Feb. 22, 2022
Griffin Senate will come to order. Madam Secretary, please call the roll.
[Stubblefield and Bledsoe on leave]
Griffin Everyone please stand, including those in the balcony. Sen. Fulfer is going to lead us in a word of prayer.
Fulfer When I vote on anything, boy, you better pray. So I’m going to take that advice today. Father, we thank you for this day and all of your blessings that you bestowed upon us. You’ve been so gracious to us and you’ve shown us tremendous mercy and grace and yet we still find ways to transgress. I pray for wisdom over this body. And Job tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Father, I pray that we find that reverence and that fear as we begin this session, that our decisions will be made from a position of submission to you and not of our own understanding. And let us not be a cold chamber, but a chamber looking for wisdom on behalf of the people of our state. Finally, Lord, you say that we have not because we asked not. So I’m asking, let us lead from a place of humility and service to others. And we ask this all in your son’s great name. And all God’s people said Amen.
Unidentified [Pledge of Allegiance]
Griffin Any announcements? Anyone seeking leave. Senator Gilmore.
Gilmore Thank you, governor. I ask for leave for my father, Philip Gilmore.
Griffin Without objection. Leave for Sen. Bledsoe and Sen. Stubblefield.
Pitsch OK, leave for Senator Bledsoe and Senator Stubblefield. We’ll do that one first. I got one more.
Griffin Without objection.
Pitsch I’d ask for leave for former state senator Gunner DeLay in the back of the room to be on the floor.
Griffin Without objection.
Pitsch Is it for personal privilege? Can I get a personal privilege– moment of personal privilege?
Griffin You’re recognized. One second.
Pitsch Senator Delay, if you come down–
Griffin Senator Pitsch.
Pitsch Members, if you’ll bear with me. Gunnar was the state senator from Fort Smith. He had just termed out or moved on. And he was one of the first people I talked to about I was wanting to run for office. And it’s kind of a running joke between he and I because he told me the truth. And after 10 years, it’s proved true. But it was the scariest thing I’d ever heard. But, good guy running for Supreme Court Justice. I don’t want to campaign down here in the well, but get to know this guy. He’s a good guy. And thank you for being with us, Gunnar.
DeLay Thank you for having me.
Pitsch Thank you.
Griffin Any other announcements? We’re going to go to any items at the desk.
Secretary Yes, sir, we your Committee on Joint Budget to whom was referred Senate Bill 41, Senate bill 84, Senate Bill 89, Senate Bill 90, Senate Bill 91, Senate Bill 92, Senate Bill 93, Senate Bill 94, Senate Bill 95, Senate Bill 96, Senate Bill 97, Senate Bill 98, Senate Bill 99, Senate Bill 100 have compared– report and under consideration herewith return the same to recommend do pass.
Secretary Senate Resolution 102 by Senator Hickey, an act for the Department of Finance Administration disbursing officer appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Senate bill 102.
Griffin Joint Budget.
Secretary Senate Bill 103 by Sen. Hickey, an Act for the Department of Finance Administration Disbursing Officer appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Senate Bill 103.
Griffin Joint Budget.
Secretary Senate resolution 24 by Senator Tucker commending the Junior League of Little Rock for its 100 year history of training community and civic leaders and its ongoing service to the community of Little Rock. Senate resolution 24.
Secretary Senate Bill — Resolution 25 by Senator Tucker to recognize the many achievements of Roger Bumpass. Senate Resolution 25.
Griffin Calendar. Let me say something about Senator Clark’s resolution. All right. Roger Bumpas. He’s– Senator Clark? Where’s Sen. Clark? He’s joining us tomorrow, correct? He will physically be here? OK. Does anybody know who Roger Bumpass is? How about Squidward? Have you heard of Squidward? SpongeBob? He’s from Little Rock. And he’s coming from L.A., and he is the voice of the Squidward. And he’s made quite a career. And so he will be here tomorrow. So if you have any kids that age, you might want to bring them. SpongeBob. It’s a show on TV. It’s also a bunch of toys at WalMart because I’ve purchased about half of them. Senator Clarke Tucker. Yes, this is true. Senator Clark, moving on to the business. Oh, we’re going to budget first. Senator Dismang. There he is.
Dismang Yes, sir. Members, we’ve got a few different amendments that we need to take up today.
Secretary Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 18.
Dismang All right. So this amendment actually reduces line items for conference fee and travel for UAMS by $5 million each for a total of over $10 million reduction. It’s brought by Representative Cavenaugh.
Griffin Any questions on the amendment? All those in favor say aye. Opposed. Ayes have it. Amendment’s adopted. Send to engrossment.
Dismang I think we got one aye right then. So thank you, whoever that was.
Griffin The ayes have it.
Secretary Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 33.
Dismang Amendment to the Parks and Heritage. It’s in relation to the increased revenues from the real property transfer tax.
Griffin Questions? All those in favor say aye. Opposed. Ayes have it. Amendment’s adopted. Send to engrossing.
