House of Representatives

October 7, 2021


Shepherd [00:17:02] I invite the members, staff, press, and guests in the galleries to stand and be led in prayer by Rep. Carol Dalby and remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance to be led by Representative Lane Jean. 


Dalby [00:17:15] Let us pray. Father, as we come to you in the quietness of this moment, please still our hearts, calm our minds, and help us to realize that everything that we do in this body is to first glorify you and to represent the people of the great state of Arkansas. Help us to keep those two things in mind as we go about our business today, understanding that we win some, we lose some, but ultimately when we leave this body, we are your children, we are Arkansans, and that we have a job to do that will always glorify you. Bless this body, bless this great state and be with us now as we continue this day that you have given us. In your name I pray, amen. 


[00:18:09] [Pledge of Allegiance] 


Shepherd [00:18:42] Members, please indicate your presence by pushing the yellow present button. Prepare the machine, Mr Clerk. Cast up the ballot, Mr. Clerk. With 91 members present, the chair sees a quorum. Are there any requests for leave? Rep. Deffenbaugh, for what purpose? 


Deffenbaugh [00:20:01] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:20:01] You’re recognized. 


Deffenbaugh [00:20:05] Lane Jean. 


Shepherd [00:20:06] Is leave granted for Rep. Jean? So noted. Rep. Brooks, for what purpose? 


Brooks [00:20:09] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:20:09] You’re recognized. 


Brooks [00:20:10] Leave for Rep. Perry and for Rep. Tollett. 


Shepherd [00:20:12] Is leave granted for Rep. Perry? So noted. Is leave granted for Rep. Tollet? So noted. Rep. Eubanks, for what purpose? 


Eubanks [00:20:21] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:20:22] You’re recognized. 


Eubanks [00:20:25] Is– leave granted for Representative Cozart. 


Shepherd [00:20:29] Is leave granted for Representative Cozart? So noted. Rep. Cavenaugh, for what purpose? 


Cavenaugh [00:20:38] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:20:39] You’re recognized. 


Cavenaugh [00:20:40] Leave for Rep. Barker. 


Shepherd [00:20:42] Is leave granted for Represent Barker? So noted. Representative Love, for what purpose? 


Love [00:20:46] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:20:47] You’re recognized. 


Love [00:20:48] Leave for Representative Nicks.


Shepherd [00:20:50] Is leave granted for Rep. Nicks? Rep. Gazaway, for what purpose? 


Gazaway [00:20:55] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:20:55] You’re recognized. 


Gazaway [00:20:57] Leave for Representative Mayberry. 


Shepherd [00:20:58] Is leave granted for Rep Mayberry? So noted. Rep. Vaught, for what purpose? 


Vaught [00:21:03] Leave. 


Shepherd [00:21:05] You’re recognized. 


Vaught [00:21:05] Leave for Representative Maddox. 


Shepherd [00:21:07] Is leave granted for Rep. Maddox? So noted. Rep.Frederick Love moves we dispense with the reading of the previous day’s journal. Without objection, so ordered. Are there reports from select committees? Are there reports from standing committees? Is there any unfinished business? Are there any executive communications? Morning hour is ended. Mr. Clerk, please read Senate Bill 743. 


Clerk [00:21:44] Senate Bill 743 by Representative Speaks concerning the definition of the four United States congressional districts of Arkansas and to declare an emergency. 


Shepherd [00:21:53] Rep. Speaks, you’re recognized to explain your bill. 


Speaks [00:21:58] Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill is exactly like the bill we voted on yesterday. It’s just a procedure and we still need you to vote yes on it. So I’d ask for a good vote. 


Shepherd [00:22:12]Representative Springer, for what purpose? 


Springer [00:22:15]Question. 


Shepherd [00:22:15] Rep. Speaks has left the well. Rep. Speaks has explained the bill. Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Rep. Springer, you’re recognized to speak against the bill. 


