Administrative Rules Subcommittee, Arkansas Legislative Council
June 16, 2022
Eaves [00:01:23] I’m gonna remind those who wish to comment on a rule to go ahead and sign in, and be sure to specify the rule on which you wish to comment. We’ll be taking up that sign in sheet here momentarily. Alright, members, going to Item B. It’s the reports of the executive subcommittee. The first item on the agenda are any reports of the executive subcommittee. You have one report from the Executive Subcommittee in your packet regarding its approval of an emergency rule since our last meeting. That will be at the end of your packet. I have a motion to adopt this report. We have a motion and second. All in favor say aye. Opposed. Alright, motion carries. And moving to item C. Next on the agenda are the agency rules. Some of these presentations will include an update in accordance with Arkansas Code as amended by Act 595 of 2021 if the agency’s rules being presented are the result of a newly enacted law from the 2021 session. That is because the statute and act provide that if an agency determines that a newly enacted law from the 2021 regular session requires new or amended rules and does not provide a different date, those new or amended rules were to be filed with the Secretary of State on or before June 1, 2022. Under this law, the agencies were required to file their rules with Legislative Council sufficiently in advance of this date, so that the Legislative Council could consider this rule for approval before the June 1 date. The statute further requires the executive head of the agency or his or her designee to appear before the Administrative Rules Subcommittee to explain why the agency has, first, been unable to comply with the deadline; or, two, provide an update on the status of the rulemaking; or number three, describe the steps being taken by the agency to address its failure to comply with the deadline; four, provide an anticipated date for when the final version of the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State. To comply with the statute and act, the chairs have asked that those agencies whose rules should have been filed with the Secretary of State by June 1 to please address these things in their presentation today. We’re going to go first to Arkansas State Police Retirement System. So if you would, ma’am, push your button and introduce yourself for the record, and then you can go ahead and begin your presentation.
Woods [00:03:55] Good morning. I’m Allison Woods. I’m the interim director of the Public Employees Retirement System, which also administers the state police retirement system. And that’s the rule that we’re here for today, state police rule 11 regarding drop provisions. And we– a public comment period on this ended at the end of March. And at that time we asked to be placed on the, the June agenda. Our– we could have come in May, but our quarterly board meeting was at the same date and time as this meeting was in May. And so that’s why we’re, we’re here today. But in summary, this Rule 11– Act 415 of 2021 changed the service requirement for participation in the drop from 30 years to 28 years. And that service requirement was in the, in their board rule. And so we needed to amend this board rule to, to correspond with what’s in the law. And then the, the second substantive change was regarding interest on the account. The, the rule included reference to an act and so we just updated that to generally state that interest will be applied according to the law. And so those were the two substantive changes for this rule.
Eaves [00:05:27] Thank you, ma’am.
Woods [00:05:28] I’ll take any questions.
Eaves [00:05:29] Thank you. Members, any questions on this one? All right, seeing no questions, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. Thank you. Members, going to Item C2, we have Department of Agriculture Commission on water well construction. Morning, gentlemen. If you would, just when you get there, push your button and then you can introduce yourself for the record and begin.
Hodge [00:06:08] Well, it keeps going red. There we go. Wade Hodge, chief counsel, Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
Forrest [00:06:15] Blake Forrest. I’m the geology, geology supervisor for the groundwater water well section of the Natural Resources Department of Ag.
Hodge [00:06:24] Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, this is a rule that we actually brought to you last year. And I hesitate to call it a rule amendment, because it’s really just a clarification, doesn’t change the intent or the implementation of the rule at all. It’s just merely a clarification. Last time we brought it to you, some members asked us if we would just get the input of the Water Well Contractors Association. So we did that. And that association holds their annual conference in January. And traditionally the Water Well Construction Commission holds a meeting in conjunction with that conference. And so we did that again this year, held a meeting there at the conference, discussed the rule. And then subsequent to that, the association voted on this rule, and this rule clarification received the full unanimous support of the association. So we, we did everything that the members asked us to do. And we are ready to move forward with the rule. Thank you.
Eaves [00:07:34] All right. Thank you for that presentation. Members, any questions on this item? We have– who’s in seat 74? Representative Jett, you’re recognized.
Jett [00:07:46] Thank you. I appreciate that, Mr. Chairman. Just a quick question. So say like a rice farmer, for example, has a well goes down and a rice crop burning up, how long it will take somebody to– I guess, let me back up. Walk me through the procedure of this, how this is going to work, the logistics.
Hodge [00:08:07] You know, how long it’s going to take somebody to get there is going to depend on the individual contractor, I would think. Blake, do you have anything you can add to that?
Forrest [00:08:16] This rule wouldn’t really apply to that, necessarily. That would be more about their, you know, business schedule or when they can get to you.
Jett [00:08:22] So, I guess– I apologize. I’m late to the table here, and I’m just– I just literally just opened this and started reading it. So does someone have to come from the state to sign off on a project somebody just worked on?
Forrest [00:08:38] Not necessarily. We do try to inspect wells, but we don’t– we’re not required to go inspect.
Jett [00:08:44] So this is not going to put any burden on a farmer or an individual homeowner waiting on the state to come in to sign off on something?
Hodge [00:08:52] Absolutely not.
Jett [00:08:52] Take a look at something?
Forrest [00:08:54] No, sir.
Jett [00:08:54] All right. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Eaves [00:08:57] Thank you. Representative Jett. Senator Hill, you’re recognized.
Hill [00:09:00] Over here. Mr. Hodge, my question is pretty simple on this one. You’re looking at a two hour difference where the person in charge is supposed to be, be within a distance from the well, this being service. When are we going to get in the 21st century and use modern technology for them to be able to use a cell phone or whatever else for that person to be in Eudora, Arkansas, and talking to someone in, in Fayetteville, Arkansas? When, when are we going to get to that point?
Hodge [00:09:29] You know, that’s something that I think as technology improves and advances, we can certainly take a look at it. At this point, the commission just feels like that there are some situations that can’t be explained over the phone. Maybe the, you know, the camera on the phone won’t depict everything that’s going on. But that is certainly something that we can, we can continue to look at as technology improves.
Hill [00:09:55] I appreciate that. And I think as far as agriculture goes, it’s one of the most advanced industries in the world. And I think we need to catch up with that.
Hodge [00:10:03] Thank you.
Eaves [00:10:06] Thank you, Senator Hill. Representative Vaught, you’re recognized.
Vaught [00:10:09] Thank you, Mr. Chair. So I want to go back to what Representative Joe Jett was just saying, because it does say it’s requiring onsite supervision for all, well water constructions, installation, or repair activities.
Hodge [00:10:26] Yes.
Vaught [00:10:26] So are we going to be waiting on somebody from the state?
Hodge [00:10:29] No, not from the state. That’s the licensed contractor has to be there.
Vaught [00:10:33] Okay. Thank you.
Eaves [00:10:35] Thank you, Representative. Co-Chair Senator Hammer, you’re recognized.
Hammer [00:10:39] Thank you. Could you just tell me who’s going to be auditing this to make sure that it’s in compliance because the who– who’s going to hold somebody accountable if the two hour time frame isn’t meant?
Hodge [00:10:52] That’s the responsibility of the commission and commission staff.
Hammer [00:10:56] And so y’all have enough staff to do that, you know, with, if multiple situations occur in a singular time? What’s the realistic expectation that you can respond to where the farmer or whoever would not be penalized because you couldn’t get there within that time frame? What’s, what’s the appeal and the relief process?
Hodge [00:11:24] Yeah. The farmer would not be penalized at all. It would be the contractor who’s not following the rules that would be penalized. Now, it’s like a lot of other violations of the law. I mean, if we don’t know that it’s happened, you know, we won’t be able to do anything about it.
Hammer [00:11:43] Okay. All right. Thank you.
Eaves [00:11:46] All right. Thank you, Senator. Mr. Speaker, you’re recognized.
Wardlaw [00:11:52] I didn’t graduate.
Eaves [00:11:54] I didn’t mean to upgrade you, Representative Wardlaw.
Wardlaw [00:11:56] Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I’ve got a motion on this at the proper time.
Eaves [00:12:01] All right. I’ll come back to you in just a second.
Wardlaw [00:12:03] All right.
Eaves [00:12:04] All right, Members, are there any other questions? All right. Seeing no other questions, Representative Wardlaw, you have a motion?
Wardlaw [00:12:11] I make a motion that we hold this to the September Council to make sure we can study this and the cost effects of this two hour drive or this licensed personnel. It just seems like an overreach of government to me. And I just want to make sure that we’re doing this correctly. And I appreciate a good vote.
Eaves [00:12:26] All right. Thank you. All right, members, we have a motion from Representative Wardlaw to hold this over. Representative, did you say until the–
Wardlaw [00:12:33] September, please.
Eaves [00:12:33] September meeting? So hold it over until the September meeting? All right. All those, all those– we have a second. All those in favor, say aye. Opposed? The ayes have it. Gentlemen, we will hold that over until the September meeting. Thank you for your presentation. All right, members moving down an item C3, Department of Agriculture Veterinary Medicine Examining Board.
Hodge [00:13:11] Morning, Mr. Chairman. Members of the committee again, I’m Wade Hodge, chief counsel, Department of Agriculture.
Tharp [00:13:16] Cara Tharp, director for the Veterinary Medical Examining Board.
Turchi [00:13:22] Paul Turchi, president of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Examining Board.
Eaves [00:13:25] Thank you.
