August 11, 2022
Griffin The Senate will come to order. Senator Flowers is recognized.
Flowers I would ask for leave for Senator Leding.
Griffin Without objection. Senator Beckham.
Beckham Leave for Senator Garner.
Griffin Without objection. Thank you. Madam Secretary, please call the roll.
[All present except Garner and Leding]
Griffin Senator Teague is going to lead us in a word of prayer. Everybody please stand.
Teague Would everybody take their ties off? Will you join me? Father, we love you. We praise you. And we thank you for letting us be here today. Lord, as I’m about to leave this place, I pray that you’ll be with my friends and be with those others, too. And, Lord, guide them as they move forward, helping them make good decisions. Lord, we thank you for our great state. We thank you for the people of our great state. We pray that you’ll be with us, keep us safe, send Jesus back soon. It’s in your name I pray, amen.
[Pledge of Allegiance]
Griffin I want to recognize Katlynn Griffin. No– where is Katlynn? Okay. She is not kin to me that I know of. Katlynn is from Marshall and she is a law clerk intern in my office. Welcome, Katlynn. Senator Hickey.
Hickey Mr. President. Mr. President, I have a fish wrapper type resolution to read. And what I would ask, if you would, if you would allow it, if you would allow incoming Pro Tem, Senator Bart Hester, to take the chair while you come down here with me. And then I’d also like for Senator Flippo, Senator Ingram, Senator Pitsch and Senator Teague to join me.
Secretary Senate Resolution 1 by Senators Hickey and Gilmore. To thank the Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin and express appreciation for his leadership of and service to the Senate during his tenure as lieutenant governor.
Hickey Members, if, if you would, please pay attention while I read the resolution. Whereas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin was elected lieutenant governor of Arkansas on November 4, 2014, becoming the 20th lieutenant governor in the history of Arkansas and was reelected for his second four year term on November 6, 2018. And whereas, the official duties of Lieutenant Governor as described by the Arkansas Constitution are to preside over the Senate with a tie breaking vote and to serve as governor if the governor is impeached or removed from office, dies or is otherwise unable to discharge the office’s duties. And whereas, Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin has experienced a steady and reliable leader– or has been an experienced, steady and reliable leader as a presiding officer of the Senate, often ruling on important motions and parliamentary procedures and earning a reputation of fairness and treating senators with respect. And whereas, during his tenure as Lieutenant Governor, Tim Griffin has taken on several important leadership roles, including serving as Chair of the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review, as Vice Chair of the Governor’s Transformation Advisory Board and as a member of the Governor’s Military Affairs Committee and has conducted a top to bottom organizational review of the Department of Human Services at the request of Governor Asa Hutchinson. And whereas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin has been an outspoken advocate for the causes important to the state of Arkansas during his tenure, including improving childhood literacy, promoting science, technology, engineering and math education, expanding parental choice and education, and providing tax relief to Arkansas workers and families. Now, therefore, be it resolved by the state– by the Senate of the 93rd General Assembly of the state of Arkansas that the individual members of the Senate publicly and deeply thank Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin for his steady leadership, his tireless service, and his sincere devotion to the Senate and its members.
Hester All those in favor of the resolution say aye. Opposed, say no. The motion carries. Governor Griffin, would you like– do you have any words you want to say? You want to say them up here?
Griffin I’ll say them from here. Thank you all so much. I’ve learned a lot, a lot that I didn’t know when I got here. I’ve learned a lot from y’all and got to know a lot of you. And I really appreciate the opportunity– I appreciate that Arkansans give me the opportunity to be in this role and look forward to watching what y’all do from afar. But I will never forget the time I’ve had here, been a lot of, a lot of interesting times sitting up here. But a lot of really, really good stuff has occurred during the eight years I’ve been here. And I thought the last time that we ended was the last time I would be here with you in this role. I promise, unless the governor does something else, this is the last time. And thank you all so much. I appreciate it. Thank you all so much. Senator Hickey.
Hickey Yes. Sir, I’d like to be recognized also for a moment of personal privilege to recognize some additional outgoing senators that we have and give them a moment just to say a word or two.
Griffin The Senator is recognized.
Hickey Thank you. Members, last time, of course, some of our members who are not going to be coming back had decided to speak. And this time we have some others that are not going to be coming back with this. They include Senator Beckham, Senator Sample, Senator Teague, Senator Ballinger, Senator Hendren, and Senator Sturch. And if you all, I would like to give them a hand right now, those six. Again, those were just the additional ones from the last time. A couple– actually, Senator Ballinger, was going to say a word, but I don’t think that he’s here at this time. But at this time, we’re going to have two that would like to say a couple of words, it was my understanding. So, Senator Hendren and then after that will be Senator Sturch.
