House of Representatives
Jan. 23, 2023
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- HB 1101 Reducing the required disability to obtain a disabled veterans tag
- HB 1145 Creating Lupus Awareness Day
- Referring HB 1155 back to committee
- HB 1137 Allowing local governments to burn vegetation
- HB 1017 Allowing school employees leave for emergency services response / training
- HB 1122 Adjusting the school year calendar (moving up start)
Rep Eubanks: I invite the members, staff, press, and guests in the galleries to stand and be led in prayer by the chaplain of the day, Jeremy Pierce from the Union Central Church of Christ in Marmaduke, Arkansas, who is the reverend for Jeremy Wooldridge, Representative Jeremy Wooldridge. And to remain standing to be led into pledge by Representative Lane Jean.
Pierce: Let’s pray. Our creator, our God, our Father. We come before you on the solemn occasion to first extend to you the praise that you’re most deserving, but we fail to communicate with absolute accuracy and enlightenment. You’re a God that it holds all power, all knowledge, and is present in all of creation. You are sovereign. And we humble ourselves as we approach your throne this afternoon. We stop to give you praise for all the ways that you bless each of us, our great state, and our great nation. We praise you for the forgiveness that you afford us from all of our iniquities through your son, Jesus Christ. We praise you for the healing that you bring those who are troubled by disease or attacks against their flesh. We praise you for the redemption from the pits of despair. We praise you for the crowning of all humanity with steadfast love and mercy. We praise you for your never-ending grace that satisfies us with all that is good, holy, and just. We praise you for being slow to anger and patient with us as we struggle through life and all of its challenges together. We praise you for your righteousness that was so perfectly displayed through your Son that gives us a sense of direction, instruction, and hope to move forward. On this tremendous occasion, we pause to give you thanks for the sacrifice of your Son that makes all things possible. We give you thanks for your faithfulness. We give you thanks for your word that is still so powerful and relevant and superior. We give you thanks for our leaders, both state and national who hear your word and respond favorably to it. We give you thanks for our leaders who shout of your ways and think of your greatness and glory in all things.
Pierce: We thank you that though you being high above all grant special regards and compassion upon the lowly. We thank you that though we may be walking through a time of political and social and economic unrest, that you aim for preservation for those who will be penitent before you. We thank you that you choose to stretch out your powerful hand against all enemies of your people. We thank you for this wonderful state in which we live, for her people, her resources, and her provisions. We thank you for our national leaders and pray that you lead them and protect them. We thank you for our president and ask a special blessing be upon him. May you lead him down the path of righteousness so that our nation can follow. We thank you for these leading men and women who serve here as our state representatives and the sacrifices that they make in hopes of bettering the way that we live in this great state. We stop and pray a special blessing be upon their families and the separations and stresses that this position brings them. We pray that you will provide strength to both representatives and their families to rise above and endure unjust criticisms with grace. For all things understood and misunderstood, we say thank you. As we continue this prayer, pray that each leader represented here today belongs to your people, that they will approach you today with humility, openness, and desire to fulfill your purpose for each of them. I pray that you grant them with wisdom, the wisdom of King Solomon petitioned you for and led with early in his life. I pray that each representative recognizes that they were first your servant and then a servant to the people of Arkansas. Help these leading men and women to understand that they are not in position of status or privilege, but this is a position of stewardship for the people. I pray that each representative seek first your kingdom and your priorities. I pray that each representative will seek to serve your agenda and not be led astray by selfish ambition.
Pierce: I pray that each representative will vote towards laws and decisions that are in perfect harmony with the law of Christ and restore Christian virtues and practices. I pray that each representative will fill the hurts of the powerless and marginalized and stand as a powerful voice on their behalf. I pray that the decisions reached by this House to promote peace and godliness and holiness within all Arkansans. I pray that as a people we will live in submission to this leadership and decisions of our representatives. I pray that each representative approaches such decisions that you will grant them power of discernment, providing them with strength and direction that will result in a thriving people. I pray that our representatives will excel in handling these discussions and potential disagreements with high levels of civility, that they may express themselves passionately, but without rage and hostility. I pray that you give each representative the courage of Joshua and Moses to be concerned for all Arkansans and not just a select few. Help these leading men and women understand they’re involved in your work today and every day they serve in this capacity. I pray that as these representatives come together, they will do so with integrity, grace, and mutual respect for one another, that they can rise above partisanship and listen and learn from one another. May they all be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to anger. I pray that their decisions will reflect high moral ethics based upon your will and your word. I pray their decisions will be in favor of all people and provide protection, liberty, and provisions for all human life. Father, as these representatives enter into this session today, I pray that you will bless them with humility, mourning, meekness, a hunger for righteousness, mercifulness, purity of heart, peacemaking, and resolve. I pray that you will fill each member of this house with your Holy Spirit. They may reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as they approach this session and every session to follow.
