Jan. 24, 2023
Rep Evans: ..To order, and without objection, I’ll be skipping around a little bit on our agenda today. We’ve got two bills that we’re going to hear. We’re going to pass over Representative Meeks today. So we will go to House Bill 1091. Representative Dalby, you’re recognized to present your bill.
Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Members of the committee, Mr. Chair, if it’s all right with you, if I may have Dr. Myles here with me today?
Rep Evans: Yes, ma’am. If you would please introduce yourself, with your name for the record, please.
Myles (Workforce): Good morning. Good morning. My name is Trina Myles, and I serve as the director for the adult education section under the Division of Workforce Services.
Rep Evans: Great. Thank you for being here today. Representative Dalby.
Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair, members of the committee. It’s my privilege today to present to you House Bill 1091. This is really a very simple bill. All it’s doing is defining that for purposes of employment that earning a high school diploma through a nationally recognized high school equivalency exam shall be treated as a high school diploma for employment purposes only. That’s all it’s doing. The law does not currently have that definition. That came to the attention of Senator Hickey and I. The law in the education code defines that for purposes of going to college, for purposes of getting a scholarship, even an Arkansas lottery scholarship, can all be done by this. So we’re just trying to make it clear in the law that if you have gotten out of school or you dropped out of school and you didn’t get your high school diploma, we’re trying to encourage folks to go back and do that to help them in their employment. Just as a little side note that I have learned since starting on this bill, there are 300,000 Arkansans without a high school diploma, 18% of the folks from 18 to 64, 18% of those do not have a high school diploma. We are hoping that this bill– Workforce Services is hoping that with this bill, we can encourage those people to get this and to move their selves forward. And that’s what it’s all about. And with that, I would be happy to answer any questions.
Rep Evans: Okay. Are there any questions by the committee? Seeing none, don’t believe we had anyone signed up in advance to speak for or against. However, is there anyone in the audience who would like to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none, have a motion do pass. What is the will the committee? All those in favor, say aye. Opposed, nay. Congratulations, you passed your bill.
Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members, committee. I have sweated. This is not a committee I go to, but I welcome you to Judiciary anytime. Thank you.
Rep Evans: Thank you, Representative Dalby. I will be coming over to Judiciary here in just a few minutes. Hopefully, your committee will treat me just as kind. No promises. Thank you. Next up, we’re going to go to House Bill 1112, Representative Warren.
Rep Warren: Thank you, Mr. Chair, committee members. Do you want me to proceed with my amendment first?
Rep Evans: Committee members, I believe there is an amendment that should be on your desk. No? Yes? No. It is coming around. It is coming around now. We’ll give you just– give you quickly just a few moments to look over the amendment.
Rep Warren: As you read this, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
Rep Brooks: Go ahead.
Rep Warren: As you read this, there are two parts to this amendment. One is to add a Senate sponsor. As I understand, our fellow legislators on the other end don’t want a bill coming down without a Senate sponsor. So I’ve done that. And then the other part of this is just to add clarity to a part of the bill that was pointed out to me that might be a little bit ambiguous.
Rep Brooks: There’s a motion to adopt the amendment. All in favor? All opposed? All right, your amendment has been adopted. Representative Warren, you’re recognized to present your bill.
Rep Warren: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill is going to be limited in scope and not affect most of you, but those in counties under a deseg order are impacted. And those counties, we do not have school choice as most of you know it. Both Bruce Cozart and I live in districts that are still restricted. With the advancement and I’m coupling this with the advancement of technology, it has become laser precise where district lines fall. Homeowners who bought in certain districts have found they are no longer in those districts even though they bought per the assessor’s records. The district lines now cut straight through their property. For those homeowners – and that was part of the amendment to clarify – whose principal residence or parcel lies within two or more districts, the children can go to whichever of those districts they choose regardless of where the house is situated. Right now, basically, if the school district line goes straight through a house, it is basically where the majority of the house sits as to where that child has to go to school. So, and I had a perfect situation, great family who bought a house. It’s always been classified in the Lakeside School District. And all of a sudden, their daughter’s senior year, they get their new real estate tax bill, and they’re in Hot Springs School District. And they’re like, what? The realtor sold us in Lakeside. The bills we’ve gotten, they’ve always been Lakeside. And they go, yeah, well, the technology is now so advanced. It wasn’t really in that district. So this just gives them the ability to choose which district they get to go to rather than having problems with having to switch at any point. So I would appreciate a good vote.
Rep Brooks: Thank you, Representative Warren. Are there any questions by the committee? We have a motion at the proper time. Is there anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the bill? There’s no one signed up. All right, we have a motion do pass as amended. What’s the will of committee? All in favor? All opposed? Congratulations, Representative Warren, you passed your bill.
Rep Warren: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, committee.
Rep Brooks: So are there any other questions, items on the agenda? We’re passing over Representative Rose’s bill as well, I believe. Seeing none, the committee is adjourned.