Hodge [00:13:27] Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, a little bit of background on the promulgation process for this rule. This, this was– this is a rule that was required by an act of 2021. The board staff took some time to study what other states were doing just so we could make sure that we had a good rule and didn’t want to reinvent the wheel if there was already some, some good examples out there. So we took some time doing that. And then we had stakeholder meetings. And we had our first stakeholder meeting in November, and the board reviewed the proposed rule in December. The board requested that we have one more stakeholder meeting, and so we did that at another stakeholder meeting in January. And then the board voted to go forward with the proposed rule in February. And we were on the agenda last month to meet the June 1 deadline. But there were some questions about the rule and asked if we could maybe reconsider something. And of course, staff, we don’t have the ability to, to do that, so we had to take it back to the board. So we took it back to the board, and the board unanimously voted to go forward with the version that we have before you today. And so we’re– no changes since the last time you looked at this rule and we’re ready to move forward.
Eaves [00:15:04] All right. Thank you. Members, any questions? Senator Irvin, you’re recognized.
Irvin [00:15:13] Thank you. I support, and I think it’s, I think it’s an important thing to have an in-person visit to establish that relationship. My issue, though, is that this legislature has passed legislation that for a human being, you don’t have to have an in-person visit to establish that patient relationship now. So we are actually now more restrictive with, with our animals than we are with our humans.
Hodge [00:15:52] Yes, Senator. And just to briefly address that, as we stated last time, we were here, you know, animals can’t really speak for themselves.
Irvin [00:16:03] Neither can children.
Hodge [00:16:05] Yeah. And we also believe that the way our law is written, it would take a legislative change for that veterinary client patient relationship to be established virtually because of the definition that we have in the law. So that’s something that possibly we can look at during the next session.
Irvin [00:16:28] Well, then maybe we shouldn’t pursue this rule until we have a legislative change. I just think there has to be consistency. I, for one, did not support the legislation. I mean, I, I think there should be an in-person visit with a health care provider for a human being before you deliver telemedicine. That’s what I believe. But I got overruled by the majority of the legislature, and I yield to that. But here now we have a different standard for our animals than we do for our human beings. I’m not sure if I– sorry, but I don’t think that it’s appropriate.
Tharp [00:17:15] Right. And so I think, you know, as, as Mr. Hodge mentioned, in statute currently there is a requirement for a physical examination for the establishment of that relationship. And so I think the rule is just at this point in time consistent with the way the statute’s written. But I mean, I agree. I think we would be happy to take a look at that for the session and see if there may be some type of change we can make there that would maybe satisfy the concern.
Eaves [00:17:53] All right. Thank you, Senator. Representative Vaught, you’re recognized.
Vaught [00:17:56] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Can you give me the FDA’s definition of a VCPR for a vet?
Tharp [00:18:05] Yeah, I don’t have it exactly right in front of me, but I do know that they require, for purposes of writing a prescription for the Veterinary Feed Directive, which would cover food animals, that the FDA does require the VCPR to be established through either an examination or timely and appropriate visits to the premises where the animals are kept.
Vaught [00:18:26] Thank you. I know that we talked earlier about what Senator Irvin is bringing up. And I believe, too, that there are some things that we can do. I think we also have to be careful that animals don’t talk. Humans do talk. So it’s a little bit easier to do telemed for a human, maybe, even though I don’t agree– I’m with Senator Irvin. I don’t agree with some of the telemed stuff that’s taking place. But we also have to be careful in making sure that we keep our food chain safe and our animals safe. And so I don’t want to get too crazy with just wide open telemedicine, so I’d like for us to keep that in consideration also. Thank you.
Eaves [00:19:09] Thank you, Representative Vaught. Senator Caldwell, you’re recognized.
Caldwell [00:19:14] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to address Senator Irvin. Members of the Senate Ag and House Ag have been meeting on this situation. A week ago tomorrow or last Friday, lightning struck and killed two of my horses and had another one that I needed some advice on. And the nearest large animal vet to my hometown is 2 hours away. And so it’s important that we have some tool that we can use. And we know there’s a flaw. We acknowledge it. And, but we think the only way to fix it is through legislative action. But we’re already planning to do that. But, but I would like to see this rule move forward for the fact that in the eastern Arkansas in row crop country, we, we do not have large animal vets although we have many large animals. So even, even though we know it’s somewhat flawed right now, I would rather have the availability of, of having the ability to, to talk to a veterinarian on the phone instead of not having that service available. And legislation– you know, the session starts in January. We can come back in and fix the language in the law. So I would appreciate a good vote on this at the proper time. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Eaves [00:20:43] Thank you, Senator Caldwell. Senator Hill, you’re recognized.
Hill [00:20:47] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to allude to, first of all, one of the things that Representative Vaught just said a while ago. And then I have a question for Miss Tharp. [00:20:56]On this, and I do agree with Representative Vaught that animals cannot talk. They cannot talk on the telephone whenever you’re doing a virtual, and they also cannot talk in the office. Animals cannot talk. [12.5s] So that, that point is irrelevant on that. My question is– I was wanting to ask last time for this to be held and discussed again with the veterinarian board. And it is obvious, because it was brought up to them, they did not want to change it. They had an opportunity to look at this, to possibly do it virtual where you can establish a relationship. They were not interested. To me, this seems like it’s a money grab. They’re wanting you to come into the office of the veterinarians are actually jumping out here on this because they want to force you to come into their office to make more money. Now what they can do virtually, they can charge for that as well as a doctor does. So that, the economic side of it should not matter. And I would have really greatly appreciated if they would have actually considered what I asked for. Now, I’m going to support this, but we’ll look at doing legislation in January. But I think this is something that could have been handled all at one time. We wouldn’t have to be revisiting. Thank you.
Eaves [00:22:02] Thank you, Senator Hill. Co-Chair Hammer.
Hammer [00:22:05] Thank you. If I remember right, there are some insurance companies out there– maybe I’m all wrong on this thing– that actually cover insurance for treatment of, of animals. Am I correct on that?
Tharp [00:22:16] Yes, that is correct.
Hammer [00:22:17] Is there anything by those insurance companies that would preclude payment if it’s not done in person or that allows payment done telemedicine or are they silent on the issue?
Tharp [00:22:31] That, that is a good– I, unfortunately, I do not know the answer to that question. But I mean, I would be happy to, to maybe do some research into that and see but I’m not sure what those insurance company policies are at this time.
Hammer [00:22:44] For future reference, anything we might do, might be good to look at that to make sure that people are not going to be disadvantaged one way or the other. Or if the pathway is already established by the insurance company, which I presume probably has a veteran medical director, just like dealing with humans, we might get some direction from, from them. So I’d appreciate it. Thank you.
Hammer [00:23:09] Thank you, senator. Senator Irvin, you’re recognized.
Irvin [00:23:12] [00:23:12]I just want on the record that I do object to this rule and I don’t support this rule at this time because it provides a different standard that we have for human beings versus animals. [10.4s] And so if you move to– or if you, if you pass this rule, I just want my objection to be noted.
Hammer [00:23:32] All right. Thank you, Senator. Representative Vaught, you’re recognized.
Vaught [00:23:35] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to thank you all for staying within the scope of the legislation when you wrote the rule. I understand that there are other things that people would like, but you did stay within the scope of the law and it’s with the intent of the law. And with that being said, I understand that there’s objections to it. But you did work very hard to make sure that you stayed within the scope. I think you gave people plenty of time. You had a comment, period. I don’t know if there were any comments. Can you tell me if there were any comments on the comment period?
Tharp [00:24:10] We did receive five comments through the public comment period.
Vaught [00:24:13] And were they all negative?
Tharp [00:24:16] We had one fully in support of the rule and the other negative comments were really just more concerned with, with telemedicine in general being used in veterinary medicine.
Vaught [00:24:28] When we write legislation, we always ask that the rule be within the scope of the legislation. And I really do appreciate you all taking time to make sure that we stayed within that scope. I appreciate that you’ve already made a promise to me that we will work on this to make it a little bit better for Senator Hill and Senator Caldwell and some farmers that are out there that live in rural areas. But I do appreciate your work. Thank you.
Tharp [00:24:52] Thank you.
Eaves [00:24:55] All right. Thank you, members. Hold on just one second. I’ve got a question for staff. Thank you. Senator Irvin, just to clarify, are you wanting to make a motion to not approve the rule or you just want to be on record as having objections to the rule? There you go.
Irvin [00:25:41] I see that there’s there’s support among my colleagues for it. I don’t support it. So I’m not going to stand in the way of moving the rule forward. I just want it to be known that I object to this because, again, I understand the arguments. I do understand it’s within the legislation. That’s fine. [00:25:59]I object because we are not consistent and I just don’t think it’s right. I think that a child is just as important as an animal. I think that a human being and a person is just as important as an animal. And I have a child that’s in veterinary school. I mean, I have– you know, and so I don’t understand why we have one standard for human beings and another standard for animals. That’s my point I’m trying to make. And that’s why I just want to be on record objecting to this, because it’s inconsistent with the policy positions that this legislature has taken on providing health care. And I think that a child and a person is more important than an animal. And I have cows and I have horses and I have a farm. We are farmers. I get all this. But I just don’t understand why there is a less standard when we’re treating patients and human beings than there is with this. [61.1s] Thank you.
Eaves [00:27:03] Thank you, Senator Irvin. All right, seeing no further questions and noting Senator Irvin’s objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. All right, members, we are going to C4. It’s also Department of Commerce, State Insurance Department. Good morning, sir. If you would just introduce yourself for the record when you get ready and you can go ahead and begin.
Honey [00:27:34] Yes, I’m Dan Honey. I’m counsel for Product Compliance for the Arkansas Insurance Department. We have a– this is a little, little matter of clean up. Arkansas Insurance Department Rule 69 concerning vehicle settlements was promulgated pursuant to Act 490 of 1997. And in 2009, this was repealed and replaced by Act 796 of 2009, which was the Life Settlements Act. And it is now obsolete and no longer necessary. So we have, we have repealed this. There’s no rule necessary for the Life Settlements Act because it is quite comprehensive and we were able to provide for enforcement without a rule.