Pierce: Let them not become conceited provoking one another or envy in one another, but rather enable them to live by your spirit, walk by your spirit, and lead by your spirit. I pray that Christ may dwell in the hearts of these leading men and women by faith, that they may be rooted and grounded in love, that they may comprehend the true needs both physical and spiritual, of all our Arkansans, that they may lead the residents of this great state to know the powerful love of Jesus that surpasses all knowledge and be filled with all the fullness and goodness that only you can provide. May you do far more abundantly than these leading men and women could ever think or imagine according to your power and work through their service. May these decisions bring and promote true unity and fellowship throughout our state, leaving example for all other states to follow. May this house work in unity towards progression with our new governor, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as our federal government. God, please bless them all, but above all Father, as mere sheep help us to be submissive and dependent upon the good shepherd for instruction, direction, guidance, protection, and provisions. Thank you, Father, for listening to our prayers and providing us with direction, wisdom, and comfort, and hope as we enter into this session. To you be all glory and honor and power forever and ever. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, and with a powerful intercession of your Holy Spirit we beg. Amen.
Rep Eubanks: Members, please indicate your presence by pushing your yellow present button. Prepare the machine, Mr. Clerk. Cast up the ballot, Madam Clerk. With 97 members present, the chair sees a quorum. Are there any requests for leave? Representative Fortner, for what purpose? You’re recognized.
Rep Fortner: Leave for Representative Deborah Ferguson.
Rep Eubanks: Is leave granted for Representative Deborah Ferguson?
Rep Eubanks: Representative Lundstrum, for what purpose?
Rep Lundstrum: Leave for Representative Ladyman.
Rep Eubanks: Is leave granted for Representative Ladyman?
Rep Eubanks: Representative Rye, for what purpose?
Rep Rye: Leave for Representative John Milligan.
Rep Eubanks: Is leave granted for Representative Milligan?
Rep Eubanks: Representative Jeffrey Wardlaw moves we dispense with the reading of the previous day’s journal. No objections, so ordered.
Speaker Shepherd: Are there any reports from select committees? Are there reports from standing committees? Is there any unfinished business? Are there any executive communications?
Members, we have a few guests with this today. First, in the east gallery, we have Dr. Corey DeAngelis of San Antonio, Texas, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children. He received his PhD actually from the University of Arkansas. We also have with us the Legacy Academy from Lockesburg and their founders, Chad and Jessica Gallagher. They’re the guests of Representative DeAnn Vaught. They’re in the east gallery. And we also have with us Lee Wing, the guest of Representative Carlton Wing, also in the east gallery. And our Arkansas state troopers this week are Corporal Kevin Grounds and Corporal Cali Dacus, both with the training division.
The morning hour has ended. Madam Clerk, please read House Bill 1101.
Madam Clerk: House Bill 1101 by Representative Collins. To amend the law concerning the issuance of a special license plate for a disabled veteran.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Collins, you’re recognized to explain the bill.
HB 1101 Reducing disability requirement to obtain a disabled veterans tag
Rep Collins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So this bill was brought to me by a veteran who lives in my district, pointing out to me that the disabled veteran license plate is only available to people at 30% or greater disability. And he asked, is someone at 10 or 20 percent disability somehow less deserving of the honor of this plate? It seemed to him like an arbitrary standard, and it seems like it is an arbitrary standard. The first thing I did– of course, I’m not a veteran– so I asked veterans, what do you all think about this? Talked to the Veterans’ Coalition. All the feedback was positive or neutral. There was no one who preferred keeping it at the 30% level rather than going down, including people at 10 and 20. Spoke with Senator Wallace. He was excited about the bill, sponsoring it in the Senate. Also spoke with General Berry, who raised some good points about parking privileges, and out of that came the bill that y’all passed last week, we passed last week, saying that just because you had the disabled veteran plate doesn’t mean you necessarily get the parking privilege because there are some people who don’t have the mobility disability, some people who do at 30% or above or 30% below. So with the two bills together, they really do work in tandem. We will have a situation where disabled veterans all the way up from 10 to 100 will be able to get the plate and have the honor of the plate, but won’t necessarily get to park in the handicapped parking spot, which is probably where we need to be and why I brought the bill. So with that, I’d appreciate a good vote. Seeing no questions, thank you.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Collins has explained the bill. Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Representative Collins is closed for the bill. The question before the House is the passage of House Bill 1101. Prepare the machine, Madam Clerk. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Madam Clerk. With 96 yeas, zero nays, and zero present, the bill is passed. Madam Clerk, please read House Bill 1145.