Secretary Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 38.
Dismang All right. This amendment brought by a governor’s letter deletes the agri show premiums appropriation, which has been replaced, removes $30,000 from the forestry operations grants and aid and provides a new appropriation for forestry scholarships for that amount.
Griffin Any questions? Those in favor say aye. Opposed. The ayes have it. Amendment’s adopted. Send to engrossing.
Secretary Amendment 1 to Senate bill 49.
Dismang All right. This is an appropriation for workforce services, removes the transfer of funds, promotional line items special language from the bill to allow the department to utilize promotional item transfer language as authorized in statute.
Griffin Any questions? All those in favor say aye. Opposed. Ayes have it. Amendment’s adopted. Send to engrossing.
Secretary Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 58.
Dismang All right, this amendment changes the Department of Education Division of Higher Education Bill by adding a new appropriation for $3 million from the Workforce Initiative 2015 Fund for the expansion or creation of nursing programs at state institutions of higher education. The amendment was by Representative Bentley.
Griffin Questions? All those in favor say aye. Opposed. The ayes have it. Amendment’s adopted. Send to engrossing.
Secretary Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 59.
Dismang All right, this is for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Amendment, reduces the conference fees and travel line item in the university’s cash appropriation section by 5.6 million to better align with actual expenditures. Brought by Representative Cavenaugh.
Griffin Any questions? All those in favor say aye. Opposed. Ayes have it. Amendment’s adopted. Send to engrossing.
Dismang That’s it, right? All right. I think that’s all of our amendments, and then we’re going to move on. So on your desk, we’re going to consider in batch the first set of House bills there. So that’s House Bill 1035, through 1087. I’m going to read those off. If you’d like to put one of those out, just let me know, and we’ll pull that out for a separate vote. House Bill 1035, House Bill 1036, House Bill 1015, House Bill 1077, House Bill 1081, House Bill 1082, House Bill 1083, House Bill 1084, 1085, 1086, House Bill 1087. If you’d like to pull one out, let me know. If not, we’re going to go ahead and let her read those across
Secretary House Bill 1035 an act for the Department of Education Martin Luther King Jr. Commission appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. House Bill 1036, an act for the Arkansas Department of Transportation appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. House Bill 1050, an act for the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. House Bill 1077, an act for the Department of Health, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. House Bill 1081 an act for the Department of Veterans Affairs reappropration. House Bill 1082, an act for the Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disability Services reappropriation. House Bill 1083, an act for the Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Adult and Behavioral Health Services reappropriation. House Bill 1084, an act for the Institutions of Higher Education reappropriation. House Bill 1085, an act for the Secretary of State reappropriation. House Bill 1086 an act for the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Division of Heritage reappropriation. House Bill 1087, an act for the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism state Parks and Tourism Division reappropriation.
Griffin You’ve heard batch 1. Doesn’t look like anybody wants to pull any of the bills out. Any questions? Any objections to rolling the vote? Please roll the vote.
Griffin Anyone wish to change their vote? Cast up the ballot. 33 yeas, 0 nays. All of those House Bills in batch 1 have passed. Return to the House. Batch 2.
Dismang And then on batch 2, this is House Bill 1088 through 1094. These are all re-appropriations. Members, I’m going to read those. Again, if you’d like to pull one out, let me know. House Bill 1088, House Bill 1089, House Bill 1090, House Bill 1091, House Bill 1092, 1093, and 1094. If you’d like to pull one of those out, just let me know. All right.
Secretary House Bill 1088 an act for the Department of Energy and Environment Division of Environmental Quality reappropriation. House Bill 1089 an act for the Department of Public Safety reappropriation. House Bill 1090 an act for the Department of Education, Educational Television Division reappropriation. House Bill 1091, an act for the Department of Education, Arkansas School for the Blind and Arkansas School for the Deaf reappropriation. House Bill 1092, an act for the Department of Corrections, Division of Community Correction reappropriation. House Bill 1093, an act for the Department of Corrections Division of Correction reappropriation. House Bill 1094 an act for the Department of Agriculture Arkansas Natural Resources Commissioner reappropriation.
Griffin Any questions? Any objections to rolling the vote? Please roll the vote. Anyone wish to change their vote? Cast up the ballot. 33 yeas, 0 nays. The House Bills in batch 2 all passed. Return to the House. That concludes the budget calendar. Moving on to the business agenda. Senator Clark.
Secretary Senate Resolution 20 by Senator Clark to authorize the introduction of a non appropriation bill to authorize the issuance and renewal of a special license plate to promote and support the Arkansas Dyslexic Support Group.
Griffin Senator Clark.
