Dec. 7, 2021

Senate State Agencies Committee

Rapert [00:00:00] Committee have come to order. Thank members for being here. And members, we just have one item on the agenda, which is SB 6. It’s a brief bill and we have Sen. Sample here for presentation. Is there any questions from the committee before we get started? Seeing no questions, Sen. Sample, you’re recognized for presentation to the bill, sir. 


Sample [00:00:21] Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Committee. SB 6 is a bill that originally originated out of the House. The House has hired a full time security employee and to take and do security for the, for the House in their meetings here or other official functions. The Senate does not hire full time security people, but if they so desire in the future that they might want to, this will give them the ability to the sergeant at arms or session workers. And so this bill just simply gives the Senate the ability to take and hire a security person full time if they so desire. But the House has already hired one and this would give them the– make sure they didn’t have liabilities that weren’t afforded to certified police officers. 


Rapert [00:01:34] OK. Members, any questions. Senator Garner, you’re recognized, sir. 


Garner [00:01:39] Yes, sir. I think there’s a poorly written sentence in this if you can explain it further. It says that we’re going to give the authority and power to these people as if they are certified by the Arkansas Commission of Law Enforcement Standards and its academy- ALETA [Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy] basically. That’s in my area. I’ve seen the training they does. You don’t actually require them to get that training. What you do in this bill is create the ability them for have those access to that kind of level of authority without having the corresponding training they actually have to go through if the Senate deems that possible. So in theory, you could hire anybody. 


Sample [00:02:15] We could hire you. 


[00:02:16] Are you? You could hire me to do it or hire anybody else. You don’t have to go to ALETA, don’t have to be a law enforcement person, and you’re going to grant that full authority to them. Did you mean to have that included in this bill? 


Sample [00:02:26] That is the way it is written, and, Senator, I’m presenting this bill as it’s written and so I would– our–


Garner [00:02:42] Yes or no, can somebody who’s not certified by ALETA be able to carry a firearm and secure us up here at the Capitol? 


Sample [00:02:48] Yes. 


Garner [00:02:48] They would be able to. [00:02:49]Second question, you give statewide jurisdiction to these people, which means they could come down to South Arkansas, somebody hired by, say, you or Senator Hickey–. [8.3s]


Sample [00:02:58] [00:02:58]If they work for the House and–. [0.0s]


Garner [00:02:58] [00:02:58]Excuse me, I’m asking the question. And they could arrest me with full authority of a law enforcement officer and drag me up here to the Capitol. Is that correct? [8.6s]


Sample [00:03:07] [00:03:07]That’s correct the way this bill is written. [1.7s]


Garner [00:03:12] [00:03:12]Hmmm. Interesting. All right. Thank you. [1.7s]


Rapert [00:03:17] All right, members, any other questions on the bill? I’m sorry, were you about to say something, Senator? OK, I anticipated. I saw you pulling your mic down there. Sen. Sample, is there anything you want to say in response? 


Sample [00:03:36] I’m closed. 


Rapert [00:03:37] You’re just closed for the bills? Do you happen to know on all of those points– was that a, was that a discussion amongst anyone at all? 


Sample [00:03:47] No, it hasn’t been a discussion. The person that, that the House has hired currently is a retired FBI agent. As you know, our sergeant at arms, we have a certified police officer. He’s a retired state police officer, but he maintains his certificate every year, goes and does the training. And so I’m quite sure that we’re going to be very responsible when we hire that they are certified police officers. 


Rapert [00:04:22] Well, I appreciate that. And again, I have no problem in us proceeding if there’s a motion for the bill, but maybe between now and tomorrow or something, if somebody decides to say something on this and bring it up, it, it might be worth exploring what we really want to say on it. 


Sample [00:04:41] [00:04:41]Oh, believe me, I will. [0.0s]


Rapert [00:04:42] Right, because I can see the point, my goodness, of somebody just going off the rails there a little bit. 


Sample [00:04:48] And I appreciate and understand Senator Garner’s questions. 


Rapert [00:04:51] Yeah. All right. With that, members, any other questions or concerns on this bill? 


Garner [00:04:57] Discussion on the motion. 


Rapert [00:04:58] All right. I’ll take discussion after the motion. Sen. Bledsoe. 


Bledsoe [00:05:03] I have a motion do pass. 


Rapert [00:05:04] OK, I have a motion. Is there a second on that? A second from Senator English. We have time for discussion now. Senator Garner, you mentioned discussion, so I’ll recognize you, sir. 


Garner [00:05:15] Yeah, this, this concerns me. So I know our sergeant at arms do the excellent job. They helped secure me today. So also what happened to me, my first two weeks in the Senate, I was stopped three times and asked what I was doing on the floor by a sergeant at arms, who one time got fairly aggressive with me when doing that. Now that’s part of the nature of us being elected officials and being new, I understood it. But what your bill does, as poorly written as it is, allows that person now to have a firearm and have all the enforcement of a law enforcement officer without any qualifications at all. Now you wouldn’t do this for the tax credit like he passed. That was an excellent idea. I mean, that’s– they have to go through designed training, ALETA or some other academy. But here we’re going to have our own personal security force like I did the– in Afghanistan, that we pay out of pocket with the authority to arrest and do other things. [00:06:07]So while I’ll support this bill because I think in general we need more security and this is probably the best way to do it, I just– I’m astonished we allow such a poorly written bill to come before this committee, something we may need to address going forward. [11.9s] Thank you. 


Sample [00:06:21] May I answer? I apologize to the committee for– sorry– 


Rapert [00:06:26] He does have a point. What I do typically recognize is the ability to close for it. So I will recognize you. 


Sample [00:06:35] And senator and committee, I do apologize for bringing this bill as it’s written. The purpose of it is, is a definite need, and I should have vetted this, this– the way this bill is written a little closer and had the changes made that need to be changed. And if the committee so wishes, I will pull it down and have it amended. 


Rapert [00:07:03] That’s up to you, Senator. It’d be your call.


Sample [00:07:06] With the– to take and make this a better bill, I would have– would ask, if you allow me, to take and pull it down and have it, have it amended to make it plainer. 


Rapert [00:07:24] As you, as you wish. I think that’s a fair thing, and the committee would be glad to come back. We got time, a day and a half or so, here at the minimum. So as you wish, then you pull the bill down and we’ll reconvene for you. 


Sample [00:07:38] Okay. I appreciate that. 


Rapert [00:07:39] Thank you. 


Sample [00:07:40] Thank you. Thank you, members. 


Rapert [00:07:41] Members, with that, we have no more business. We’re adjourned. 


For context, Sen. Sample (presenting the bill here) had just minutes before this meeting chaired the Senate’s Revenue and Tax Committee meeting. In that meeting, Sen. Sample refused to allow motions or discussion on Sen. Garner’s 0% income tax bill as it violated committee rules by not providing a fiscal impact statement from the state’s Department of Finance and Administration.

Sen. Sample, in the previous committee, also reined in Sen. Rapert’s attempt to pontificate broadly on his proposed hostile amendment to Sen. Dismang’s tax cut bill. Sen. Rapert’s amendment failed.

Here, just minutes later, the tables are turned, and Sen. Garner and Sen. Rapert have an opportunity to question Sen. Sample’s bill.