Eaves [00:28:22] Okay. Thank you. Members, any questions on this rule? All right. Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. Thank you.
Honey [00:28:29] Thank you.
Eaves [00:28:31] All right. Item C5, Department of Corrections. Good morning, sir. Just introduce yourself for the record and you can begin.
Graves [00:28:50] Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. Solomon Graves, Secretary of Corrections. Here today to present a proposal for a new rule for the Department of Correction governing the transfer of confidential juvenile records for juveniles who were convicted under the state’s extended Juvenile Jurisdiction Act. By way of background on why we missed the June 1 deadline, staff began working on this rule back in the summer of 2021, crafting an initial draft for our, our review. That draft was then distributed in early fall to the Department of Human Services. Wanted– in the same way we worked with them on the underlying legislation, we wanted to work with them on the development of the rule. We went back and forth with DHS throughout the fall while simultaneously working with the designated liaison from the Board of Corrections. This rule was submitted to the Board of Corrections for their review in January of this year. The Board of Corrections gave their approval in February. It was then immediately transmitted to the governor’s office, received the approval of the governor’s office in March to proceed with promulgation. At that point, we were on track to meet the June 1 deadline in the statute. However, the enabling legislation that allows us to promulgate this rule also required the review of both the House Aging, Youth, Children, Legislative and Military Affairs Subcommittee, along with the Senate Youth Committee. We received review from both those committees during their joint meeting last month. However, their calendar and the calendar for ALC didn’t line up, so that pushed us a month off, missing the June 1 deadline. In terms of what this rule does, it basically does what the title indicates. Governs– it sets out a process for the Department of Corrections to request, receive and maintain confidential custody of records for youth who are transferred to our custody under the EJJ. One thing I want to, I want to be clear on as I complete my comments, this does not grant the department access to all juvenile records. This only allows us to request records for those individuals who are sentenced as a juvenile under the EJJ as they complete that process, they have their status hearing, the court in turn decides that they are not completely rehabilitated, and transfers them to the custody of the Department of Corrections. To give you an idea of numbers, over the last 20 years, we’ve only had 10 individuals come into our custody under the EJJ. With that, I’ll be happy to answer any questions about our timeline or the rule itself.
Eaves [00:32:20] All right. Members, any questions on this rule? All right. Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. Thank you, sir. That takes us to Item C6, Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. Good morning, if you just would when you push your button and state your name and position for the record.
James [00:32:53] Good morning. My name is Whitney James. I’m a staff attorney with the Department of Education, and I’m here regarding the division’s rules governing Arkansas military child school transitions. These rules were amended to incorporate the changes made by Act 1031 of 2021. And following the public comment period, we did not make any substantive changes. We were prepared to present these rules in April. However, they were pulled back at the request of a member so that we could add some additional, additional language to chapter 3, paragraph 5, which states that the division will cooperate with the Arkansas Council for Military Children to develop a guidance document to assist parents with the application and provisions of the rules in the ACT as well. And that language has been added. We took the rules back to the State Board and got their final approval on May 12. And I’m happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [00:33:50] All right, thank you. Members, any questions on this rule? Seeing none– all right. Without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. Thank you.
James [00:33:58] Thank you. I’m also here for the next set of rules on the agenda. These are the Division of Higher Education’s rules governing the Star Spangled Banner Act. These rules incorporate or– I’m sorry, were created per Act 958 of 2021, which requires that both the Division of Higher Education and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education promulgate rules regarding the Act. And we attempted to promulgate the rules concurrently with the division of elementary and secondary educations. Those were finalized last month, I believe, and we’re a little late on the division of higher education rules. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board meets quarterly, and these rules were given final approval by the board at the earliest quarterly meeting following the public comment period. And following that period, those substantive changes were made. And I’m happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [00:34:51] All right, thank you. Members, any questions on this rule? All right. Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved.
James [00:34:57] Thank you.
Eaves [00:34:57] Thank you. Members, we’re on Item C8, Department of Health, Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Representative Vaught, you’re recognized.
Vaught [00:35:09] Mr. Chair, can we please skip over this item for a few minutes? We’ve got a colleague on her way. She’s stuck on a bridge trying to get here for questions.
Eaves [00:35:16] Absolutely. We’ll come back to item 8. And that’s going to move us to item 9, Department of Health, Arkansas State Medical Board. Good morning. If you would state your name and position for the record.
Embry [00:35:45] Amy Embry. I’m the director of the State Medical Board.
Gilmore [00:35:48] Matt Gilmore, Department of Health.
Embry [00:35:52] We’ll just start with item A, Act 1990, 2019. This is throughout the entire Medical Practices Act. That includes both the statutes and the rules. This just changes– or removes the words ‘immoral’ and ‘moral turpitude’ and also changes ‘regulation’ to ‘rule.’
Eaves [00:36:16] And that’s on 9A. Any questions, folks? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. We’re on 9B.
Embry [00:36:27] This is rule 36, rules governing abortion. [00:36:30]This– the public comment period for all the rules that will be presented today ended on March 22. The rules that will be presented today received no public comments, either verbal or written. [10.0s] The board voted to combine rules 26 and 36. The rule you have before you is the combined rule, and it is updated with Acts 560 of 2021, Act 562, and Act 498 of 2021.
Eaves [00:36:56] All right. Members, any questions on item 9B? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. 9C.
Embry [00:37:07] This is rule number 38 regarding telemedicine. Again, the public comment period ended on March 22. No public comments were received on this rule. It’s been updated per Act 1112.
Gilmore [00:37:19] Mr. Chair, if I could add a comment or two on this one.
Eaves [00:37:22] All right.
Gilmore [00:37:23] This is a rule that, as Ms. Emery said, we received no public comments on. We were consistent with what the language in the act said when we wrote the rule, the medical board approved it, their attorneys reviewed it, and just wanted to make that clear to the committee.
Eaves [00:37:38] All right. Thank you, sir. Representative Wardlaw, you’re recognized.
Wardlaw [00:37:41] I have a motion.
Eaves [00:37:42] Let’s hear it.
Wardlaw [00:37:44] I have a motion to hold this until the August Council meeting to further review at the Health Department. I spoke with Mr. Gilmore before the meeting. I don’t know that I trust exactly what he said, not that I don’t trust him. But I want to make sure, I want to make sure it’s consistent with what we think it is before we hear this rule.
Eaves [00:38:08] All right. Members, we have a motion to hold this rule– did you say for the July or August meeting?
Wardlaw [00:38:12] August.
Eaves [00:38:13] To hold the rule to, to the August meeting. All right. We have a motion. Do we have a second? Second. All those in favor say aye. Opposed? All right, we’ll hold that rule until August. Moving down to item 9D.
Embry [00:38:27] This is rule number 42 regarding licensure for uniformed service members, veterans, and spouses. Again, the public comment period ended on March 22. There were no comments received, and this amends the language according to Act 135 of 2021.
Embry [00:38:43] All right, thank you. Members, any questions on this rule? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. 9E has been removed, so we’re on 9F, rule number 34.
Embry [00:38:56] Rule 34 is regarding death certificates. Again, the public comment period ended on March 22. No comments were received and this just updates the language according to Act 674 of 2021.
Eaves [00:39:08] Members, any questions? You have a question? Go ahead and push your button. All right, Representative, you’re recognized.
Unidentified Representative [00:39:18] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Got a question on some of the rules. It talks about enforcing the rule. And when I was reading the information earlier, it said a funeral home can file a complaint with the medical board. Does– can they do that directly or does the family have to do that?
Embry [00:39:42] No. The funeral home, the family, whomever can file a complaint against a physician in regards to death certificates.
Unidentified Representative [00:39:48] And so they send that in writing. What information– what is then– follow up question, if I can, Mr. Chairman? After that complaint is made, what kind of response would we receive back from– or the funeral home would receive back from the medical board?
Embry [00:40:05] The way that the complaint process works is that we receive a complaint, a copy of that complaint is sent to the physician or licensee in question, they are asked to respond, and then the complaint and the response is submitted to the board. The board determines if any action needs to be taken. And after that business has been concluded, the complainant does receive a response saying that either it was taken for information only, which means there was no violation, or we’re moving forward with an investigation or whatever the board has decided to do.
Unidentified Representative [00:40:36] Is there a way to find out how many complaints have actually been filed?
Embry [00:40:41] Regarding this rule? I can find that out for you. That’s not a problem.
Unidentified Representative [00:40:45] All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Eaves [00:40:47] Thank you, Representative. Members, any other questions? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. All right. We’re on item 10, Department of Health, State Board of Optometry. And if you’d just introduce yourself for the record.
Ford [00:41:20] Tonya Ford.
Eaves [00:41:22] Pull that mic down a little bit. There you go. Go ahead.
Ford [00:41:25] Oh, sorry. I’m short. Tonya Ford, State Board of Optometry, Director.
Gilmore [00:41:28] Matt Gilmore, Department of Health.
Ford [00:41:31] We’re here requesting your approval of rule changes based on acts of the 2021 legislative session. Key amend the board’s current language recording Military Personnel Licensure Act 135 of 2021. We’re going to remove the– we’ve removed the term permanently disqualifying offenses per Act 748 of 2021. We are adding language ensuring the licensure of an applicant who meets all licensure requirements and holds a work permit from Act 746 of 2021, adding a waiver process for initial apprenticeship application fee for individuals who meet the criteria Act 725 of 2021, and adding a background check fee and a correspondence jurisprudence course fee pursuant to Act 1101 of 2021.
Eaves [00:42:26] All right members. Any questions on this rule? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved.
Gilmore [00:42:35] Thank you.
