House Insurance and Commerce

January 11, 2023

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Rep Brown: I used to have my securities licenses. So I think that’s relevant to what we’re doing and been in the insurance business. So I look forward to working with you. Thank you.


Rep Maddox: Thank you, Representative Brown. Okay. The staff, as all of you know, is excellent. And they’ve actually prepared for me what I’m going to do today. So that’s great. So I know you may not want to do it, but we are going to go through and do it again where we all introduce ourselves, talk about our background, and briefly say anything you’d like to say. So we’ll just start here with Representative Ferguson.


Rep D Ferguson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yeah, I’m glad this will be my fifth term on Insurance and Commerce. I’m glad to be back. I was a dentist in my previous life. And I’m actually the national president of the National Council of Insurance Legislators. So I really hope that you’ll all learn about them. And they’re a great resource for insurance bills and model legislation and all that kind of stuff. So if you have any questions about NCIL, please let me know.


Rep Eaves: My name is Les Eaves. I represent District 58, which is Searcy. And in my real job, I am the vice president of our family business called Delta Manufacturing. We build trailers, horse trailers, livestock trailers, dumps, tilts, and we sell them to about 300 dealers all over the country.


Rep Ladyman: Representative Jack Ladyman, represent District 32 in Jonesboro. My past experience, I worked for General Electric company for 30 years and retired. I worked for Nordex Wind. I was mayor for a few years. So I’m looking forward to working on some business issues here. Thank you.


Rep Lundstrum: Robin Lundstrum, District 18. I have my doctorate in health sciences and I’m also a small business owner. So I’m just tickled to be here. This is my fifth term, and I’ve been all on Insurance and Commerce.


Rep Richardson: Good morning. I’m Jay Richardson, District 49 in Fort Smith. Small business owner and partner in a mergers and acquisition firm.


Rep K Ferguson: Good morning. Ken Ferguson, District 64, parts of Jefferson and Lincoln to Desha County. In my former life, I was a HR Director for the City of Pine Bluff of some 28 years and did some work in workforce development. And you wouldn’t believe it by looking at me, but I also was a radio announcer way back in the day, too many years to mention.  They used to call me–They used to call me the Wild Child. I did that for about 5 years. Happy to be here. This is my third term, third term serving on Insurance and Commerce.


Rep Allen: My name is Fred Allen. I represent District 77. I’ve been on Insurance and Commerce on and off on several terms. I’m just happy to be sitting next to the Wild Child. In my former life, I was one of the first African-Americans that worked for Abbott Laboratories in the HPV division. I sold pharmaceuticals for Abbott. Currently, I’m a contractor and a photographer. And I look forward to serving the people of the state of Arkansas on this committee. Thank you.


Rep Warren: I’m Les Warren, District 84. I was in banking for 18 years. Now I’ve spent 22 years in the title business, so regulated by parts of this committee, for almost 40-something years now. So I was on this committee my first term, and it took me three times to get back on here. So I’m glad to be back in Insurance and Commerce.


Rep Evans: I’m Brian Evans from District 68. I represent Cabot and a small part of the northern end of Lonoke County. This is my second term on Insurance and Commerce. Very happy to be back here and work along with these great folks on trying to solve some of the problems for a lot of our businesses across the state. For the last 29 years, in my early morning job and late night job, I have been in the supply chain management business. My family owns a company called L&L Freight Services. We do supply chain management for manufacturing companies across the United States and Canada just helping them with efficiencies in their supply chain. And so Chairman Maddox, Vice Chair Brown, glad to see y’all up there and look forward to working with you.


Rep Rose: Thank you. My name’s Ryan Rose. I represent District 48, which is primarily Van Buren. A little bit of Fort Smith and surrounding communities. I’m a small business owner and a pastor at a church in Fort Smith. And I’m excited to get boots on the ground and get to work. This is my first term.


Rep Walker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. My name is Steven Walker. I serve District 27, which is Izard County all the way to Newton County. I have my masters in educational leadership. I’ve spent 6 years teaching. I’m now in my 5th year with Department of Education as a Digital Learning Specialist. This is my first term, and I’m looking forward to serving on the Insurance and Commerce Committee with you guys.


Rep G Hodges: I’m Grant Hodges. I represent District 14, which is part of Benton County in Northwest Arkansas. This is my fourth term on Insurance and Commerce. I’ve been here every term that I’ve been down here. I was a recovering politician that relapsed. And I’m back for back for another tour here. And I work at Northwest Arkansas Community College in the administration.


Rep Ennett: Good morning. My name is Denise Ennett. I represent District 80, which is downtown and parts of Pulaski County. This is my second term. I am a mother, a wife, and a legislator, and I’m happy to be part of this committee.