Madam Clerk: House Bill 1145 by Representative Scott to create Lupus Awareness Day.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Scott, you’re recognized to explain the bill.
HB 1145 Lupus Awareness Day
Rep Scott: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today, I bring House Bill 1145, which would designate April 23 as Lupus Day in Arkansas. If you don’t know, lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks the healthy tissue of your body that can lead to a more serious health condition such as heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and organ failure. Lupus is present in all communities. And it especially impacts women of color. When symptoms become serious, this disease can drastically affect the livelihood of those that it face. The pain and fatigue of this disease make it difficult to hold a job or sometimes even perform tasks at work. Annually, the cost of this disease could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. This bill was brought to me by a lupus advocacy group in my district. I also had a very dear friend who’s not with us anymore and left behind two beautiful young boys, and she fought lupus for much of her adult life. My goal is to continue to raise awareness around lupus and the symptoms of this disease, which often go undetected so communities can have better health outcomes. I’m happy to try to answer any questions you may have today. Seeing no questions probably for, yeah– I’m going to get out the well. I appreciate a good vote.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Scott has explained the bill. Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Representative Scott is closed for the bill. The question before the House is the passage of House Bill 1145. Prepare the machine Madam Clerk. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Madam Clerk. With 95 yeas, zero nay, and one present, the bill is passed. Members we’re going to pass over House Bill 1082. Representative Bentley, for what purpose? Let’s hear your motion.
Referral of HB 1155 back to committee
Rep Bentley: I’d like to re-refer a bill, 1155, back to committee for some amendments, please.
Speaker Shepherd: That’s a proper motion. It is debatable. Representative Bentley, you’re recognized to explain your motion.
Rep Bentley: Colleagues, as you were nice enough to pass that bill out of committee the other day, I found out after committee that Representative Mayberry had already been working on some things to make this bill a better bill. So I’d like to refer back to the committee to add her amendments to make this bill even a better bill. And with that, I would appreciate a good vote. Thank you.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Bentley has explained her motion. Would anyone like to speak against the motion? Would anyone like to speak for the motion? Representative Bentley is closed for her motion. The question before the House is the re-referral of House Bill 1155 back to committee. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? The motion passes. Madam Clerk, send the bill back to committee. Madam Clerk, please read House Bill 1137.
Madam Clerk: House Bill 1137 by Representative Cavenaugh to amend the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act and to create exception for vegetation disposal burning by certain entities.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Cavenaugh, you’re recognized to explain the bill.
HB 1137 Allowing local government to burn vegetation
Rep Cavenaugh: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When people come down to the well and say, I have a simple little bill that doesn’t do much. I literally have a simple little bill that adds two words to an existing statute. But this two words will allow the locals, communities, and municipalities to be able to burn their own debris. So it does do a lot for our communities. And with that, I would ask for a good vote. Thank you.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Cavenaugh has explained the bill. Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Representative Cavenaugh is closed for the bill. The question before the House is the passage of House Bill 1137. Prepare the machine, Madam Clerk. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Madam Clerk. With 95 yeas, zero nay, and one present, the bill is passed. Madam Clerk, please read House Bill 1017.
Madam Clerk: House Bill 1017 by Representative Berry. To amend the law concerning to– to amend the law allowing certain employees to take a leave of absence for emergency and rescue services.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Berry, you’re recognized to explain the bill.