Springer [00:22:35] Thank you, Mr Speaker. Good morning. I wanted to ask Representative Speaks a question with respect to comments that were made on yesterday about certain persons coming before the Committee on State Agencies wanting to know, voiced concerns about the particular bill. And I wanted to ask you, did you speak with senator on the other side, whether or not she had received correspondence from the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People indicating that they thought that this bill was not good? That’s the question I wanted to ask. And it’s my understanding that they gave a report to the Senate saying that they thought it was racially motivated. Thank you. 


Shepherd [00:23:27] Rep. Springer has spoken against the bill. Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Rep. Love, you’re recognized to speak against the bill.


Love [00:23:45] Good morning, colleagues. As you all know, I got up to speak against the bill yesterday in regards to its impact. And I was very intentional in my comments because as the day went on, race was talked about. When we have conversations on race, as I said, they were going to be sensitive. And here we, here we were, and we were discussing race and we said, you know, people said people were racists and people said this. Nobody said any of those things. This map adversely impacts African Americans. Now, I did not know that my House was drawn into the 4th Congressional District. If we were talking about communities that have likeness and share likeness, parts of Little Rock do not belong in the 4th Congressional District. The interests are totally different. So when I went to ask that because I asked Representative Speaks. She, you know, she always made comments on how which communities were in this– but never did parts of Little Rock come into that question. And so during the committee meeting, Representative Dotson answered. And he said yes, using south of 630. That was– it was south of 6:30. I30, I30– you said south of 630. Well, you say, well, now we’re debating in the well. All right, so, it was, it was south of 630. That was, that was the comments. Anyone that knows south of 630, if there’s conversation in regards to race in Little Rock, south of 630 does mean that race comes into play. For those that don’t know about 630, 630 was constructed and it did actually go straight through the African American business district, destroying actually, in essence, the African American business district. And so anybody that knows anything about the sensitivity of race, south of 630 is actually that line of demarcation. Now, as I say, it doesn’t go to me saying the intent of this map is, but the impact of this map– what the impact is is that it’s going to disenfranchise African American communities. Period. I did not say that Miss Speaks, just because you proposed this map that you are a racist. I do not say that. But I want you to go to the impact of this map. And so when we discuss race, you all, let’s not interject these different feelings because it’s all about the impact of what things can, what things can occur. And so, as I said, let’s take a step back. Let’s stop hurling all these different, whatever we want to call them, and let’s just look at the impact of the map. And the impact is it’s going to disenfranchise African American communities regardless of the intent. And so that’s why I stand here and ask you to vote against this map because the impact of it is going to disenfranchise, not the intent. So I wanted to make that clear. Thank you. 


Shepherd [00:27:44] Rep. Dotson, for what purpose? Rep. Love has spoken against the bill. Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Representative Speaks is closed for the bill. We do have– the question before the House is the passage of Senate Bill 743. We do have five pairs on the desk. Representative Tollett votes yes; Representative Cooper votes no. Witnessed by Rep. Haak. Rep. Cooper is the present member. Are there any procedural objections to this pair? Rep. Maddox votes yes; Representative Crawford votes no. Witnessed by Representative Vaught. Rep. Crawford is the present member. Are there any procedural objections to this pair? Representative Barker votes yes; Representative Brooks votes no. Witnessed by Rep. Haak. Rep. Brooks is the present member. Are there any procedural objections to this pair? Rep. Jean votes yes; Rep. McKenzie votes no. Witnessed by Representative Darby. Rep. McKenzie is the present member. Are there any procedural objections to this pair? Rep. Cozart votes yes; Representative Flowers votes no. Witnessed by Rep. McNair. Rep. Flowers is the present member. Are there any procedural objections to this pair? Hearing no objections, please do not vote any of these voting machines. Prepare the machine, Mr. Clerk. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Mr. Clerk. By a vote of 53 ayes, 35 nays and three present, the bill is passed. The House will stand in recess for 10 minutes. 


