Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee

Jan. 12, 2023


Sen Flippo: …everybody to the first meeting. It’s just going to be an organizational, introductory meeting. I want to start off with introducing my esteemed vice chair, Mr. Senator Terry Rice. And Senator Rice, have you got any comments?


Sen Rice: No.


Sen Flippo: Okay, thank you very much. We’re just going to go around the room and I’m going to ask members to introduce themselves and your districts and where you’re from. Senator McKee, we’ll start with you and circle around, and then end with Senator Stubblefield. Yeah, you just want to pull it down and then just hit your middle button.


Sen McKee: Senator Matt McKee, District 6, Garland County, Saline County, Hot Springs area.


Sen Petty: Senator Jim Petty, District 29, Van Buren and Crawford County and southern Washington County.


Sen Bryant: Senator Bryant, District 32, eastern Benton County, northeastern Washington County.


Sen Sullivan: Senator Dan Sullivan, Craighead County, District 20.


Sen Hammer: Senator Kim Hammer, District 18, Saline County, west Pulaski County.


Sen Stubblefield: Senator Gary Stubblefield, District 26, Johnson, Sebastian, Franklin, Logan.


Sen Flippo: Well, members, I want to recognize or welcome Senator McKee and Senator Petty. I know this is your first legislative session. Senator Bryant, realize that you served in the House before. Were you on the City County Committee over in the House? So you’re not new to this. Well, listen, I’m happy to have everybody here. Our returning members, Senator Sullivan, Hammer, and then we have our former City County Local chair, Senator Stubblefield. I want to thank you for your work during this committee, sir. You’ve left some big shoes, and I’ll do my best to try to fill them. With that, I also want to recognize and introduce our staff. We’ve got Mr. Ray Terry will be our staff assistant here. I don’t want to mess up your first name.


BLR Staff: Skye.


Sen Flippo: Skye Tedder will be our committee staff. And then do we have Miss Acker here? Okay, she’s not here today, but she’ll be the staff attorney. And with that, we’re going to move on to an adoption of the rules, which you’ve got in your green folders here. So give everybody a few seconds to kind of review that. You’ve got any questions? If not, the chair will entertain a motion to adopt.


Sen Rice: Motion to approve.


Sen Flippo: Okay, we’ve got a motion from Senator Rice. Second from Senator McKee. All in favor of adopting the rules signify by saying aye. Opposed nay? Rules have been adopted. All right. And if you’ll please leave folders in the room after each meeting for those of you– if you’re not aware that we just leave the folders in the room after each committee meeting. The City, County, Local Affairs Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. in room 272, the room we are in. Sponsor notifications will be sent to members who have bills on the agenda two days before the committee meeting. Sponsor notices are sent by email, so be sure to be checking your email, especially while we’re during session. Now, moving on, I know that we’ve got Lindsey Bailey with the Association of Counties. And, Miss Bailey, if you’d like to come up and say a few words on behalf of the counties, we’d be happy to hear from you.


French (Counties): Thank you, Mr. Chair. My name is Lindsey Bailey French now. That’s okay. I’m with the Association of Arkansas Counties and there are three colleagues of mine who you may see up here as well. Chris Villines is our executive director, Josh Curtis, our legislative affairs director– our governmental affairs director, and Mark Whitmore, who is also on our legal staff, as well as myself. The Association of Counties is an umbrella association that represents nine individual associations of county elected officials, as well as district officials, better known as justices of the peace. So we’ll be up here and willing to help you with any questions you have. We’ll have a couple bills come through here as well. So anything you need to discuss with us relating to county business, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Sen Flippo: All right, members. Anyone have any questions for Miss French? All right, with that, Lindsey, thank you so much. We appreciate you being here.


French (Counties): Thank you.


Sen Flippo: All right, do we have anybody from Municipal League out there?  Okay, I want to make sure I give equal opportunity. With that, members, I’m sure as most of you all know, the primary issues that we deal with here on this committee are going to be issues that are going to be affecting our cities and counties. However, four years ago, I believe it was, that we did expand the number of issues that came before this committee, including alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and– Senator Stubblefield, is there anything that I’m missing there? Anything that can change the statutory code is going to go through judiciary.


Sen Stubblefield: Correct. Well, that’s it. That’s it.


Sen Flippo: Okay. All right, members, if there’s any questions or comments from anybody on the committee? All right, with that, I’m looking forward– Anybody else out there? Thank you, Senator Rice. Is there anybody else out there that’s going to have any agencies or groups that can please come forward?


Jones )Leg Audit): Thank you. Hello. My name is Tim Jones. I’m with Legislative Audit. I’m the deputy legislative auditor for cities and counties. As far as cities and counties, we do all 75 county audits by law, and we do approximately 460 of the 500 cities. Most of you know, we’re located right downstairs from here, and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. And we’ll be here from time to time, especially if someone requests we’d be here.


Sen Flippo: Mr. Jones, we appreciate you being here today. So for our new members, yeah, they are located on the first floor, just literally right below this room. And so they’re very helpful and informative. So any questions you can direct them to me, or just go to somebody in Legislative Audit. Mr. Jones will be the point person for City, County, Local Affairs. Great. Thank you. All right, is there anybody else?


Powell (Farm Bureau): Hi, I’m Philip Powell. I’m the director of Local Affairs in Rural Development for Arkansas Farm Bureau. We’re a grassroots organization with over a 180,000 member families. We have an office in every county, and I work closely on the local level. And we’re happy to be a resource for any of your questions about issues you may hear from our members. And I’m happy to visit with any of you all afterwards or answer any questions. Thank you.


Sen Flippo: Great. Thank you. Appreciate you being here. All right, is there anybody else that’s going to be before this committee on a regular basis? All right, well, listen– Senator Stubblefield, you are recognized.


Sen Stubblefield: Chairman Flippo, when it talks to no verbal amendments, does that include emergency clauses, anything?


Sen Flippo: That would be my understanding that it would include emergency clauses, but let me check with–


Sen Stubblefield: Well, I mean, any insignificant thing, that includes all of that?


Sen Flippo: That would be my understanding, Senator Stubblefield. Yes. Thank you. All right, are there any other questions or comments by members? All right. With that, we’ll be meeting on Tuesday 10 a.m. Well, I don’t know if we’re going to meet next Tuesday. I’ll have staff send out an email. I don’t think we have anything on the agenda yet. So it’s not my plan to call any committee meetings until we have bills to discuss. With that, we are adjourned.