like to get a better understanding as to why that was done and how we can overcome. Because I heard earlier, Representative Speaks said that Sherwood is going to be made whole, that another area in Pulaski County was going to be made whole. Why not Little Rock? And so it seems like a direct target on our city and particularly on African Americans, and that’s, that’s very disheartening. 

 

Tosh [00:22:59] Mrs. Whitfield, would you stay there for just a moment, please? We have a question from a committee member. Representative Jean, you’re recognized for a question, a comment. 

 

Jean [00:23:08] The maps were– thank you, Mr. Chairman. Unless the map drawers were wrong, my understanding is the City of Little Rock was left whole, and it was just the rural portion of Pulaski County that was split up. 

 

Whitfield [00:23:22] [00:23:22]Can you explain what the rural portion is? Because when I look at it, it dips– this map looks like it’s dipping into Little Rock.

 

Jean [00:23:28] [00:23:28]Well, I didn’t draw the map. I just asked the question earlier, and somebody with map expertise would have to– but our understanding of this committee was we split no cities. And that’s, that’s what we’re voting on. 

 

Whitfield [00:23:43] [00:23:43]Okay. And can I ask a question? So what are considered to be the rural areas that are in orange or brown that would encompass the 4th Congressional District? Can someone make that plain? What cities or towns are those? 

 

Tosh [00:24:04] [00:24:04]Do a committee member want to help answer that question? If not, we’ll move on. Any other questions from committee members? Seeing none, Miss Whitfield, thank you for your testimony at the table today. We appreciate you coming to this committee. 

 

Whitfield [00:24:20] I appreciate getting to speak. 

 

Tosh [00:24:20] Thank you. Representative Speaks, are you ready to close with– 

 

Speaks [00:24:39] I am, and I wanted to– there was another one that was divided also. And some of the reasons that we’re having to dip into that, to Pulaski County, it’s the largest city, or the largest county in our district. So therefore we had to dip in in order to make our numbers come back to what we’re supposed to do. And that was the reason. And some of it we’re trying to get was Wright– I was trying to get the names of those that we– Wrightsville and– 

 

Tosh [00:25:18] Y’all, let’s ask her questions or put comments in some type of permission to do so. I can’t just allow people to start talking in the committee. So does– 

 

Speaks [00:25:31] Sorry about that. 

 

Tosh [00:25:31] That’s OK. So are you, are you– 

 

Speaks [00:25:34] I make a motion for a do pass and a good vote for my bill as amended. 

 

Tosh [00:25:43] We’ve got a motion from Rep. Speaks. She’s closed with her bill and she’s made a motion of a do pass as amended. Any discussion on the do pass as amended? Representative Dotson, you’re recognized for discussion on the do pass as amended. 

 

Dotson [00:26:02] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Just for clarification, I looked at the map here and it is following the city of Little Rock along I-30 on the– I don’t know if it’s north or south or east or west, how you’d– it angles across. On the south side of I-30 is in the 4th. On the north side, it’s in the 2nd. So the City of Little Rock along I30 is a natural border there. And then there’s a precinct or so of the tip of North Little Rock goes into the 1st. So those two are, those two municipalities are in different, have some split along those. Wrightsville– what is this– Woodsen, Hensley, Landmark, and Sweet Home are all in the 4th entirely. 

 

Tosh [00:27:08] Thank you, Representative Dotson. Any further discussion on the motion of a do pass? Rep. Payton, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion. 

 

Payton [00:27:15] Thank you, Mr. Chair. So colleagues, I’m going to vote against this and I want you to understand why. Part of it is the bill. There are things in this bill that I don’t like and I’m not willing to vote for. But another big portion of why I’m voting against this is the process. Our chair, Tosh, has done a great job of trying to lay out a framework and follow it to a point. But right now to vote on this bill up or down is to vote your approval on the process. Because when we ranked our top three out of eight or 10 that we were looking at, the number one bill on your list got three points. There’s 20 members. That’s a possibility of 60 points. House Bill 1971 got 44 if my memory serves correct out of 60. Now, the reason it did or part of the reason it did is because I ranked 1971 number one on my list, even though I liked– I can’t remember the number, Dotson’s bill, 1970, I think,– I liked it a little bit better. But my second ranking bill moved my home county to the 2nd district. So the bottom line is if if Cleburne County’s moving to the 2nd and I were ranking it today– and so what I’m trying to point out is, a major reason I ranked 1971 ahead of 1970 was because of the Cleburne County thing. Well, now 1971 is moving Cleburne County to the 2nd. So it totally changes how I would rank the bills, and I would assume that there are probably other reasons related or not related to some of mine that you ranked your bills the way you did. But for us, if we had, if we had known that we were not ranking bills, but we were ranking sponsors and trying to decide which sponsor gets to carry the Senate version– I mean, I made the comment in here earlier jokingly, but you know, we play Mother May I with the Senate all the time, and then today it turns in to, Simon says. So are you going to approve that process? Are we going to put the brakes on and have a reset? I don’t know what might ultimately come out of this committee if we put the brakes on and have a reset. But even if I was for 1982 at this point, I still wouldn’t vote for it because I wouldn’t approve this process. And there’s no ill reflection on the chair. He’s done his best to try to honor the process. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

