House floor

Feb. 28, 2022


Shepherd The House will come to order. Members, before we are led in prayer by Representative Les Warren, I’d like for us to take a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine and for those who have lost their lives defending that nation. Additionally, it’s my understanding that we had a corrections officer who was killed this morning in the line of duty, and so I’d likewise ask that we take a moment of silence. And then we’ll be led in prayer by Representative Les Warren to be followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Representative Jean. 


Warren Please join me in prayer. Our gracious, heavenly Father, we come before you with heavy hearts today, with so much happening in our world. Father, we just ask that you would get the victory, Father, that you would be with the people who are suffering right now, Father, that it would be a David versus Goliath victory. Father, we just pray that when things seem like there’s no possible way out, Father, that you would come in and it would be clear that it’s your will being done. Father, we also pray for you to help us keep a proper perspective on the work that we do. Father, it’s times like this that we realize that the differences we have are small compared to everything that’s going on in this world. Father, we ask your guidance and all that we do. We ask that you would give us hearts that– and spirits that honor you as we proceed with everything today. Be with the people that are suffering in other ways as well. We ask these things in your name. Amen. 


[Pledge of Allegiance]


Shepherd Please indicate your presence by pushing the yellow present button. Prepare the machine, Mr. Clerk. Cast up the ballot, Mr. Clerk. With 99 members present, the chair sees a quorum. Are there any requests for leave? Representative Ladyman, for what purpose? 


Ladyman Request for leave for Representative Lundstrum. 


Shepherd Is leave granted to Representative Lundstrum? So noted. Representative 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? Read the letters from the governor, Mr. Clerk. 


Clerk February 23rd, 2022. To the Speaker of the House. Dear Mr. Speaker, this is to inform you that on February 23, 2022, I reviewed and approved the following measures for the fiscal session of the 93rd General Assembly. House Bill 1002 is Act 31. House Bill 1003 is Act 32. House Bill 1004 is Act 33. House Bill 1005 is Act 34. House Bill 1006 is Act 35. House Bill 1007 is Act 37– 36.  House Bill 1008 is Act 37. House Bill 1009 is Act 38. House Bill 1011 is Act 39. House Bill 1012 is Act 40. House Bill 1014 is Act 41. House Bill 1017 is Act 42. House Bill 1016 is Act 43. House Bill 1017 is Act 44. House Bill 1019 is Act 45. House Bill 1020 is Act 46. House Bill 1021 is Act 47. House Bill 1022 is Act 48. House Bill 1023 is Act 49. House Bill 1024 is Act 50. House Bill 1025 is Act 51. House Bill 1029 is Act 52. House Bill 1030 is Act 53. House Bill 1032 is Act 54. House Bill 1038 is Act 55. House Bill 1039 is Act 56. House Bill 1040 is Act 57. House Bill 1048 is Act 58– 41 is Act 58. House Bill 1042 is Act 59. House Bill 1044 is Act 60. House Bill 1046 is Act 61. House Bill 1047 is Act 62. House Bill 1048 is Act 63. House Bill 1049 is Act 64. House Bill 1051 is Act 65. House Bill 1052 is Act 66. House Bill 1053 is Act 67. House Bill 257 is Act 68. House Bill 1073 is Act 69. House Bill 1078 is Act 70. Sincerely, Asa Hutchinson. February 25th, 2022, to the Speaker of the House. Dear Mr. Speaker, this is to inform you that on February 25, 2022, I reviewed and approved the following measures from the fiscal session of the 93rd General Assembly. Reading of the House Bills. House Bill 1035 is Act 88. House Bill 1036 is Act 89. House Bill 1050 is Act 90. House Bill 1077 is Act 91. House Bill 1081 is Act 92. House Bill 1082 is Act 93. House Bill 1083 is Act 94. House Bill 1084 is Act 95. House Bill 1085 is Act 96. House Bill 1086 is Act 97. House Bill 1087 is Act 98. House Bill 1088 is Act 99. House Bill 1089 is Act 100. House Bill 1090 is Act 101. House Bill 1091 is Act 102. House Bill 1092 is Act 103. House Bill 1093 is Act 104. House Bill 1094 is Act 25. House Bill 1095 is Act 106. 