Eaves [00:42:36] All right. Thank you. Members, going down to item 11, Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disability Services. Morning.
White [00:43:09] Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mark White, DHS. So this first rule, this is an amendment to the Medicaid state plan regarding rates for occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech language pathology. I know this is an issue that you all heard about because I heard from several of you about therapists wanting to see an increase in their rates. We did a study as part of our rate review process, and we’re recommending a 31% increase. We’re going to split that over two years, do 16% the first year, 15% the second year. And we also are planning, assuming the committee approves this, we’re going to be paying this rate back to April 1, for services provided back through April 1 of this year. Now, that will require us to do a mass adjustment. I know there was some discussion in the Public Health Committee about this. So we’re going to bring a report back to Public Health in August on the implementation of that mass adjustment. With that, be happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [00:44:05] All right. Thank you. How did you come up with the April 1 date of being retroactive?
White [00:44:11] It was based on when we got the information back from the actuary on the, on what the rate should be.
Eaves [00:44:20] Okay. And so there’s no specific, no really specific reason? There’s no like cut off of any kind that that that April 1 corresponds to?
White [00:44:31] Well, there’s that– and I’m sorry. I should also add there’s also some CMS rules about how far back we can go on paying retroactively. And so that limits it as well.
Eaves [00:44:39] Okay. Thank you. Appreciate that clarification. Members, any questions? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. And we can go to 11B.
White [00:44:51] All right. This item, we are redoing our manual for developmental therapy services. And these are services that are provided to children who have developmental disabilities and delays. It’s connected to the services that are available to kids in school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This is part of the state’s obligation of those services. This is just the one piece that we have as opposed to the rest, which is under Education. Since we’re going through the manual just to improve it and make some clarification, make it more clear in points, we did receive just a couple of comments. We successfully addressed all of those. And based on our understanding, all the stakeholders are good with this revision of the rule. And with that, happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [00:45:34] Thank you, Mr. White. Members, any questions? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. All right. That takes us to item 11C.
White [00:45:45] All right. And this is a somewhat similar deal. This is for our First Connections program, which, again, provides some of those services under IDEA Part C. We have taken several documents and combined them into one to try and simplify and streamline them, make them easier to understand, also provide clarifications. We got quite a few comments on this rule, but we worked through all those issues with those commenters. And again, based on conversations with the stakeholders, we think everyone is good with the rule as it stands now.
Eaves [00:46:18] All right, Mr. White. Thank you. Members, any questions on this rule? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. Thank you, Mark. Members, that takes us to item 12, Department of Labor and Licensing, division of Labor Boiler Inspection Division. Morning. When you get settled in, just push your button. And then if you would introduce yourself for the record, you can go ahead and begin.
Oxley [00:46:53] Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I’m Denise Oxley, general counsel for the Department of Labor and Licensing.
Hudson [00:46:59] Ralph Hudson, Arkansas Department Licensing, Division of Labor, Director.
Eaves [00:47:04] Thank you. Go ahead.
Oxley [00:47:05] Thank you. The boiler– the amendments to the boiler rules were all as a result of prior legislation. These were subject to the deadline of June 1. The reason primarily is one of logistics and staffing. They weren’t finished by June 1.
Eaves [00:47:26] Would you mind pulling your microphone just a little bit closer?
Oxley [00:47:29] Certainly.
Eaves [00:47:29] Thank you.
Oxley [00:47:30] Sorry. The boiler rules were actually the last of 22 sets for different boards and commissions that were drafted, and we anticipated that they would be the last. And like I said, it was primarily a question of logistics and staffing that they did not get through before now. But the, the amendments were pretty simple. First off, they deal with Act 725 of 2021 to provide an initial fee waiver for certain low income individuals. They amend the board’s rules to provide for automatic licensure of military personnel and their spouses, they amend the rules to provide for recognition of apprenticeship programs for boiler operator licensing, and they amend the division’s rule on reciprocity and temporary and provisional licensing to comply with 2019 legislation. But I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [00:48:28] All right. Thank you for that. Members, any questions? All right. Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved.
Oxley [00:48:35] Thank you.
Eaves [00:48:35] Thank you.
Hudson [00:48:36] Thank you.
Eaves [00:48:39] Members, that takes us to item 13, Department of Labor and Licensing, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Boards and Commissions, Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board.
Oxley [00:48:54] Denise Oxley.
Eaves [00:48:55] Thank you.
Piechocki [00:49:03] Thank you. Yes, I’m Diana Piechocki. I’m the director of the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Do you want me to address it? To address the fact that we missed our June 1 deadline, we were on track to be in front of you in May. And I held– the board had approved everything. We held a public comment– we held a public hearing on April 6, and we were on track for the April 15 deadline to be able to have our materials to BLR. And of course, that was the last day of my public comment period. And that afternoon I, of course, received two comments. The first was a verbal comment, which we addressed with the respondent in that it was covering something that these rule changes did not address. The second, however, though, was a written comment we received from the Appraisal Institute, and it did address the practical applications of real estate appraisal program. The board– we were at the deadline to be in front of you guys in May. So the board, when I talked with the board, they wanted to just pull that section. They met on April 4– I’m sorry, May 4, and voted to hold that section for just a little bit more study to make sure that we stayed within the parameters of our law. So we will be back in front of you at a later date to address the practical applications of real estate appraisal. And that’s the reason that we were behind was because of late comments that we received. Okay. In order– we have two things in front of you today. The first addresses the appraiser board rules themselves. What we’re asking for in these proposed rule changes are revisions to our qualifying and continuing education programs. That includes clarification of requirements for asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid educational offerings and allows for the remote proctoring of qualifying education exams. We propose amending our military veterans rules by updating terminology and allowing for automatic credentialing for the veteran and their spouses. We propose adding a section to comply with the Workforce Expansion Act of 2021, and we propose adding a section to comply with Act 746 of 2021. We are also proposing amendments to our background check rules to permanently remove disqualifying offenses and allow the board to waiver disqualification of a potential applicant. With respect to item two on the agenda, the AMC program, the only thing that we are proposing there are to amend our background check rules to remove the permanently disqualifying offenses and allowing the board to waive the disqualification of potential applicants. And with that, I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [00:52:13] All right. Members, you’ve heard a presentation of both rules on 13A and 13B. Are there any questions? Seeing none, without objection, both of these rules are reviewed and approved. Thank you.
Piechocki [00:52:24] Thank you.
Eaves [00:52:28] All right. Moving along to item 14, Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Division of Arkansas Heritage. Morning. If you just will introduce yourself for the record, you can begin.
Fisken [00:52:57] Good morning. I’m Leslie Fisken, chief of legislative affairs with Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
Andrews [00:53:04] Good morning. I’m Jim Andrews, general counsel for Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
Fisken [00:53:12] We’re here to– the department’s here today seeking approval of new rules for the Arkansas State Capitol and Historical Monument Protection Act, which is Act 1003 of 2021. We have not met the deadline required by Act 595 for a combination of reasons. We have done research and communicated with other states that had similar programs to this to learn from their implementation of a program in their state. We also worked internally to establish guidelines and process that would allow for successful implementation of the act and processes for applications– excuse me. We also had a public hearing and we received comments and worked with stakeholders on those comments and incorporated those comments that we received into our rules and guidelines. And we anticipate to be completed– we’re presenting the rules to you today. So the summary of this act is it provides for the preservation of historical monuments on public property and the State Capitol area, and it limits the removal of these monuments. The Arkansas History Commission is a part of the Division of Heritage, which is a part of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. And the History Commission is directed to implement the rules, guidelines and process to ensure the preservation of these historical monuments. The rules and guidelines presented to you today establish four processes in place with the History Commission. They establish a process for application of a waiver, including a standard waiver from the act and a temporary waiver on an emergency basis. The rules also establish guidelines and process on what will be designated as a historical monument. Number 3 creates a registration process for historical monuments erected after the passage of Act 1003 and also establishes guidelines for the disposition of historical monuments if any type of waiver is granted.
Eaves [00:55:21] Thank you. Senator Johnson, I figured you might want to chime in.
M Johnson [00:55:26] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I want to thank Ms. Fisken and Mr. Andrews and Sue of our BLR staff for the work they’ve done on this. It’s taken a little longer than I wanted, but I think the result is pretty good. I did have one question for our panelists, if I could. On page 63 of the summary of the– for the Rules Subcommittee, it talks about the temporary waiver, and it brings up the issue, the fact that normally the History Commission only meets quarterly. And I guess my question, I’ll phrase it this way, do you anticipate that the commission will come up with some kind of process when a– [00:56:18]I anticipate them to be the kinds of requests for waivers, especially temporary waivers, that come in will be what I would call pro forma. It’s yes, we’ve got this construction we’re having to do. We don’t want to damage the monument. So can we get a waiver to move it over here temporarily or or some other accommodation to that? And once that policy is in place, is this something that staff could, using the guidelines from the, the commission that we’ve established this is our policy in this type of instance, that would not require everything to be on hold in the instance that there might be more than a couple of months before the commission could actually meet to grant the waiver. [43.6s] In other words, could a blanket policy be in place? And if anything falls outside that policy, it would require a meeting and review by the commission, but if it’s something that, I would hope could become routine in cases like this, is there a mechanism that that would be carried out through authority granted by the History Commission to staff?
Fisken [00:57:27] Well, I think there are a couple of questions in there. The first one–
M Johnson [00:57:32] Yes, ma’am. There were at least a couple
Fisken [00:57:35] Specifically to the temporary waiver on an emergency basis, the rules and guidelines provide that that can be done through a phone call, that can be done through an email, and that will be a very quick turnaround time, you know, immediately. And there will be a follow up internally afterwards to gather more documentation. So if there is– if we do receive word or the History Commission does, State Archives, that there’s an emergency, temporary waiver on an emergency-based situation, that can be taken care of quickly. Also, the, the law governing the History Commission, the secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism can call a meeting at any time. So that will help with, I think, as you’re talking about the timing of these applications, there will not be a wait for the History Commission to meet quarterly. That’s their practice that has been in place. But the secretary can call a meeting at any time.
