Senate Insurance and Commerce

Jan. 17, 2023

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Sen Hill: I’d like to call this meeting to order. Appreciate everyone coming out today. It’s our first meeting. It’s going to be an organizational meeting. Just kind of go over a few house rules and clean up rules and everything we do. And at the end, I’m going to go around and let everyone introduce themselves to us and how you’re affiliated with our committee as well on the outside. I want to start off by recognizing my vice chair, Senator Murdock. I’m glad to have him on board and look forward to working with him during our time frame here. Yeah. If you would, would you like to introduce yourselves as members?


Committee member introductions

Sen Irvin: Yes, good morning. I’m Senator Missy Irvin, and I represent now District 24, which is all of Stone County, Searcy County, Van Buren County, with portions of Newton County and Cleburne County, and then Faulkner County, lots of Faulkner County except for Conway and Mayflower. I’m happy to be with you. I’ve served on this committee for a long time.


Sen Hill: Justin.


Sen Boyd: Justin Boyd, Senate District 27, which is Fort Smith more or less, plus, if you’re familiar with that, all of Chaffee Crossing. And I was on Insurance and Commerce last time in the House.


Sen Penzo: Clint Penzo, District 31. Represent Springdale, Johnson, Tontitown, and Elm Springs up in Northwest Arkansas, and I was on Insurance and Commerce in the House as well.


Sen M Johnson: Mark Johnson, Senate District 17. I represent most of the rest of Faulkner County that Senator Irvin doesn’t represent. I have the city of Conway, the city Mayflower, and part of the rural area, as well as very far west end of Little Rock and the rest of western Pulaski county. And I served on Insurance and Commerce two years ago and I’m glad to be back on this committee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Sen Murdock: Reginald Murdock, I represent District 9, which is east Arkansas, the Delta, Lee county, Saint Francis, all of Crittenden, all of Phillips. I’ve been on Insurance and Commerce seven terms. I’ve been here seven terms, and every term I’ve been on Insurance and Commerce. This is my second time as vice chair. I was vice chair in the House for Representative Collins. He was the chair. That was some years ago. So glad to be here, been here before. Just hadn’t been on this end.


Sen Hill: And I’m Ricky Hill, Chairman, representing half of Lonoke County and the Air Force Base around the Jacksonville area. And I want to introduce our staff, who’s responsible for keeping me straight, and I wish him the best of luck. And I think it’s going to be very difficult for them to do. But I’m going to start out with Miss Michelle here. We’ve got Sheila, and Alex Stevens is our attorney. Where’s Alex at? Is she here?


BLR Staff: I don’t think she’s here.


Sen Hill: Yeah, she’s not here today. Okay. Well, thank you all for that and look forward to working with you all and we’re going to have a good time if nothing else. First order of business we must do is review and adopt our Senate rules, committee rules, if you all had a chance to review those.


Sen M Johnson: Motion do pass.


Sen Hill: Motion do pass.


Sen Irvin: Second.


Sen Hill: Second by Senator Irvin. All those in favor? Opposed? They’re adopted. Next, we’re going to review our fiscal impact procedures and Miss Jill there is going to go over those with us and we’ll have to adopt those at the end. Please introduce yourself, Jill, for the record.


Fiscal impact statements and deadlines

Thayer BLR Staff: Thank you, Mr. Chair, Jill Thayer, Bureau of Legislative Research. You should all have in front of you a copy of the procedures for use of the health benefits actuary. These were adopted by the Legislative Council in October. Just to give you a little bit of background regarding the fiscal impact statements, the General Assembly passed Act 112 in 2022 during the fiscal session. And that act, which you also have a copy of, imposed the 15-day bill filing deadline on any bills that impact health benefit plans for entities of the state, and this includes pharmacy benefits. Entities of the state for these purposes is the EBD state and public school life and health insurance program, as well as the self-funded plans by various institutions of higher education in the state. So the Legislative Council also, this past fall, authorized the Bureau to hire the Segal Group to perform the fiscal impact statements that are also required by Act 112. The process that set out here, which under Act 112 has to be adopted by this committee and the House Insurance and Commerce Committee, is that Segal is going to monitor all the bills that are filed. They’ll identify a bill that they feel will require one of these fiscal impact statements and notify me. I will notify the chair of this committee if it is a bill filed here, and then the chair will check with the sponsor of the bill to determine whether the sponsor plans to move forward with the bill. If so, the chair will authorize Segal to move forward with the fiscal impacts. Under the act, the committees can not take up a bill that requires one of these fiscal impacts until you have it back in front of you. Segal is located out of Little Rock, but they plan to come here to present these fiscal impact statements to you. They can do that in person or via Zoom if the committee decides that’s how they would like to have that done. That’s really the basics of the process. The rest of it is set out there for you to see, and I’ll take any questions.


Sen Hill: Thank you, Ms. Thayer. Senator Johnson.


Sen M Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Jill, I want to make sure I heard this correctly or interpreted it correctly. You can’t actually file the bill until you have the fiscal impact statement?