Hendren Well, here we are again. You know, when Ann texted me and said, would you like to say a word, I initially said no. Because I hate to do things that draw attention, and try to be very under the radar and low key about things. But then I reconsidered. Because, the fact is, I began to think, there’s a couple of people I, if nothing else, I want to say thank you to. Because it’s been a long time. I was– I served in my first General Assembly 27 years ago down on the other end. And a lot of things have changed since then, some for the better, some would argue maybe not so much. But the fact is, it’s been an honor to serve in the legislature with, with you all. But I do want to just say, as all of you know, when you come to the end, you think about what made it possible. And the fact is, we’ve got some new ones coming in, we’ve got some who have been here a long time as well. But all of us know you can’t do it without your family, without a spouse and kids that are, that are understanding of that. Especially when you live 230 miles away. And especially when you decide to be in the National Guard and run a business at the same time. It takes a special family to allow you to have the freedom to do those things. So I’m thankful for Tammy and for Daniel and for David and for Nick and for Molly. Because the fact is they– I couldn’t have done it without them. I also want to say, you know, my dad, we don’t always agree on everything, but we agree on a few things. And one thing he told me when I came to the Senate was you will not find a better staff of people to work with than you will in the Senate. And he is so right about that. And again, they’re all just incredible people who love this institution, and it’s been such a joy to get to know them, not just as a staff, but as friends and as people to work together with. Obviously, I want to thank the voters of Northwest Arkansas for letting me do this for a long time, and now I can go back and enjoy my grandkids. There’s, you know, all– I have so many close friends here and some that I’ve served with for a long time. But I just want to recognize one. And that is somebody who is responsible for me being here, who called me out of retirement and said, you have to come be part of this again. And that’s because she was with me back on the House end. And that’s my seatmate, Senator Cecile Bledsoe, who I have not had a better friend and colleague in the Senate. And it is so special that you can have those kind of relationships. And I hope all of you have that kind of seatmate and that kind of experience your time here in the legislature. And I want to thank you all for putting up with me, for giving me the opportunity to serve in some positions of leadership. I know sometimes I can be a little hard to get along with, especially when Dismang or Flippo are doing stupid stuff and I and I say things. But I appreciate, I appreciate you all. We come from different backgrounds with different experiences and different worldviews, and I appreciate the opportunity to serve and your patience with me. And then I’ll just close with this. Because, you know, as I leave here, I think, what did I do? Why did I come down here and spend 16 years, you know, away from my family? But the fact is, the reason is because of them. I was thinking about, as I was coming down this morning, my daughter was born when I was serving in the House of Representatives, and now she’s going to have her first child in November. And the fact is– and that’s number 11 for me. And the fact is, the reason we do this is not for ourselves. And I hope it’s not to be a senator. It’s for them. It’s for our kids and our grandkids to be able to come back and enjoy the amazing state that we have. I had the opportunity to live in lots of states, from Florida to Alaska to California to New Mexico. I saw nowhere– there was never a doubt. I was coming back to Arkansas because of what we have here. And I’m challenging you that are staying here to continue the work. There’s so many people counting on you. I mean, there are kids without families that are counting on you. Jonathan talked to me after our meeting yesterday. There’s people who don’t have homes that are counting on you. Those are problems that you guys can– have– and must solve. There’s our kids and grandkids who want a job and an opportunity to work here in Arkansas and have good schools and quality education. There’s all the people who work for the state and the schools that depend on how we make decisions here. They’re all counting on you. And as I leave here, I’m just gonna tell you, I’m counting on you, too. Because I have no doubt– and I said this when I began the session as the Pro Tem– we have some great people. We have some incredibly good people in this Senate. Despite the challenges that we face, there are good people trying to do good things. And I’m just imploring you to be leaders, not politicians. To solve those problems that matter. And to continue to make Arkansas the greatest state. Again, thank you for letting me stay here and serve with you. Thank you for putting up with my sometimes hard to get, hard to get along nature. But it has been an honor to serve in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Thank you.