HB 1017 Allowing emergency services leave for school employees
Rep M Berry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Colleagues, this is an extraordinary piece of legislation that is actually pretty simple, but it’s just adding a school district to be able to allow employees a leave of absence for training for Civil Air Patrol. Civil Air Patrol attorneys brought this to me. And when emergencies come up or emergency disaster training, school districts need to be able to have time off to do the training or to participate in emergency services. So with that being said, I’d appreciate a good vote.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Berry’s explained the bill. Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Representative Berry is closed for the bill. The question before the House is a House Bill 1017. Prepare the machine, Madam Clerk. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Madam Clerk. With 96 yeas, zero nay, and zero present, the bill is passed.
Members, we do have a few other guests with us today in the east gallery. We have the Arrow Academy from Greene County. They are guests of Representative Wooldridge.
Madam Clerk, please read House Bill 1122.
Madam Clerk: House Bill 1122 by Representative Vaught to amend the law concerning the dates for the beginning and end of the school year and to declare an emergency.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Vaught, you’re recognized to explain the bill.
HB 1122 Changing start of school year calendar
Rep Vaught: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last session we passed a bill that changed the dates when schools could start. It ended up being detrimental because they can’t get their semester tests in and kids actually go to school till June. So we’re just making it back to how it used to be. And with that, I would appreciate a good vote.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Vaught has explained the bill. Would anyone like to speak against the bill? Would anyone like to speak for the bill? Representative Vaught is closed for the bill. The question before the House is the passage of House Bill 1122. Prepare the machine, Madam Clerk. You’re voting on the bill and the emergency clause. Has everyone voted? Has everyone voted? Cast up the ballot, Madam Clerk. With 95 yeas, zero nay, and zero present, the bill and emergency clause have passed. Representative Meeks, for what purpose?
Rep Meeks: Motion, please.
Speaker Shepherd: Let’s hear your motion.
Rep Meeks: After the announcements, reading of the bills, transferring the bills, placing the calendars on the desk, members amending their own bills with their own amendments, members withdrawing their own bills, finalized resolutions, reading communications, and any remaining committee reports, I move we adjourn until 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.
Speaker Shepherd: That’s a proper motion. It’s not debatable. All in favor say aye. Any opposed? The motion passes. Are there any announcements? Representative Jean, for what purpose? You’re recognized.
Rep Jean: Joint Budget will meet at 9:00 AM, Big Mac A in the morning.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Stan Berry, for what purpose?
Rep S Berry: Announcement, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker Shepherd: You’re recognized.
Rep S Berry: Judiciary will meet in the morning at 10:00 AM in room 149.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Wardlaw, for what purpose?
Rep Wardlaw: Announcement.
Speaker Shepherd: You’re recognized.
Rep Wardlaw: Sportsman caucus is still on for Wednesday the 25th at 6:00. I haven’t heard from any members that want to be taken off the rolls, but if there’s any members that do not want to be included on the roll, Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock is the deadline to get off. Thank you guys.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Holcomb, for what purpose?
Rep Holcomb: Announcement.
Speaker Shepherd: You’re recognized.
Rep Holcomb: The Public Transportation meeting that was scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled. So Transportation Committee members, we’re canceling our meeting for tomorrow. Thank you.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Warren, for what purpose? You’re recognized.
Rep Warren: Just a reminder, all retirement bills have to be filed by this Friday. No exceptions.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Wing, for what purpose?
Rep Wing: Announcement.
Speaker Shepherd: You’re recognized.
Rep Wing: House Management Committee was scheduled to meet upon adjournment today. We are moving it to tomorrow. So House Management Committee, no meeting today, tomorrow upon adjournment.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Hawk, for what purpose? You’re recognized.
Rep Hawk: If you would like to purchase your legislative basketball jersey, I am the person constructing all the names and everything. So come by and see me. I’ll put you down. It’ll be $20. You don’t have to pay today. We’ll pay by the game. So all that money goes to the Big Brothers Big Sisters. So if you want to come get a T-shirt, we’re going to do numbers based on your district. So there we go.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Johnson, for what purpose?
Rep L Johnson: Announcement.
Speaker Shepherd: You’re recognized.
Rep L Johnson: Public Health will meet at 10 o’clock in room 130. Thank you.
Speaker Shepherd: Representative Evans, for what purpose?
Rep Evans: Announcement.
Speaker Shepherd: You’re recognized.
Rep Evans: House Education meets tomorrow morning, room 138 at 10 AM.
Speaker Shepherd: Any other announcements? All right. If not, the desk will remain open as needed for the reading of the bills. And upon completion of the items named in the adjourn resolution, the House will be adjourned until 1:30 PM tomorrow.