Rep Flowers: Good morning. My name is Vivian Flowers. I am serving in my fifth term for District 65, formerly District 17. This is my second term serving on Insurance and Commerce. In my former life, I was not a radio announcer. I served as Chief Operating Officer for the Center for Diversity Affairs at UAMS. And I have been operating a very small business through Airbnb, which I’ve enjoyed doing so much so that late last year I took the real estate exam or real estate course and plan to take my exam after session maybe if I don’t go crazy. Thank you.


Rep Perry: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Mark Perry. I’m with District 66 representing Jacksonville, North Little Rock, down towards the Jefferson County line. This is my sixth term. I think I’ve been on Insurance and Commerce three terms. For the last 37 years, I’ve done insurance and financial services. So that’s one of the things we do.


Rep Wooten: I’m Jim Wooten and I represent District 59, which is Beebe and Cabot. I’m sorry. Beebe, Austin, and Ward, just north of Cabot. In my former endeavors, I was a football coach at Beebe in the senior high school for 25 years. I also owned a Exxon distributorship. And with that, we had numerous, several convenience stores across the state and several truck stops. And this is really my fourth term. Third term. I finished out Jeremy Gillam’s term, and then I’ve been elected three times. I think this is my third term on this committee and I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, and Madam Vice Chairman. Thank you very much.


Rep Maddox: Okay. So I know all of you, obviously, but I’ll do the same since I made you guys do it. So I’m John Maddox, represent District 86. I always like to talk about it. It’s Polk, Montgomery, and a portion of Howard County. I have a very large geographic district, obviously. And my other job, I’m an attorney. I live in Mena. And the thrust of my practice is banking. We do a lot of banking work. I sit on a bank board, which I’ve sat on for 22 years now. So that’s certainly one of the things that really interests me about this committee. I’ve had the good fortune to sit on this committee every term that I’ve been here, and this is my fourth term. So to be frank, we’re very fortunate. This is one of the best committees, so we’re all lucky to be here. So thank you guys.


Rep Maddox: And the next thing on the agenda is introduce the staff. So this is not Michelle Nelson. This is Brandon Smith. He’s filling in just today because Michelle can not be here. So Michelle will be our committee analyst. Sheila Bill is the administrative assistant. And Alex Stevens is our counsel, our attorney. So obviously ya’ll have their contacts or can get them if you need them. But he’s just here for the day, but he’s doing a great job. So now I’m just going to open it up. You certainly do not have to, but anyone from any agency, organization, association, if you’d like to just go to the end of the table, introduce yourselves. Okay. I see one hand. And you can– well, be fairly brief if you don’t mind.



McClain Insur Comm: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m Alan McClain, State Insurance Commissioner. I just want to take this opportunity to say hi to the members, let you know that our staffed insurance department is– we’ll be here every time you have a meeting. If it’s not me, it’ll be others on my staff. Jimmy Harris is our compliance director. He’s here with me today. I’ve worked with a number of you already. You’ve seen us in past sessions or in other capacities. But our Chief Deputy Russ Galbraith many of you may know. We had some conflicting meetings at the department, so we kind of had to divide and conquer today, but. And Booth Rand our general counsel will frequently be with us as well. I think particularly Booth has a lot of legal knowledge. He’s written most of our laws and rules of recent years, anyway, particularly our rules. So I think you’ll find him and our legal team to be a good resource for you, as well. So we will stand ready just to be a resource for you just with anything you have going without taking a position one way or the other typically. We’re happy to sit at the end of the table with you here and to provide any subject matter expertise you might need. The department will have a general omnibus bill that we’ll ask for a sponsor for. It’s supposed to be non controversial, and our definition of that is if you raise your hand and any problem with it, then we’ll get to work on it. It should just be some technical corrections that we’ll be bringing forward. So other than that, the department won’t have a big– won’t have a big package. But I just wanted to introduce myself and the staff that’s here. Jim Hudson’s here from the Department of Commerce. And so you’ll recognize his name and face around as well. So anyway, just wanted to say hello and y’all can reach out to me anytime.


Rep Maddox: Thank you, Mr. McClain.


Hudson DOC: Jim Hudson, Chief of Staff, Department of Commerce. Just want to say hello, good morning, to you. We have three different divisions that will be a part of this committee: Securities division, Banking division, obviously Insurance, as well. The Department of Commerce, we kind of split between this committee, also Economic Development, and Ag, and then Public Health, as well. So I’ll endeavor to be here as often as possible. We have a new Commerce Secretary, Secretary McDonald. I think he’s busy getting sworn in today. So I know he’ll be around as well. But if you have any questions, anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us and we’d be happy to help out. So thank you. Appreciate your service too, committee.