M Johnson [00:58:27] So I guess to paraphrase what you said, the staff can be given the authority, and if it’s something that is not clearly defined or outside the pre-approved process that the commission is given, then the secretary could say, Hey, we need to have a short emergency meeting and deal with this matter? And Mr. Andrews is nodding. So that’s, that sounds good to me. And I really appreciate that. And again, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank these folks. I wish we’d had this done on time, but I think it’s all– all’s well that ends well. I think they’ve done a good job on it. And thank you for your work on it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I encourage the committee to favorably review the rule.
Eaves [00:59:09] Thank you, Senator. Members, any other questions on this rule? Seeing none, without objection, this rule is reviewed and approved. Thank you.
Fisken [00:59:18] Thank you.
Eaves [00:59:20] Members, Item 15 has been pulled. We’re moving down to Item 16, State Board of Finance.
Fowler [00:59:45] Morning, Mr. Chairman, members. T.J. Fowler, general counsel for the Arkansas Treasury.
Rogers [00:59:50] Debbie Rogers, Department of Finance and Administration.
Eaves [00:59:55] Go ahead.
Fowler [00:59:56] All right. There are two items on the agenda. I’m actually going to take them in opposite order if that’s all right with the members. The second item, which is the full investment policy for the state treasury, actually encompasses all the items that will be dealt with in the State Treasury money management trust. So if you review and approve that item, then you’re essentially reviewing and approving all the changes in what is item A. This rule change by the State Board of Finance contains three broad categories of changes to the rules. The first is simply stylistic changes to comport with the upcoming Code of Arkansas Rules Style Guide. The second, the one I suspect you will be most interested in, are the substantive changes to the Treasury’s permissible investments under a modern portfolio theory. And the third is a review provision that requires the State Board of Finance to holistically review this rule at least annually. The State Board of Finance believed that the substantive rule changes were needed to shift towards what is considered a modern portfolio approach for Treasury investments. That approach promotes portfolio diversification and a holistic view of portfolio security rather than focusing on a single asset class in isolation. Those substantive changes fall into six categories. First, it removes duration requirements for commercial paper as long as they are rated investment grade by two nationally recognized statistical rating organizations. The rationale for that is that commercial paper is already duration limited by its nature. I don’t believe there’s any commercial paper offering in the current marketplace beyond 270 days. And as this body may recall, previous state Board of Finance rule changes already significantly restricted the quality ratings on commercial paper. And those rules remain in effect, so, so those strict quality ratings still apply. The second substantive change increases the permissible duration for corporate bonds to 10 years, as long as they are rated investment grade by at least two NRSROs. And that longer, longer duration bond would still impact the total portfolio maturity limit, so a check on duration remains. It simply shifted to the whole portfolio as opposed to a per security check. Third, it permits the purchase of general obligation bonds of cities, counties, municipalities and other subdivisions as long as they hold an investment grade rating. This has always been permitted in statute, but is now being clarified as permissible in the rule set as well. And I think there is some hope among the Treasury and among the state board of Finance that this would allow the Treasury to invest in Arkansas communities where appropriate. The fourth change removes ambiguity around investment pools made up of permissible assets. The Treasury has always done this. They– it’s always been the position that if a single security is permitted, then they can also invest in a pool of those securities. This actually– this change actually came out of some discussions with legislative audit. They just thought it was best if we clarified that and made it express in the rule. The first change is actually three smaller changes that all deal with the duration of the total portfolio limit. The first, the total portfolio maturity limit is going to be measured as a weighted average maturity as opposed to a straight average maturity. Second, it exempts Treasuries and agencies from the 10 year per individual asset limit, the thought being that treasuries and agencies are such a secure asset class that they didn’t need that restriction. And the third change is extending CMO’s and mortgage backed securities to a 15 year average life. But again, this would still impact the total portfolio limit. So a check remains there. And the final substantive change, the state board of Finance has removed the CD rates being set in rule for the, for the state– for the Treasury Certificate of Deposit Investment Program. That’s a bit of a misnomer. Essentially, this just mirrors the change that, that has already been made about five years ago for CD rates set for Treasury investments. The Treasury Certificate of Deposit Investment Program is actually a program that has never been used during my tenure in the last seven years, and I believe, was– you can speak to when it was last used.
Rogers [01:04:14] It was last used in 2010.
Fowler [01:04:16] In 2010. Essentially, it gives the state board of Finance authority to pull money out of the Treasury and invest it directly as a state board of finance and certificates of deposit. And this just allows them flexibility. When, when those rates were set in rule due to the APA process, those rates lagged so far behind the market by the time it went through the APA process and was reviewed that the rates were at that point irrelevant and we had to start over and had no marketable CDs. Those are all the substantive changes. I’m happy to answer any questions that anyone might have.
Eaves [01:04:47] Co-chair Hammer, you’re recognized.
Hammer [01:04:49] Thank you. Could you tell me, these proposed changes, are they on the basis of past investment experience of the Treasury or what is driving the request to modernize would be my term I would use?
Fowler [01:05:04] That’s a good question. So this actually started back in 2020. There was a proposed rule change– it was very similar to this, although it didn’t have quite as many facets. It didn’t have the stylistic changes because a code of Arkansas rules wasn’t the thing at that time. That rule made it through the review process. But then as we were going to present it here, the Arkansas Bankers Association had some concerns because they hadn’t had a chance to look at it. So we pulled the rule, we met with the Arkansas Bankers Association, tweaked some things, and, and brought this rule back. So essentially, this rule is two years old from its genesis. The genesis really began because we had so much market fluctuation over the last two years that it was really hard for our investment department to find corporate bonds, commercial paper that was effective. Obviously, market conditions are very different this week than they were last week, but it’s still– it basically just gives more, I would say, more arrows in the quiver of the Treasury Investment Department to do things as this volatile market develops.
Hammer [01:06:12] Okay. Let me, let me be a little more specific. In the past few years, there have been some investment practices that have been done by the Treasury that has actually produced some very high yields but maybe a little more risk than some people would have cared to had us exposed to. So does the proposed rule the way it’s presented allow for that to happen, or by, you know, incorporating some new investment practices that maybe would have been prohibited before, or does this still provide some safeguards against what was at that time may be considered questionable or risky at best?
Fowler [01:06:49] I understand your question now. I believe those concerns revolved around commercial paper primarily with also some CMO and mortgage concerns. And as I said earlier, those– this body approved some rule changes at that time that up the credit ratings for commercial paper, specifically in corporate debt. Those limitations are still in place. So only 5% of the total portfolio can be in second tier corporate debt. And I believe only 15% of the entire portfolio can be in corporate debt, period. So, yes, those concerns, the fixes for those concerns remain in place even with this rule set.
Hammer [01:07:30] Okay. Thank you.
Eaves [01:07:34] All right. Thank you, Senator. And we’ve got another question for you in seat 41. Representative Rye, you’re recognized.
Rye [01:07:41] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Sir, let me ask you this. In a situation where you saw a stock or a bond that you felt like it was fixing to fall out, would this make it a lot easier for you to make that adjustment?
Fowler [01:08:00] I think the answer to that is, so the Treasury is not permitted to invest in equities so we can never purchase a stock. I’m getting a little feedback. I apologize. As far as getting out of the bond, the Treasury’s goal and the State Board of Finance’s rules requests– we’re not trading, right? We’re not, we’re not buying to sell. We’re buying to take a position and hold it. Now, that being said, if there was a position that because of some crazy market fluctuation was going to be adverse to the state, yes, of course, we could divest from that position if need be. And nothing in these changes make it easier or harder to do that, to purchase or to sell. Does that answer your question?
Rye [01:08:45] Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Eaves [01:08:48] Thank you, Representative Rye. Members, any other questions? So that testimony really covers both of your rules, wouldn’t you say?
Fowler [01:08:56] Yes, sir. So the State Treasury money management rules, which are actually item A in the agenda, that deals with a short term only portfolio that’s essentially a local government investment pool. The rule changes there are identical to these where they apply. Obviously, the long term duration items don’t appear there because there is no long term investing in that pool.
Eaves [01:09:17] All right. Thank you for that clarification. Members, any questions on either of these two rules? All right. Seeing none, without objection, we’ll consider both of these rules reviewed and approved. Thank you. Members, that takes us back up to the item that we skipped earlier. Item number 8, which would be the Department of Health, Arkansas State Board of Nursing. It’ll be on page 17 of your packet members.
Gilmore [01:09:55] Matt Gilmore, Department of Health.
Tedford [01:10:01] Sue Tedford, director of the Board of Nursing.
Embry [01:10:03] Amy Embree, Director of the State Medical Board.
Tedford [01:10:08] Okay. The rules that we’re presenting here today are based on act 412 of 2021. They’re our method of implementing that act. We had the public comment that ended March 14. We had some public comments received. Most of them were in support of the proposed rules. A few had to do with verbiage that we cleaned up. We did not make the June 1 deadline because we had some changes that were requested by the Public Health Committee. Those changes were made and approved by Public Health on June 1. And the chapter outlines the purpose and authority of the committee, the general matters of how the committee functions, qualifications for full independent practice and outlines the fees charged. I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Eaves [01:11:02] Representative Gray, you’re recognized.
Gray [01:11:04] Thank you. And thank you for holding this so that I could get down here. A couple of things. I’m just going to start out. I have a lot of questions. But one of the first ones I’ve got, reapplying, like if someone were denied, revoked, suspended, I don’t see anywhere in here like a length of time when they would be allowed to reapply or if they will be allowed to reapply.