Shepherd Members, our Arkansas State Troopers with us today are Corporal Moye Hawkins of Troop B of Newport, and Trooper Jackson Dorman of Troop K of Hot Springs. Morning hour is ended. Mr. Clerk, please read House Concurrent Resolution 1001. 


Clerk House Concurrent Resolution 1001 by Representative Vaught. To encourage innovative development of value chain biosecurity technologies within the state of Arkansas. 


Shepherd Representative Vaught, you are recognized to explain the resolution. 


Vaught Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to give you a few reasons why this is an issue. China lost a projected $385 billion in projected GDP due to the African swine fever. They had to kill off over a million hogs. While that will have a ripple effect for many years to come, Arkansas’s agriculture contributes 250,000 jobs and over $19 billion dollars to our state’s economy. Just in case you didn’t know, that is our number one economic factor in our state, and we want to protect that with this resolution. We have a chance for Arkansas to have a significant opportunity to be the spear, the tip of the spearhead in agriculture and food supply biosecurity. With this resolution, we look to support– we look to support requests made for federal grant funding for companies creating initiative technologies that benefit Arkansas’ agriculture value chain by mitigating those biosecurity risks. African Swine Flu is now in our actual stream, so it could get here pretty quick. It’s then, we’ve like, cut off Puerto Rico from sending stuff here. So we want to try to encourage the USDA to send $500 million worth of USDA federal grants here to Arkansas so that we can be the leaders in this technology. The governor already set this in place years ago with our– several years ago by pushing technology. This right here will just marry technology and agriculture to help protect our farmers and our food supply in our state. With that, I would take any questions. Mr. Speaker, can you have it read?


Shepherd Mr. Clerk, please read the resolution in its entirety. 


Clerk Whereas agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, contributing $19,400,000 in added value dollars to the state economy in 2019, and whereas Arkansas ranked 11th in the nation in cash receipts for animal and animal products valued at $5,100,000,000. And whereas in Arkansas, 1 in every 7 value added dollars totaling more than 300– $378 million has contributed to it by agriculture. And whereas Arkansas is the third highest ranked state for food processing, according to a report by business facilities shared by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. And whereas the Fort Smith Fayetteville Region is the number 2 area for food processing in the United States, and whereas Arkansas is the home of the world’s largest food retailer and largest meat processor in the United States, supplying sustenance to billions of people worldwide. And whereas in 2020, 42% of all Arkansans’ land was comprised of farms and whereas agriculture provides 254,500 jobs in Arkansas. And whereas 97 percent of Arkansas’s 49,346 farms are small to medium sized family owned farms and contribute significantly to the state’s economy. And whereas the impact of respiratory and hemorrhagic pathogens tend to impact small and medium sized farms more heavily. And whereas wet protein rendering supply chains tend to be optimum propagation channels to respiratory and hemorrhagic pathogens. And whereas the University of Arkansas is an agricultural industry leader in animal science education, innovation, research, and development. And whereas in 2019, African Swine Fever resulted in the loss of millions of pigs in China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, with the total economic impact of 0.78%, equating to $111 billion of the country’s gross domestic product in 2019. A longitudinal analysis estimating an impact upwards of 2.7%, equating to $385 billion dollars gross domestic product based on current trajectory. And whereas agricultural economics– economists at Iowa State University estimate that the economic impact of the Central African Swine Fever outbreak in the United States could result in the loss of $50 billion over 10 years. And whereas the United States Department of Agriculture has dedicated $500 million in Commodity Credit Corporation Funds for prevention of preparation of African swine fever, and whereas a federal order suspending the interstate movement of all live swine, swine germplasm, swine products and swine byproducts from Puerto Rico and the United States, Virgin Islands to mainland United States has been implemented. And whereas action by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas is necessary to prevent worldwide food value chain district disruptions and to increase food security for all Americans in order to build a strong foundation for businesses, consumers and agricultural producers within the state of Arkansas. Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the 93rd General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, the Senate concurring therein, that the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, support requests for federal grant funding for companies creating innovative technologies that benefit Arkansas’ agricultural value chain through mitigating biosecurity risks. 