Rep Maddox: Thank you.


Anderson BCBS: My name’s Mike Anderson. I was that annoyance that you had before. I’ve worked for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for 35 years. I’m semi retired, but I will be working out here during the session. And if you have any questions, you can come to one of us that represent Blue Cross.


Williams BCBS: I’m Stacy Williams, and I also represent Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. And if there is any resources you need or any questions you have, feel free to ask us. Thanks.


Rep Maddox: Thank you. Anyone else? Okay. Okay. They’ve given me various announcements that I need to run through. I’ll try to do that very briefly. Obviously members, you’re to use your own laptop to pull up bills. You know that. It’s the same as it’s always been. The next thing on the agenda is it says we’re going to meet every Wednesday and every Friday. My plan is to only meet on Wednesdays at this stage. So unless I hear anything different, I want to meet on Wednesdays, so. Maybe at some point if we get really busy, we might meet on Fridays, but– Representative Eaves does not like that. So I would rather meet late after session, frankly, but we can discuss that and then– because a lot of us do have other things we have to get to. So I’m going to make a decision on that. Quorum is, of course, 11 members. We have to see 11 members to start. Obviously you know that. Agendas are prepared in accordance with the House rules. They will be prepared two days in advance, and sponsor notifications will be sent to all of you two days before the committee meeting. So you know that. If you have an amendment, as you know, it should always be in writing, and let the staff know before the meeting if you have an amendment, please. It makes it a lot easier on them to just let them know before that you’re going to amend. Special order of business. This is set at the call of the Chair. So when the sponsor of a bill requests a special meeting at a date and time, for instance, a controversial bill or a bill that we just anticipate is going to take a long time, we can set up for a special order of a business. Just let myself know or Representative Brown know, and we can do that. So those are the announcements. Any questions regarding those?


Rep Maddox: Okay. If not, I have a couple that I just wanted to go over. Just one thing, and I’ve been in this committee before. As you know, there’s a restroom back there. Okay. I need to say this right. When you’re in there, please lock it. But when you leave, do not shut the door, because it locks, and we can’t get in there. So I don’t know if y’all have noticed that before, but it’s kind of irritating. So shut it and lock it when you’re in it. And then leave it open when you leave. That’s my most important announcement. No, never mind. I’m not going to say anything. Okay. I’m going to talk about something that I would like to try that’s going to be just somewhat different.

Committee process and procedures

So this is my fourth term, as you know. I, to be frank, do not love, do not necessarily like, how we have to ask for a follow-up. So what I want to try to do is give you latitude and leeway. And if you are making good points into a relevant material or issue, I’ve always found that I didn’t like that then you have to step back and get back in the queue and come start over. So let’s try it to wherein don’t even ask me for a follow-up. Don’t say, “Can I have a follow-up?” Just do it.


Rep Maddox: Now I think the only way it works is if we do– we have to be reasonable. We do. We can’t stay here a long time. But on the flip side, if you’re doing something relevant and you’re trying to get to a point, I think sometimes it takes more than 2 questions. It can take 5. It can take 10. But I want to stress we’re just going to try it. So please, let’s be cognizant of each other’s time. But I would like to try that as the Chair. I just think it’s more efficient, frankly. So that’s something I would like to do. In a month, I might say, “Forget it. We can’t do it.” But, no. But let’s try that.


Rep Maddox: Something else that it’s kind of what I would like to do is if I see someone– this has always, frankly, kind of bothered me if I see someone come and present a bill and so they spend 40 minutes. And then the other side comes up and starts speaking. I don’t want to take a motion within 5 minutes on the debate. I don’t think that’s right. I think both sides deserve at least somewhat of an equal opportunity to at least oppose a bill, to make their case. I don’t think it sends a great message when one side gets a lot of time and the other side gets minimal. Again, we’ll see how that goes. And there’ll be times when we need the limit debate, certainly. But I want to give the other– I want to give both sides a fair shake to at least– I think that sends the right message, so. Obviously I have all these grand ideas and we’ll see how it works.


Rep Maddox: But the last thing is– and with this personality, I’m not worried about it, with the people on here. But the rules say that the presider shall maintain the order of the committee. And so certainly let’s be respectful of each other. Let’s be respectful of the public. But knowing all of you that I do now, I don’t see that as being a problem. But that’s how I’d like to see us try to run this committee. And I look forward to it, and would be glad to take any questions or comments. Okay. Well, I would entertain a motion to adjourn if someone would like to make one. So moved. Okay. Thank you, and we’ll see you soon.