Tedford [01:11:26] I don’t recall anything related to that. I mean, there’s nothing that stops them from immediately reapplying. They would have to address the deficiencies that were outlined by the committee.
Gray [01:11:49] Okay. So you don’t think we need to add anything to it to address the time frame? I mean, I think I’m fine if you don’t want to.It’s just something I wanted to clarify.
Tedford [01:11:57] Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest reason for denial will be the number of hours. So you have to get the number of hours or you don’t qualify.
Gray [01:12:06] Okay. And that brings me, I think, to as I was fine tuning it, looking through it, on the rules under the criteria, qualifications for full independent practice. It looks like you struck out a bunch of language on A6, but you’ve got submission on number 5, submission of a notarized affidavit attesting to the number of clinical practice hours. Does that meet the intent of the law with the 6,000 hours of collaborative practice?
Tedford [01:12:37] Well, the reason we struck out the, the red, the red line is due to the concerns of the Public Health Committee. They believe that we were treating out-of-state individuals different than in-state individuals. So we decided to treat them all the same by doing the affidavit of practice hours. With the nurse signing the affidavit of practice hours, that gives the committee the authority, if they are found to have falsified that document, the authority to take action and pull the certificate of prescriptive authority for independent practice. And then it also gives the board the authority and ability to take action against the license for falsification of documentation.
Gray [01:13:15] So does the board plan then to follow up with whatever physician is listed on that affidavit to verify that those hours are correct?
Tedford [01:13:24] Well, in reality, a lot of these individuals will have multiple physicians. Some physicians still won’t be in practice. And so it’ll be almost impossible to verify every single hour that they submit.
Gray [01:13:35] Okay. I’m not cool with that at all. That was not the intent of what we were trying to do. What we were trying to do was that the collaborating physician or physicians could attest– if there’s five, they could all attest to 1,000 hours separately. But that’s all for now. I’ll come back and get in the queue. I’m sure there are others. Thank you.
Eaves [01:13:55] Thank you, Representative Gray. Co-chair Hammer, you had a question.
Hammer [01:13:58] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m working off my recollection of all the meetings. But with regards to the first issue about reapplying period, I think that was intentionally left unaddressed just in the event that somebody submitted something and maybe the board refused it on the basis of something being absent that it would allow them to be able to come back as soon as possible and reapply, given the fact that honestly, this is a new adventure and if there was, if there was latitude for them to come back as quickly as they could gather what the board may have felt was missing. Do you recall any of that conversation or is that aligned with anything you remember?
Tedford [01:14:38] I don’t recall the conversation, but I’m in agreement that, you know, you want them to come back if they’ve corrected their deficiencies.
Hammer [01:14:45] Okay. And with regard to the intent of the number of hours, the, the driving goal and driving purpose was to substantiate specifically with somebody out of state that there would be verification that would substantiate that they had the number of hours that were, were intended. Is that accurate?
Tedford [01:15:11] From out of state?
Hammer [01:15:13] Talking– let’s just separate it and talk about the ones that were out of state.
Tedford [01:15:18] Okay. The, the way the law is written, the only individuals that can apply for independent practice from out of state are those that have practiced under a collaborative practice agreement in that state.
Hammer [01:15:28] Correct. So, so what we want is to make sure that they have practiced the required number of hours out of state. And there’s only one of two ways to get there. One is to contact the physicians under which they served and get supporting documentation or provide an affidavit in the event that physician is no longer practicing, deceased, or whatever the case may be. They would not be prohibited from submitting both, would they, the way it is currently written? Let’s just say they can substantiate 5,000 hours through physicians that are still available to document. The other 1,000 maybe is covered by a physician who is no longer. And, and the affidavit could substitute for that. Is that, is that the way the rule would be applied or is that a fair interpretation of it?
Tedford [01:16:21] The rule really doesn’t require the documentation from the physician any longer.
Hammer [01:16:26] Okay. Did the language originally?
Tedford [01:16:29] Yes, it did.
Hammer [01:16:31] Okay. And so to address that, when the concerns were expressed in the various committee meetings, the substitute to that was the affidavit. And who presented that idea? Was that any one particular entity impacted by this or it just came out of the committee that that was submitted?
Tedford [01:16:51] I recall it came out of the committee. And that would be a way of applying it across the board equally among all applicants.
Hammer [01:16:59] And who all’s on the committee discipline wise? Who, who makes up the committee?
Tedford [01:17:04] The– which committee?
Hammer [01:17:06] APRNs?
Tedford [01:17:08] There are four physicians on the full independent practice committee and four APRNs.
Hammer [01:17:13] Was the vote to go this way unanimous on the board?
Tedford [01:17:20] One dissenting, I believe.
Hammer [01:17:22] Do you know if I was a physician or who it was?
Tedford [01:17:24] Yes, it was a physician.
Hammer [01:17:25] But three of the other physicians were okay with it?
Tedford [01:17:28] Yes, that were at the meeting.
Hammer [01:17:30] That were at the meeting.
Tedford [01:17:31] One physician was absent.
Hammer [01:17:32] Okay. But, okay. Thank you.
Eaves [01:17:37] Thank you, Senator. Senator Irvin, you’re recognized.
Irvin [01:17:40] So I go back to the intent of the, of the law that we passed. And it’s very, very clear on page 2 under lines 14 through 16 that there has to be required proof of successful completion of 6,240 hours of practice under a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. And it looks to me that you’ve removed that from your rule, and that’s not consistent with the legislation and the law that was passed by this body. And so it seems to me that you responded to the comment found on page 19, where they do not agree with the requirement of having an affidavit from the collaborating physician attesting that the APN has practiced a minimum of 6,240 hours under a collaborative practice agreement. The AANP affirms that the education the APN receives, both clinically and academically, prepares the APN to practice and pass standardization. [01:18:47]That’s not what the law is– the law does not recognize the educational clinical hours or the academic hours as part of that 6,240 hours. It is very clearly written. And so your rule does not account for that and doesn’t follow the intent of the legislation from my perspective. You have to have, as the law states, you have to have proof of evidence from a collaborating physician of those hours. And so that would require an affidavit from a collaborative physician. That’s what the law says. I don’t– I mean, I understand opinions, but we have to go based on law. [51.0s]
Tedford [01:19:39] [01:19:39]Agreed. The changes were not made based on the public comment. Okay? We originally had that in there and left it in even with the public comment. The changes were based on the comments made at Public Health Committee from–[14.5s]
Irvin [01:19:54] [01:19:54]Legislative Public Health Committee? [1.6s]
Tedford [01:19:57] [01:19:57]Yes. Yes. [1.1s]
Irvin [01:19:58] [01:19:58]Well, I understand comments at a public health committee, but that’s very different from us taking a vote on legislation. Again, that’s an opinion from the– I mean, I understand that. But it has to follow the law. If it doesn’t follow the law, then, then the rule should not go forward. It doesn’t– what we do in the interim in our public health committees or education committees is, is not we can’t change the law within those interim committee meetings. Correct? [33.9s]
Tedford [01:20:33] Correct.
Eaves [01:20:44] Representative Dotson, you’re recognized.
Dotson [01:20:45] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’ve been following this along here and reading that particular line in the law on page 2 of the, the, I think, Line 14, where it says proof of successful completion of 6,240 hours. How do you get to the place where an affidavit attesting is proof of that? I mean, I understand kind of what you’re trying to do or what’s being attempted to do to make an allowance and maybe in an emergency situation– a physician is dead and no longer in practice and can’t be found, there, there might be some sort of an attesting affidavit or something like that. But that even isn’t– that’s not even allowable within the statute itself as written. So I don’t know how you can move forward with this as written right now or how we can move forward with approving something like this as written with that word ‘proof of successful completion’ in there.
Tedford [01:21:49] We found proof of successful hours very difficult to define. That’s why you saw in the red line version a multitude of, of things, because some positions no longer exists, the practice no longer exists. So we were going with other items. But as I said, the Joint Public Health Committee did not want that in there.
Dotson [01:22:10] I understand that there are, there are some that don’t want it in there, but you’re still complying with the statute itself. And, and I mean, I can’t support it with that, that line being in there, because it’s not actually proof. Okay. Thank you.
Eaves [01:22:28] Co-chair Hammer.
Hammer [01:22:30] [01:22:30]Thank you, Mr. Chair. Picking up on that subject. First of all, who was it that you said did not want that in there? Was that the board that’s, that came up with the rules or who was that? [10.5s]
Tedford [01:22:41] [01:22:41]The Joint Public Health Committee. [1.1s]
Hammer [01:22:43] [01:22:43]The Joint Public Health Committee. [1.0s]
Tedford [01:22:45] [01:22:45]Legislators. [0.0s]
Hammer [01:22:46] [01:22:46]Did not want what in there? [1.1s]
Tedford [01:22:50] Number– the red line version in there. They had two concerns when we took it to public health. Was the letters of recommendation and number 6 that’s red lined out, A and B.
Hammer [01:23:01] Okay. And your response to that was what?
Tedford [01:23:05] To take that out and put in the affidavit.
Hammer [01:23:09] Okay. And that came out of a legislative joint– came out of a legislative committee recommendation?
Tedford [01:23:14] Yes.
Gilmore [01:23:16] Senator Hammer, I think Ms. Tedford and Ms. Emery discussed the stakeholders and got some of the feedback from that committee meeting and came up with this, and that was the best option they could come up with at the time.
Hammer [01:23:29] Okay. And then with regards to the definition of proof, what, what, what constitutes a definition of proof?
Tedford [01:23:43] I think that’s open to interpretation.
Hammer [01:23:45] So it’s left gray or silent. Would you agree with that?