Sturch Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, colleagues. I, too, share some of the same sentiments Senator Hendren just mentioned. The reason, main reason I wanted to come down here was to also say thank you. First, thank you to my constituents back home, who for the last eight years have put confidence in me as a state representative and as their state senator. Those five counties that I serve, that’s home. The two things that I always wanted to remember was where I came from and where I was going back to. For a poor kid from South Side to be able to serve in the legislature is a great honor and probably the greatest honor of my life. I want to say thank you to my family as well, my parents who supported me throughout this whole journey and provided the foundation so that I can serve honorably. We may not always know the legacy that we leave, but I know what I take with me: integrity. Integrity. And that means more to me than anything. And finally, I want to say thank you to each of you. Each of you have meant something to me, the relationships that we’ve built together, the bills that we’ve sponsored, the differences we’ve made. All those things I’ll remember forever. And each of you placed a small trust in me to be able to sit in that chair. And I can’t thank you enough for that incredible honor. Up until Senator Gilmore came, I was the youngest member here. I still have the record, so that’s all right. But you always, as one of the younger ones, feel somewhat intimidated by the wisdom– I’ll put it that way– around you. But for you to be able to allow me to serve and preside, I thank you wholeheartedly. I heard it said back during the campaign– another candidate from somewhere else– they wanted to be the next Joe McCarthy. And that shows you what kind of world of politics we’re living in right now. I don’t think there needs to be more Joe McCarthys. I think there needs to be more Margaret Chase Smiths. And if you don’t, if you don’t know who that is, I would argue you don’t know much history, or at least fair history. As a history teacher, I want you to know who both of them are. We need more people who serve with conscience, who serve with integrity. We need more people, as Senator Hendren said, looking to solve problems, not create them. To build bridges, not to burn them. Friends, I tell you, there’s a lot of work still left to do. We don’t have to be reflective of the national politics we see. We can dare to be different. We can dare to be the examples that we should be, both for our state and for our nation. I hope that you’ll agree with me that we still live in the greatest country on earth. We still live in one of the best states in the union. And as Senator Hendren mentioned, there’s a lot of young people counting on us to leave it better than what we found it. So I’ll leave you with an improvised quote. Young senators are never defeated. They simply run again. God bless you.
Griffin I just want to say, Senator Sturch, that often when I needed to step out of the chair– a lot of people help me up here, but you were a key go-to because I knew that you would be fair and I appreciate you sitting in the chair for me when I had to get a snack or take a break. Thank you. Senator Dismang.
Secretary House Bill 1002 by Rep. Jett and Senator Dismang. To reduce Arkansas income taxes, to adopt federal law on depreciation and expensing of property, and to create an income tax credit in certain taxpayers and to declare an emergency.
Griffin Senator Dismang.
Dismang Thank you. Members, same bills we heard yesterday. I would be happy to take any questions.
Griffin Any questions? Anyone wish to speak against or for? The senator’s closed. This requires 18 votes, has an emergency clause. Madam Secretary, please call the roll.
[Yes: Beckham, Bledsoe, Caldwell, Clark, Davis, Dismang, English, Flippo, Fulfer, Gilmore, Hammer, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Hill, Irvin, B Johnson, M Johnson, Pitsch, Rapert, Rice, Sample, Stubblefield, Struch, Sullivan, Teague, Wallace
No: Chesterfield, Elliott, Flowers, Ingram, Tucker
Leave: Leding, Garner
Not voting: Ballinger]
Griffin Anyone wish to vote or change their vote? Cast up the ballot. 27 yeas, 5 nays. The bill is passed. The emergency clause is adopted. Senators– return it to the House. Senator Sturch.
Sturch Colleagues, as you’ll see on your agenda, the boards and commissions. I would like to withdraw this agenda item, not take up confirmations at this time. The governor’s appointees will continue to serve until the Senate takes action in the upcoming regular session. To me, that would be the most appropriate for right now, given the circumstances of the appointments right now. So to me, as such, having concluded all the agenda items on the call, Mr. President, I move that the Senate adjourn sine die for the 3rd Extraordinary Special Session and provide consent to the House to adjourn sine die at the date and following of their choosing.
Griffin That’s a non-debatable motion.
Ingram –question of the chair– Sine die, I think, is debatable.
Griffin Non-debatable. Under the rules, it’s the same as motion to adjourn. It’s non-debatable, requires a majority.
Ingram Roll call, please.
[Yes: Beckham, Bledsoe, Caldwell, Davis, Dismang, English, Flippo, Fulfer, Gilmore, Hammer, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Hill, Irvin, B Johnson, M Johnson, Pitsch, Rice, Sample, Stubblefield, Sturch, Sullivan, Wallace.
No: Chesterfield, Clark, Elliott, Flowers, Ingram, Rapert, Teague, Tucker
Not voting: Ballinger
Leave: Leding, Garner]
Griffin Anyone wish to vote or change their vote?
Griffin No, you don’t want to– oh, you’re a no. The motion is passed. The Senate is adjourned sine die.