Clark Thank you, governor. Thank you, senator. The– it is with reluctance that I introduce a bill in the fiscal session. I am pretty positive I never have. This is right next to a technical correction. This group has been the backbone of helping us with ever measure that we have done working on reading. They work across the state working for free, making sure that we help kids learn to read and especially those with dyslexia and those that are falling through the cracks. And they don’t wish to wait for a year to get a license plate. It requires, if we run the bill, that they pay a fee, and I think it’s $5,000 to set that up. And they’ve already agreed and prepared to do that. It requires, as you know, that we remove a plate and there’s over a dozen that haven’t been used in over six years. So we’ve run all those traps. The only one that’s left is I’ve come around and ask for your support. I haven’t counted votes, but I’ve asked for your support and I know we have a lot of support. And so today I’m going to ask you to pass this resolution so that we can run this bill for them. I’ll be happy to take any questions.
Griffin Any questions. Senator Ingram.
Ingram This is a very worthy cause. I have a family member that was dyslexic. And I think it’s great. But you know, when we set this up 10 years ago– and I know you’re going by the rules, we were trying to keep this thing to a fiscal session and not becoming a regular session. And I know that your group said that they weren’t willing to wait a year. But man, wouldn’t this be something that would be more fit to be in January in the regular session than to take up this non fiscal license plate? I mean, EBD is one thing. I mean, that’s obviously something that had to be done because of time constraints and the savings on the money. But I just would ask you the importance of why this couldn’t wait until January.
Clark Senator Ingram, I’ve had this conversation with them and shared the reluctance of many legislators to do anything during the session. And I can assure you, however you vote, I will not be beating anyone up that you don’t care about kids reading. This is for you to decide. I’m asking that you support it, but I’m not going to hold grudges or ask that anybody else hold grudges either way. It’s– because people have strong feelings about that, and I get it. I’m just, I’m here to ask if you will.
Griffin Any other questions? The senator’s closed? Senator, have you closed?
Clark I’m closed. I appreciate a good vote.
Griffin Is there any objection to rolling the vote? There is an objection to rolling the vote. Please call the roll, madam secretary. And this requires 24 votes.
Secretary Ballinger, yes. Beckham, yes. Bledose, leave. Caldwell, yes. Chesterfield, Chesterfield. Clark, yes. Davis, Davis. Dismang, no. Elliott, yes. English, English. Flippo, yes. Flowers, present. Fulfer, Fulfer. Garner, yes, Gilmore, yes. Hammer, yes. Hendren, Hendren. Hester, yes. Hickey, no. Hill, no. Ingram, Ingram. Irvin, Irvin. Blake Johnson, Blake Johnson. Mark Johnson, Mark Johnson. Leding, Leding. Pitsch, yes. Rapert, yes. Rice, yes. Sample, Sample. Stubblefield, Stubblefield, leave. Sturch, yes. Sullivan, yes. Teague, Teague, Tucker, yes. Wallace, no.
Griffin Anyone wish– Senator Fulgure is aye. Anyone wish to vote or change their vote over here? Anyone going over? Senator Davis, present. Sen. Davis present. Sen. Sample is aye. Anyone else? Cast up the ballot. 18 yeas, 4 nays. Resolution is not adopted. House Bills third reading and passage. We have one bill and Senator Hester.
Secretary House Bill 1095 byHouse Management an act for the Arkansas House of Representatives staff appropriation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
Griffin Senator Hester.
Hester Thank you, governor. Members, this is the bill to fund from the House and I would ask that you vote against it.
Griffin Any questions? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Any objection to rolling the vote? Please roll the vote. [vote] Anyone wish to change their vote? Cast up the ballot. 33 yeas, 0 nays. The bill is passed. Return to the House. Senator Hammer has the doctor of the Day.
Hammer Thank you, Mr. President. I’d like to introduce our Doctor of Day, Dr. James Hunt, Anesthesiology, North Little Rock. Glad to have him in the– I started to say the chapel today– in the building. Glad to have you here today. Also our nurse of the day, Brenda Hewitt. If you all would, give them a warm welcome, please.
Griffin Senator Irvin has an announcement.
Irvin Members, just a reminder about the sportsman caucus catfish dinner tonight. You have a notice on your desk and hope you come. And we’ll see you there.
Griffin Senator Hickey, we’ll be at 1 tomorrow? 1 o’clock tomorrow. Sen. Dismang.
Dismang Just a reminder, Peer Review will meet tomorrow at 7:30. And we’re going to Budget at 9. And just for planning purposes, it’s my understanding that on Thursday is going to be a busy day. Special language is going to meet at 7:30. And my understanding, and I’ll confirm again, we’re going to push Budget back to 10:00 on Thursday to be able to get through the special language agenda.
Pitsch Thank you, governor. Insurance and commerce members, we’re going to meet 15 minutes upon adjournment. Room 171. We got four bills. Same as what we did when they went through the Senate. They’re coming from the House.
Griffin Anything else? Senator Dismang.
Dismang Upon adjournment of both the House and Senate, Rules Committee is going to meet over Big Mac. So that’s today upon adjournment.
Griffin Anything else? The Senate’s adjourned subject to the clearing of the desk.