Tedford [01:23:50] Yes.
Hammer [01:23:50] Okay. So by being left gray or silent, the determination that has been made is that proof is sufficient through an affidavit provided by the nurse. Is that– am I connecting the dots correctly?
Tedford [01:24:06] Yes.
Hammer [01:24:06] Okay. Let’s just say that– take it into people that live within Arkansas, okay? What if you have a nurse who applies in-state that no longer has a physician that they can verify? Maybe it goes back 20 years that they, they had it. How is it handled in-state?
Tedford [01:24:27] No different than out of state. You can’t get something from somebody that doesn’t exist anymore. And that runs them into an issue of not being able to show proof of their hours.
Hammer [01:24:38] Okay. So what we would subsequently be doing is throwing out– if we don’t do the rule, we’ve thrown out everybody who cannot substantiate with a by-living person’s affidavit that they actually had a collaborative agreement at the time of which they say they were practicing. Is that correct?
Tedford [01:25:01] Yes. Now, the in-state are somewhat a little bit easier because the collaborative practice agreements are on file with the Board of Nursing. So we can go back and look at every collaborative practice agreement an individual has had. So we would have that to back up the in-state people. There’s no way to do that with out of state.
Hammer [01:25:19] Okay. And just for the purpose of fairness all the way around, would a responsible APRN– maybe it’s too much of a judgment call for you to answer– but would a responsible APRN have some sort of documentation that they would keep that would show that they had practiced under a collaborative agreement at some time? But they still have to substantiate those hours. I mean, just because they, just because they hold up and say, Back in 1994, I had a collaborative agreement, the verification of those hours is still going to have to be done by somebody. And if that physician is dead, we’re down to no choice at all. So we’re about to eliminate a large– potentially, we don’t know how many it is, really. We really don’t know how many we’re talking about. It could be two or 200. We’re going to eliminate them from the equation if that practicing physician that they had the collaborative agreement with is deceased and they can’t verify those hours.
Tedford [01:26:11] Correct.
Hammer [01:26:12] So this is a practical solution around what might be a problem or might not be. Is that fair?
Tedford [01:26:18] Yes, that’s correct.
Hammer [01:26:19] Thank you.
Eaves [01:26:21] Thank you, Senator. Representative Gray, you’re recognized.
Gray [01:26:24] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I know I filed the bill in 2019 that essentially did this. It had more hours and we just didn’t go anywhere with it. And I was supportive of it in the legislature. So I just want to throw that out there that I do want this to go through. But I want it to match the intent of the law. And I was unable to attend the public health meeting in Fort Smith this month– what was that, a week ago? But this just, as a person who supports this, does not meet the intent of the law. And so I think I would like to give you the opportunity to pull it down before I make a motion that we hold it based on either it doesn’t meet the intent of the law, it doesn’t actually meet the law, or just because I can because it’s got a fee in it. There are lots of reasons why I could hold it, but I would prefer that you pull it down. Is that something you would be willing to do?
Tedford [01:27:11] Absolutely.
Gray [01:27:12] Thank you.
Eaves [01:27:15] All right. You going to go ahead and pull that rule down and bring it whenever?
Tedford [01:27:21] We’ll bring it back.
Eaves [01:27:22] All right. Thank you. Members, any other questions on this one? Since it’s pulled down, I don’t guess there’s any. That’s going to take us to– bear with me just a sec. Members, that takes us to Item D. This item on the agenda will include updates by the various agencies who have not completed their rulemaking by the June 1 deadline and whose rules are not on the agenda for approval. As I mentioned earlier, Arkansas Code amended by Act 595 of 2021 provides that if an agency determines that a newly enacted law from the 2021 regular session requires new or amended rules or does not provide a different date, those new or amended rules were to have been filed by the with the Secretary of State on or before June 1 of 2022. Again, the statute further requires the executive head of the agency or his or her designee to appear before the Administrative Rules Subcommittee to explain why the agency has been: one, unable to comply with the deadline; two, provide an update on the status of the rulemaking; three, describe the steps being taken by the agency to address its failure to comply with the deadline; and finally, four, to provide an anticipated date for when the final version of the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State. These agencies will have to appear on a monthly basis until the final rules are filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Pursuant to the statute and Act, the chairs have requested those agencies to appear here today. But we also requested that each agency provide the subcommittee a written summary detailing those items I just outlined. Those summaries are in your packet for your review. And if there is an agency from which you would wish to hear today, we can ask the agency to come to the table. And just a reminder, some of these rules may already be in the process, they just are not ready for our approval. However, because they have not yet been filed with the Secretary of State, we have to follow the statute. So I’ll give you a minute to take a look at that. Does anyone wish to hear from any of the agencies listed under Item D on your agenda? We have– Representative Wardlaw, you’re recognized.
Wardlaw [01:29:41] I think I’d like to hear from the Department of Agriculture, please.
Eaves [01:29:46] All right. Good morning, gentlemen. Just state your name and title for the record and you can get started.
Ward [01:30:05] Yes, sir. Wes Ward, the Secretary of Agriculture for Arkansas.
Hodge [01:30:08] Wade Hodge, legal counsel for the Department of Agriculture.
Wardlaw [01:30:13] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Can you just go through why those rules aren’t ready for us so we can hear that?
Ward [01:30:28] Yes, sir. I’ll, I’ll start with a general overview, and both myself and Mr. Hodge will try to answer any more specific requirements about the rule itself. But I think as most members remember during the legislative session there was a change to the makeup of the State Plant Board, which was ultimately found by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. So that delayed a little bit of the action on implementing the industrial hemp rule, which is, which is why we’re on the agenda today. So, got the board situated, and then just very recently, a circuit court found the board to be unconstitutional again. So we’re working through, number one, working through some legal issues on what that means for, for the board and how we move forward, having conversations with the attorney general’s office on that itself. But second, more, more substantively to the, to the rule itself, the industrial hemp rule, we went through the process, the administrative procedures process, followed that, had meetings of the board when it could meet, had it open for public comment, didn’t didn’t get a whole lot of feedback. But once, once it made it through the public comment period, we heard from a couple of people and just in full transparency and working with them decided to hold that and work on revisions to the rule. So kind of two factors of just making sure we’re consistent with the rule to meet the needs of the industry and the questions that have been raised, and then second, just working through the issues and the plant board itself.
Wardlaw [01:32:02] Mr. Chair, I do have a follow up.
Eaves [01:32:05] Go ahead.
Wardlaw [01:32:06] When do you, as a secretary, think we’ll have a Board of Agriculture that’s functional?
Ward [01:32:11] For the state plant board, as it currently exists, I think our– I hesitate to say too much on it now, but our current interpretation from the, from the order of the circuit court is that the makeup of the board, even though it’s removed nine members– it’s a 19 member board, it’s removed nine members. We still have a 10 member board that could meet. There are some questions on whether industry and others would, would be very happy about that. But I think as it currently exists, the board– our interpretation is that it could move forward. There’s again ongoing discussions with the attorney general’s office on if that order is appealed and when it would be legally sufficient for the board to meet again to move forward with other actions.
Wardlaw [01:33:00] Okay. Thank you.
Eaves [01:33:02] All right. Thank you, Representative. Gentlemen, thank you for coming down. Members, are there any others? Representative Dotson?
Dotson [01:33:10] Yes. Item D10. Transformation and Shared Services.
Eaves [01:33:16] All right. Can we get someone to come down from the Department of Transformation and Shared Services? If you would state your name for the record, and then we can begin.
Rouse [01:33:33] Mitch Rouse, Chief Legal Counsel.
Dotson [01:33:37] Thank you. Just as far as where these are at, it looks like some of the the reasons you have in your letter says, just unable to meet the deadline due to the time required to draft rules and accompanying forms. Why is that taking so long since, I mean, these have been statutes for over a year?
Rouse [01:33:59] So, the– I think you’re referring to the divisive concepts rule, but I’ll talk about both.
Dotson [01:34:05] Yeah, that’s the first one.
Rouse [01:34:06] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we developed a draft initially. We had a lot of back and forth on it as far as what to include in there. And so that took a little bit of time. When we finally got the rule developed, it was decided that we needed to also to develop a form to go with it and make sure we got that approval. So we did that as well. But in all honesty, we worked on it. We had a draft in January. We had to pull it down and rework it. And that just took us a little bit of time. But no excuse, we should have gotten it done. And it’s out there for public comment starting tomorrow and it will be– public hearing is June 29.
Dotson [01:34:57] Okay.
Rouse [01:34:59] And then on the, on the DBA minimum standards and criteria rule, what happened there is it’s 192 page rule, and it hasn’t been updated in more than a decade. And so when we got in there to just do the legislative changes that came through, we realized that it made more sense to do a comprehensive overhaul, to try to update it for everything, because it had been a while since it had been reworked. And so going through those 192 pages, there’s been either a formatting change or a grammatical change or an updating change on almost every line of those 192 pages. And that’s what’s taken a while on that. But we have the draft ready. We will get it to the governor’s office this week, and we hope to get it in the public comment period before the month ends.
Dotson [01:35:47] So are you working as you’re going through that dramatic overhaul with the new style guide and everything to try to make sure that it seamlessly flows into the new system?
Rouse [01:35:57] Correct. Correct. What, what has happened is it hasn’t been opened up in decades, so it’s got some old formatting in it. It needed to account for some new laws that have been in place that for whatever reason, it just wasn’t updated to reflect. And so we’re trying to do a comprehensive clean up to get it ready for that. And like I said, it’s 192 pages. It overlaps with a few other agencies and universities and things like that. So we wanted to make sure we worked with them. And credit to my staff, they’ve worked really hard on that and it’s just a little bit behind.
Dotson [01:36:34] And that’s going out for public comment.