Unidentified [00:32:37] [Recess]


Shepherd [00:56:48] The House will come to order. Read the bills, Mr. Clerk. 


Clerk [00:56:55] Senate Bill 731. 


Shepherd [00:56:58] Without objection, read the bill a second time. 


Clerk [00:57:00] Senate Bill 731. 


Shepherd [00:57:06] Members, I’m going to pass over House resolution 1053. As much as I would love the opportunity to present that to you today and obtain a favorable vote, I’m not willing to create a greater Constitutional crisis than what may otherwise exist at this point in time. Therefore, we will have a committee meeting this afternoon. Rep.  Meeks, for what purpose? 


Meeks [00:57:36] Motion. 


Shepherd [00:57:36] Let’s hear your motion. 


Meeks [00:57:37] After the announcements, reading of the bills, transferring the bills, placing the calendars on the desk, members amending their own bills with their own amendments, members withdrawing their own bills, finalizing resolutions, reading communications and any remaining committee reports, I move that we adjourn until 9:00 tomorrow morning. 


Shepherd [00:57:52] That’s a proper motion. It’s not debatable. All in favor say aye. Those opposed. The no’s have it. I see five hands. Rep. Love, for what purpose? You’re recognized. 


Love [00:58:34] OK, thank you, Mr Speaker. So what’s the, what’s the vote threshold? 


Shepherd [00:58:41] 51. 


Love [00:58:42] 51. Okay, thank you. 


Shepherd [00:58:44] Sen. McKenzie, for what purpose? 


McKenzie [00:58:46] Question. 


Shepherd [00:58:46] You’re recognized. 


McKenzie [00:58:48] Just for clarity for the folks voting and the folks at home. What, what does a yea vote do? And what does a nay vote do? 


Shepherd [00:58:58] To clarify, it’s a majority of the quorum. Rep. Love, just to clarify, it’s majority of quorum. A yea vote would adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. A no vote would keep us here. 


McKenzie [00:59:17] Follow up. 


Shepherd [00:59:18] You’re recognized. 


McKenzie [00:59:19] We stay here indefinitely until we do another vote, spend the night, do business? Bottom line is we’re not going to adjourn, correct? 


Shepherd [00:59:29] That’s, that’s apparently what some want to do if this is, if this is– motion is voted down then I would expect that I’d have to recess and figure out where we go from here. Rep.Lundstrum, for what purpose? 


Lundstrum [00:59:46] Point of parliamentary inquiry. 


Shepherd [00:59:48] You’re recognized. 


Lundstrum [00:59:49] If we recess and that bill goes to committee, could the committee hear it and come, come back for us to vote on it today? 


Shepherd [00:59:57] [00:59:57]No, that’s prohibited by the Constitution. 


Lundstrum [01:00:00] OK, thank you. 


Shepherd [01:00:07] The question before the House– Rep. Holcomb, for what purpose? 


Holcomb [01:00:13] Mr. Speaker, I think there’s still some confusion on a yes vote and a no vote. Can you go through that once again to let us know for sure what we’re doing? 


Shepherd [01:00:25] ure. Rep. Meeks’ motion was for the House to adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. A yes, a yes vote would adjourn the House until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, which has been our normal practice. A no vote would vote down the motion. And I guess we would be here to consider additional motions or to– we’ve, you know, we’ve, we’ve come to the end of our calendar today, so. Rep. Dotson, for what purpose? 


Dotson [01:00:57] Parliamentary inquiry. 


Shepherd [01:00:58] You’re recognized. 


Dotson [01:00:59] So, my understanding of it– and correct me if I’m wrong– that if we adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, we would then recess or we would then go into committees, considering, I believe, the only thing left on any calendar would be the Senate bill that came out of the Senate and it’ll go to Public Health and be considered this afternoon. That bill, if it potentially passes, could not be considered constitutionally until tomorrow. Is that correct? 