Vaught With this resolution, we encourage technology and innovation in agriculture to come to Arkansas with a special emphasis on biosecurity technology in the value chain. Arkansas has a special opportunity to solve upcoming challenges in food security and be the world leader in agricultural technology. This resolution is making the statement that we are open for business. And with that, I would appreciate a good vote. 


Shepherd Representative Vaught has explained the resolution. Would anyone like to speak against the resolution? Would anyone like to speak for the resolution? Representative Vaught is closed for the resolution. The question before the House is the adoption of House Concurrent Resolution 1001. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? Resolution’s adopted. Mr. Clerk, please read House Resolution 1033. 


Clerk House Resolution 1033 by Representative Vaught. To encourage the General Assembly to address issues of oversight regarding mental health care service providers that contract with the state of Arkansas 


Shepherd Representative Vaught, you are recognized to explain the resolution. 


Vaught Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. So most of you know that I’ve been working on Mental Health ISP for several years now, and I have found that some of our facilities that we send back our state dollars to may not be providing the necessary services in which our constituents may be needing. So with this, I want us just to look into if our tax dollars that are being sent back are being used to the best of the ability in which is deserving of our constituents. And so with that, I would take any questions. Seeing none, I would appreciate a good vote. 


Shepherd Representative Vaught has explained the resolution. Would anyone like to speak against the resolution? Would anyone like to speak for the resolution? Representative Vaught is closed for the resolution. The question before the House is the adoption of House Resolution 1033. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? Resolution is adopted. Representative Meeks, for what purpose? 


Meeks Motion, please. 


Shepherd Let’s hear your motion.


Meeks 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 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. 


Shepherd That’s a proper motion. It’s not debatable. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? Motion is adopted. All right, members, before we get to announcements, just to kind of let everybody know what the schedule is, hopefully, everybody received an email from me. I guess it was Friday evening. Maybe– it may have been Saturday. We’re hopeful that we will just meet Monday through Thursday of this week, but we wanted to give everybody a heads up. There is a possibility of meeting Friday depending on what’s going on, particularly in Joint Budget. We’ll meet tomorrow in session at 1 o’clock. I believe Budget will meet in the morning. There may be– one of the things that kind of keeps it up in the air is that I know Special Language is going to meet after this, but throughout the week, depending on what is filed and what happens in Budget, Special Language, and Personnel, and there may be another subcommittee that may have to meet. So continue to monitor the email and the website. But we’re looking to convene tomorrow afternoon at 1 o’clock. Hopefully, we can meet Wednesday afternoon. We may move that back to like 2 o’clock to allow our staff to get more work done in Budget and get a supplemental calendar ready for consideration. And then hopefully, if we’re on track to, to finish the week off on Thursday. We could hopefully meet earlier in the day on Thursday, and then looking at probably two days next week of meetings at the first part of the week. Certainly we’ll– it– all of it depends on kind of the activity in Budget and what happens here on the floor and in the Senate end. But wanted to give everybody a fair warning of what it was looking like. Obviously, we want to be as efficient as possible. We want to try and minimize having meetings that you just come down here for a couple votes and then have a lot of free time on your hands. But unfortunately, that’s kind of the nature as we wrap up a session and particularly a fiscal session. Okay, so any questions along the way, feel free to talk to me. Chairman Jean has had to leave for a little bit, but he’ll be back, but he’s– you can also talk to him. Any other announcements? Representative Cavenaugh, for what purpose? 


Cavenaugh Announcement. 


Shepherd Let’s hear your announcement. 


Cavenaugh Subcommittee Special Language will meet in Big MAC B upon adjournment of both chambers. 


Shepherd Representative Beatty, for what purpose? 


Beatty Announcement. 


Shepherd You’re recognized. 


Beatty I had the staff place the letter for Forestry Caucus on your desk. Those that are interested– thank you for those that have reached out. But if you’re interested in joining the Forestry Caucus, please get with me today before you leave the chamber. Thank you. 


Shepherd Other announcements? All right. If no other announcements, the desk will remain open as needed for the reading of the bills. Upon completion of the items named in the Adjourn Resolution, the House will be adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.