Thayer BLR Staff: Yes, sir. You can. The committee can not take the bill up until we have it.


Sen M Johnson: So that says the deadline is the 23rd. That’s next week.


Thayer BLR Staff: Yes, and because you all took the four-day recess that we just came back from, that actually moves back to the 27th.


Sen M Johnson: Well, be that as it may, we have to move pretty quickly if we’re looking at something like that. So I guess my question is, theoretically, I file a bill tomorrow. Then that would trigger the impact statement, which is fine. We’d be okay if the impact statement was requested and in process, but the committee could not consider it until it had received it. But I’m more looking at the trigger date of this hard deadline. That’s a hard deadline to introduce another bill, not to continue forward with something that’s already being reviewed on a fiscal basis.


Thayer BLR Staff: Correct. Right. The bill filing deadline doesn’t impact the committee taking action, the bill just has to have been filed by that date.


Sen M Johnson: Right. Okay. Thanks, Jill. Thank you.


Sen Hill: Any other questions for Ms. Jill? Senator Irvin.


Sen Irvin: Thank you, Mrs. Thayer. If you will just go down who the state entities are, I think that’s important information.


Thayer BLR Staff: So it’s going to be EBD who holds– it’s all the public school employees, all the state employees. Some of the institutions of higher education have also opted into coverage by the EBD plan. I don’t have that list with me, but I can get it for you. And then some of the institutions of Higher Ed that have their own self-funded plans that we are working with to get data from include the University of Arkansas system, the ASU system, UCA. There’s a consortium of two-year institutions that have a plan together. And then, I apologize, there are two or three other schools that– I also have that list that I can get to this committee. I don’t have it in front of me.


Sen Irvin: Okay. And have they all signed the memorandums of understanding to allow us to have the data that Segal needs in order to do what they need to do? Is all of that in place?


Thayer BLR Staff: Not yet. That is something that I’m still working on. I am working with the institutions of Higher Education. I have most of those completed. Because of the change in the administration, we have not yet finalized the MOU with EBD. But I hope to have that done in the next couple of days.


Sen Irvin: Okay. Thank you.


Sen Hill: Any other questions for Ms. Thayer? Seeing none, we need a motion to adopt.


Sen Irvin: Motion.


Sen Hill: By Senator Irvin. Second by Senator Johnson. All those in favor of say aye.


audience: Aye.


Committee processes

Sen Hill: Opposed, same sign. It’s adopted. Okay. Just a few rules here or regulations, whatever we want to call it. Please leave your agenda folders in the room. Do not leave with them. And during session, the committee will meet in this room. Agendas are being prepared two days before the committee meeting. Sponsor notifications will be sent to members who have bills on the agenda two days before the committee meetings. Sponsor notices are sent by email. A quorum must be present to start each meeting. Five committee members constitute a quorum. It is important members be on time to the meeting so the chair can see a quorum to start the meeting. And to finish up today, I’d like to go around the room and allow everyone to introduce themselves who are affiliated with the insurance industry, banking industry, or whatever you’re involved in, that makes you want to be here and be with us and enjoy yourselves. We’ll start over here on the left and let’s just work our way around the room.

[Introductions – mostly inaudible]


Sen Hill: Yes, sir. I was going to call you up there anyway.


Audience introductions

McClain Insur Comm: I kind of beat you to it. Sorry. Alan McClain, State Insurance Commissioner. I’ve worked with most of you in some capacity. I appreciate the expertise you all bring to the committee. At each of your meetings, somebody from the Insurance Department will be here. Typically, we don’t have a bill that’s being run. We’ve got a couple of non-controversial things that we’ll be talking to you about. If we’re pushing a bill, it’s supposed to be non-controversial. If you have to raise your hand with much of a question, then it becomes controversial, I think. So don’t look for anything controversial out of us. We’ll just be talking to you about some clean up stuff. Last count, there’s about 20 bills that have been filed on one side or the other already that are insurance related. We will try to have our subject matter experts available to support you in any way we can. Happy to sit at the table with you, whether it’s Booth Rand or any other staff that can help with some of the legalities. A couple of colleagues with me today. Chief Deputy Russ Galbraith and Chief Information Officer Jennifer Bruce will be among the group of us that are typically here trying to just be available to you in any way we can. So that’s typically our role and just wish you luck for a great session.


Sen Hill: Any questions for Mr. McClain while he is here? You got off easy today. Thank you, sir.


Erstine (Insurance Agents): Mr. Chair, members of the committee, good morning. I’m Kelly Erstine, and I represent the Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas. Sometimes we’re known as the Big I. We represent about 325 individual insurance agents across the state. Look forward to working with you all.


Sen Hill: Thank you, sir.

[Introductions – mostly inaudible]


Sen Hill: Thank you, sir. Anyone else have any comments or concerns they want to discuss today? Seeing none, this meeting is adjourned until the call of the Chair for our next one.