Shepherd [01:01:30] That’s correct. 


Dotson [01:01:32] So if people want that to be considered, they would vote yes to adjourn until tomorrow. If they don’t want it considered, they’d vote no in order to stay here and continue to recess or continue to make motions. 


Shepherd [01:01:47] I can, I can, I can certainly attest that, that I cannot suggest the motives for a vote either way here, so that would be up to each individual member. 


Dotson [01:01:59] Thank you. 


Shepherd [01:02:01] Representative Wooten, for what purpose? 


Wooten [01:02:03] Question. 


Shepherd [01:02:03] You’re recognized. 


Wooten [01:02:05] Can you share why that you didn’t want to run 1053. 


Shepherd [01:02:11] So the resolution on 1053– actually to clarify, I would love to run 1053. But on conferring with the parliamentarian and with House counsel and the Bureau, the concern is, is that we– if we adopt a resolution, the Senate has not adopted a resolution, a similar resolution, that creates greater legal questions as to where, the status of where we sit as the General Assembly. This is different, I think, than what happened at the, when we went into extended recess because that resolution had already been adopted. And thus, when the Senate adjourned that day, there was already a resolution that had been agreed upon by both houses. So, so that’s, that’s the distinction. But that’s the concern based on conferring with legal counsel that this would create a greater issue than allowing the business to proceed at this point. 


Wooten [01:03:05] [01:03:05]I appreciate that. Follow up. 


Shepherd [01:03:06] [01:03:06]You’re recognized. 


Wooten [01:03:08] [01:03:08]What do they want down there? What is– tell us– can you share with us what they want? I mean, you know, we either rule or we don’t. We either vote or we don’t. And you know, they, they sit down there, they dictate revenue and taxation. They dictate everything else. Let’s just create a constitutional crisis and let’s, let’s vote on 1053. 


Shepherd [01:03:39] Again, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t venture a guess as to that.


Wooten [01:03:44] Okay. And I understand. 


Shepherd [01:03:46] Representative Lowery, for what purpose? 


Lowery [01:03:48] Question. 


Shepherd [01:03:48] You’re recognized.  


Lowery [01:03:50] Is the determination of a next day to be able to take a bill predicated upon 12:01 a.m. or is it predicated upon an adjournment and then a reconvening? 


Shepherd [01:04:08] Adjourning and reconvening, but then it clearly has to be between one day to the other. 


Lowery [01:04:14] So follow up. 


Shepherd [01:04:16] You’re recognized. 


Lowery [01:04:16] So in other words, there has to be an adjournment for us to be able to– if the bill does come out of committee, out of Public Health, for it to be taken up again, there would have to be an adjournment and then a reconvening. 


Shepherd [01:04:31] We’d have to study that, but it for sure would have to be the next day. 


Lowery [01:04:34] OK, thank you. 


Shepherd [01:04:38] Rep. Deffenbaugh, for what purpose? 


Deffenbaugh [01:04:41] Question. 


Shepherd [01:04:41] You’re recognized. 


Deffenbaugh [01:04:42] Is it proper for one of us to make a motion to adjourn? 


Shepherd [01:04:49]  It, it probably, it probably would not be proper at this point in time. And we do have a motion to– we do have a motion to adjourn on, on the floor at this point in time, a motion to adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. I did see five hands. The question before the House is the adoption of the motion to adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. Prepare the machine, Mr. Clerk. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Mr. Clerk. By a vote of 81 yeas, one nay, and zero present, the motion passes. Are there any announcements? Rep. Ladyman, you’re recognized. 


Ladyman [01:05:53] Announcement. 


Shepherd [01:05:54] Let’s hear your announcement. 


Ladyman [01:05:55] Public Health will meet at 3 o’clock in room 130. 


Shepherd [01:06:01] Any other announcements? If no other announcements, the desk will remain open as needed for the reading of the bills. And upon completion of the items named in the adjourn resolution, the House will be adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.