 

Tosh [00:30:26] Thank you, Rep. Payton, for those comments. Any further discussion on the motion? Representative Beck, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion of a do pass as amended. 

 

Beck [00:30:38] Thank you, Mr. Chair. And I do appreciate the process, at least, the way that we started it. And I will be voting no on this. I appreciate Nelda’s map. As a matter of fact, it’s, it’s probably better than the original map that it was. So I do like it, but I can’t vote for this because the process in which we got here, I think, was less than transparent. But I do appreciate your work on this. 

 

Tosh [00:31:03] Thank you. Rep. Beck. Representative Miller, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion. 

 

Miller [00:31:09] Thank you, Mr. Chair. As I normally do, I’m on a piggyback off of my good friend Payton, because he’s the, he’s the one from Cleburne County with all the intelligence. But I want to say this because I’m just sick and tired. I want to know what we– all of us as a committee, we all have different opinions. We all have different districts. I get it. I have nothing personal against anybody in here and any proposal or whatever. I mean, John and I are fighting for, for our county. Y’all are fighting for your own. That’s perfectly fine. But, the original bill that Representative Speaks brought had pretty overwhelming support, it seemed like, in this committee. And then somewhere over the last few days, you know, all I keep hearing is, well, the Senate, well, the Senate. What’s the Senate give up– given up, pardon my grammar. Literally, if somebody can tell me in this committee, I will shut up. But I’ll be damned. I am sick and tired of caving in every single time because there’s 35 fine individuals on the other side of this building that want something different. And I’m sorry, but I hadn’t got this far in life by quitting and caving down and being afraid of anybody. So, for God’s sakes, if they have given up something, somebody tell me and I’ll shut up and go to the House. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

 

Tosh [00:32:56] Thank you, Mr., Representative Miller. And Representative Dotson, you’re recognized for discussion on the motion. 

 

Dotson [00:33:06] Thank you, Mr. Chair. So I’ve been working on various versions of this for quite a while now, it seems like, and sometimes you, as you go through this process, some of them start to blur together. And I just pulled up the second ranked bill, HB 1970, after Representative Payton was talking about it because, you know, I had drafted that. And it seems to me the really, it’s almost identical to what we’re considering right now with very little difference. I think the only, one of the biggest differences is Newton and Pope counties. Other than that, they’re almost identical. On my original bill, Newton was in the 1st and Pope was in 2nd and. So that, with that being said, this is almost spot on with what we’d come up originally. I’d be kind of derelict not to support it, so I’d appreciate a good vote on this at the proper time. 

 

Tosh [00:34:16] Thank you, Representative Dotson. Any further discussion on the motion of a do pass. Seeing none, all in favor of House Bill 1982 as amended say aye. All opposed, say no. The ayes I have it. The bill is passed. I see one hand, see two hands. Sorry, sorry, Representative Miller. We have two hands for a roll call. Madam Clerk, call the roll. 

 

Clerk [00:34:57] Representative Meeks, yes. Representative Jean, yes. Representative Love. Representative Love. Representative Deffenbaugh, yes. Representative Wardlaw, yes. Representative Cozart, yes. Representative Dotson, yes. Representative Miller, no. Representative Whitaker, no. Representative Payton, no. Representative Ladyman, yes. Representative Gray, yes. Representative Beck, no. Representative Speaks, yes. Representative Richmond, yes. Representative McCollum. Representative McCollum. Representative Johnson, no. Representative Hawks, yes. Representative Gonzalez, yes. 

 

Tosh [00:36:21] We have 12 yes votes. The bill, the bill as amended has passed. Committee members, before we get out here, let me say one other thing before we leave. And if for some reason this bill doesn’t make it off the House floor or doesn’t make it through the Senate, then we’ll come back in here as a committee and we’ll hear the next bill that received the most votes in our top three, which will be Representative Dotson, which would be House by 1970. OK, thank you, committee for your hard work. This meeting is adjourned.