Rouse [01:36:36] We hope to have it out for public comment by the end of this month. We’ve got it drafted. We need to get it to the governor’s office. We will this week. I just haven’t had a chance to do a full comprehensive review on it and then we’ll get it out the door.
Dotson [01:36:50] All right. Thank you.
Eaves [01:36:51] Representative Wardlaw, you’re recognized.
Wardlaw [01:36:53] Mr. Chair, I got a different agency. Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing.
Eaves [01:36:57] All right. Thank you for coming down, sir. If we could get the Department of Labor and Licensing.
Oxley [01:37:18] Denise Oxley, General Counsel.
Wardlaw [01:37:21] Thank you, Mr. Chair. So reading through these, the Board of Electric Examiners, the Home Inspector Board, Contractor License Board, all these different ones, you have reasonings there of why you’re not ready. One of the reasons in there is very disturbing to me, and it says that you cannot get a quorum for these meetings. Are we keeping attendance? Because it’s come to my attention earlier today– it’s kind of weird how this plays out– but DHS is now keeping attendance of all the boards that govern the different effects of DHS. Are you guys keeping attendance of these to make sure these members are being due diligence in their duties and participating?
Oxley [01:38:01] Yes, sir. And we are filing– I think we have a legislative report due August 1 on the past two years.
Wardlaw [01:38:09] Of attendance?
Oxley [01:38:10] Of attendance, an attendance report on our board membership. So, yes, we are keeping that. And I think the response– the problem is with special meetings. It’s getting a quorum for specially called meetings.
Wardlaw [01:38:24] Mr. Chair, that brings up my follow up. Glad you brought that, because it said in one of these that you guys don’t meet monthly, so therefore to meet these deadlines is, is almost impossible because of those non-monthly meetings. You say that in here. So if you know you have legislation and you know you have rules due, how come you can’t get that stuff on an early agenda to make sure that it’s achieved without these special meetings?
Oxley [01:38:53] That’s, that’s a good question. And that is, that is something that we need to address clearly in a better, more timely manner.
Wardlaw [01:39:01] So one thing we’ve done as a legislature, we’ve been studying occupational licensing, which is what these are. And we’ve been trying to make it easier to get people into these occupations to make sure that our citizens have access to electricians, plumbers, and so on. I just think it’s very important that you send the message back to these folks that they need to go to work, they need to get these things done, to get them adopted, and they need to do it on the deadlines that are set forth.
Oxley [01:39:26] Yes, sir.
Wardlaw [01:39:27] Thank you, Mr.Chair
Eaves [01:39:29] Thank you, Representative Wardlaw. Representative Springer, you’re recognized.
Springer [01:39:33] Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would just like to follow up to what Representative Wardlaw has stated. A number of these items that are issued in D1, 2, 3 through 10, they’re not even signed by the persons, I guess, that have submitted the reasons. So I brought this up yesterday. They’re not signed reasons for why there’s a delay. A number of them don’t have signatures on them. So I don’t know if there’s a commitment to follow up or what. I guess that’s for you, Mr. Chair, not for–
Eaves [01:40:12] Can you repeat that? I was dealing with another issue. Would you mind repeating that question for me?
Springer [01:40:16] Okay. So I guess my question is under D1 through 10, there are, I guess there are reasons, there are exhibits here that have been provided to us for reasons why certain things haven’t taken place. And Representative Wardlaw just mentioned that. And I just noticed at the going through all of these reading them, they’re not– there are no signatures from these departments as to what they’ve submitted. They don’t sign off on it. I think that’s an audit exception. I would say that there are no signatures.
Eaves [01:40:49] Right. Yeah, I understand your question. That’s, that’s why the chair’s asked members or the folks that wrote those letters to be here to be able to address any of those questions.
Springer [01:40:59] All right. Well, I would think if they submit something that they should sign off on it.
Eaves [01:41:02] Yes, ma’am. I understand. Thank you. Representative Beatty, you’re recognized.
Beatty [01:41:06] Department of Ed.
Eaves [01:41:08] Okay. Thank you for coming down, ma’am. Can we get the Department of Education? If you would, please just introduce yourself for the record and we’ll get started.
Salas-Ford [01:41:25] Courtney Salas-Ford, Chief Legal Counsel, Department of Education.
S Smith [01:41:28] Stacy Smith, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Education.
Eaves [01:41:31] Thank you.
Beatty [01:41:32] My, my question is on the Succeed Scholarship Program. And it’s noted in, in your report that a draft of the rule, that there was a draft rule, but it was held pending the application process. My question is, what does the application process have to do with the written language of the acts that this body passed?
Salas-Ford [01:41:57] So one of the things that was in the statute was that if the number of applications exceeded the amount of scholarships available, that we could do a random lottery instead of a first come first serve, as has been the process. As we wrote the rules, we tried to incorporate what that lottery process would look like. And as more questions kept arising and we kept getting closer to the application deadline, we felt that it wouldn’t be appropriate to put something out there in the middle of the application cycle that could affect those applicants. And so we felt it better to wait, to go ahead and complete the application process. We, in fact, did not exceed the number of available scholarships, and so we didn’t even have to touch the lottery process. But we have that now drafted and we’ll have it in place before the next application cycle.
Beatty [01:42:52] I guess, a further question, what date was that draft prepared?.
Salas-Ford [01:43:00] Initially, it was prepared in December of 2021. But again, it hasn’t been released past internal review and discussion.
Beatty [01:43:10] So you drafted it in December of 2021 and you still haven’t released that rule?
Salas-Ford [01:43:16] Correct.
Beatty [01:43:17] Can, can you tell me where they– I’m sorry, Mr. Chair. A follow up question? What were the total number of applications during the application process? Do you have that?
Salas-Ford [01:43:29] I do if you’ll give me just a second to look that up. We received 288 new applications.
Beatty [01:43:47] And what was the total available?
Salas-Ford [01:43:56] Sorry, I’m scrolling through here. 299.
Beatty [01:44:04] So we could have passed the rule and not had to deal with the lottery issue?
Salas-Ford [01:44:08] Yes, we could have. And again, hindsight is 2020, but we just didn’t want to put ourselves in the situation of having a rule going out without sufficient notice to the public who would be affected by that rule right in the middle of the application process.
Beatty [01:44:24] All right. No further questions.
Eaves [01:44:27] Thank you, Representative Beatty. Representative Springer, you’re recognized.
Springer [01:44:32] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just wanted to make the record reflect that out of the 11 reports that were submitted, only three out of the 11 are signed by the persons that submitted them. Thank you.
Eaves [01:44:43] Thank you. Members, any other questions for the Department of Education? All right. Seeing none, thank you for coming down.
Salas-Ford [01:44:50] Thank you.
Eaves [01:44:51] Members, any other questions for any of these agency’s reports? I need to get the Department of Transformation and Shared Services back up for a second. I believe there’s an item on there that we need to take care of. All right. Mr. Rouse, you have at the bottom of your letter that you reviewed Act 288 of 2021 and determined rules are not required or necessary. You also are asking to remove Act 488 from the Act 585 reporting. Did you want to give us a little explanation on that?
Rouse [01:45:36] Sure. You know, when my staff initially put together the letter of acts that might require rules, they, they did that. And I signed off on the letter. When we recently looked at it again in the last couple of months, we realized that that act only changed DFA to TSS in the statute. And that’s already reflected in our rules, so there was no need for a rule change.
Eaves [01:46:05] So you’re asking for that to be excluded going forward?
Rouse [01:46:08] Yes.
Eaves [01:46:08] All right. Members, can we get a motion? We have a motion to exclude. We have a second. And that’s to exclude this from the, from the list of Act 585. All those in favor say aye. Opposed? Thank you, sir, for coming back down. All right. Members, any other questions for any of these other agencies? I had a note here that someone wanted to speak to a representative from UAMS, but I guess that’s been pulled down. We’re moving along to Item E– back to D for a second. Those summaries will be filed. I didn’t see you, Representative Vaught. I apologize.
Vaught [01:46:44] That’s okay. Can we have the Insurance Department?
Eaves [01:46:46] Yeah. Sorry. Sorry. Back that up. Insurance Department, come on down.
Rand [01:47:02] Booth Rand, Arkansas Insurance Department.
Eaves [01:47:06] Go ahead
Vaught [01:47:08] Turned myself off, I think. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Do you have an emergency rule that has anything to do with this?
Rand [01:47:13] Yes.
Vaught [01:47:14] Would you please share?
Rand [01:47:15] This rule regulates our PBM Licensure Act in Act 665 in 2021. We were required to follow a rule to enforce Act 665 of 2021 on or before January 1 of this year. And it’s not like we didn’t try. We did start promulgation of Rule 118 last fall in 2021 and had a public hearing actually in December of last year. We were unable to get consensus on PBM Reporting data from the health plans and the PBMs and other stakeholders. They simply couldn’t agree to language related to rebate and spread pricing data reports. And so we were unable to complete or finalize the rule before the January 1 date. So what we did do recently is we refiled this rule as an emergency rule and as a permanent rule. So we have a public hearing scheduled for July 17 of this month to go over this again.
Eaves [01:48:23] All right. Thank you, Mr. Rand. Any other questions, members? All right. Thank you for coming down. Members, that’s all the questions we have on these particular agencies. So these summaries will be filed. That takes us to item E. And this final item on the agenda will be the June monthly written updates pursuant to Act 595 of 2021. These updates are from the agencies regarding the status of their rulemaking implementing the 2021 legislation and are in your packets. These updates are from those agencies who have a later deadline for their rules than the June 1 deadline, so they have more time. Members, are there any questions on these? All right. With no objection, we’ll file the June monthly written reports. And seeing no other business, thank you for your time. We are adjourned.