House Judiciary

January 26, 2023

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Rep Dalby: Members, let’s now come to order. House Judiciary is now called to order. Chair sees a quorum. Members, we have just a couple of bills today. And before I forget about it, let me go ahead and tell you the bill that I know for sure we’re going to be hearing on Tuesday will be House Bill 1004. It will be Tuesday, but you’ll get a text message from me on that. But the first bill we’re going to take up is going to be House Bill 1208 and I’m going to turn the chair over to Representative Berry

 

Rep S Berry: Thank you, Madam Chair. If you’ll take a seat at the end of the table. We all know who you are, but I ask that you identify yourself for the record. And you’re welcome to proceed with your bill. 

 

HB 1208 Closes loophole on driving permits for parolees

 

Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m Carol Dalby, State Representative for District 100. Members, you have on House Bill 1208– you do have a DFA Legislative Impact Statement that I think’s being passed out to you. And while that’s being passed out, I will give you a quick history of where we are on this bill. This is a bill that was passed into law in 2019, I believe, and Representative Collins was the sponsor of that bill. It passed overwhelmingly, still has great support. I am in support of the original bill. 

 

And what the original bill did was when an individual was paroled out of prison and they could get a temporary driver’s permit. Which is great, because we want folks to be able to go to work and that’s what the law says, We want you to be able to go to work. We want you to do all those things, get reintegrated back into society.  It’s an excellent bill.  All supportive, I was supportive in 2019, still supportive now. But here is a problem now that that bill has been in effect that we need to tighten up. Often times as you will learn if you are new in the legislature and those of us who have been around, you go to the grocery store and somebody stops you with an issue. 

 

I was in the grocery store and one of the state troopers in my area stopped me and said, I need to talk to you about this particular bill– or law, we’re having some issues with it. And I said, Well, tell me what’s going on. And he said, Well, I don’t have any problem. I think it’s great that they can get a driver’s permit and go to work, but here’s what we’re finding out on the interstate. He said, it just happened to me 10 minutes ago on I-49. I stopped someone for speeding, they handed me their driver’s license, it was a temporary permit and the permit didn’t– did not expire for 10 years. They were on parole for 10 years, so they were getting a– they’re giving our permits as the law says and there was no ending time. So, this person’s on parole for 10 years, they have a temporary driving permit for 10 years, or 20 years, or whatever the time was. That’s what their temporary permit is.

 

And he said the other thing is, the person never had a valid driver’s license to begin with. So, we’re handing out temporary driving permits for however long they’re on parole and maybe they never even had a driver’s license to begin with. So, I visited with him, he has seen this bill. I had BLR, always send it to him, we’re working on it. And all this bill does, you still get your temporary driver’s license because we still want you to go out there and we want you to get a job when you get out of prison. That’s what our goal is, but you get that temporary driver permit and then you have a year to go back and get your regular driver’s license, which I don’t think is unreasonable at all. 

 

Give them a year to go ahead and get that temporary driver’s license back to a regular driver’s license. And the other caveat in it is that you would have had to at least had a valid driver’s license at some point in your driving history to be eligible to get a temporary driving permit. And so, that is it very simply. You will see at the very end of the bill, section 3 part 2, that is not new language. That was language that was in the original bill, it’s just that BLR drops it down at the end of the bill like they had done previously. With that, I’ll be happy to answer any questions. We’re just trying to tighten it up so that we know they have a regular driver’s license.

 

Rep S Berry: Ms. Dalby, will you take questions from the Committee if we have any? 

 

Rep Dalby: Always. 

 

Rep S Berry: Ms. Crawford, you’re recognized. 

 

Rep Crawford: Thank you. Representative Dalby, my question that comes to mind, is there something that you’re aware of that maybe in their papers says they cannot be reinstated in a year?

 

Rep Dalby: I can’t imagine. I can’t even imagine under what scenario. And when you read the original bill, they can’t get a restricted or– I’m calling it temporary, but  a restricted permit if they had been convicted of something like a DWI or something like that. And that may be something that would restrict it. But I cannot think under what scenario their papers would say you can’t have a driving permit, unless it was a felony DWI hat possibly could fall under there, but otherwise, I cannot think of anything.

 

Ms. Crawford: Okay. All right. Thank you.

 

Rep S Berry: Are there any other questions of the Committee? Seeing none, no one is signed up to speak against or for the bill, Ms. Dalby would you like to close for your bill?

 

Rep Dalby: Yes, Mr. Chair, thank you very much. Members, I think that this still stays with the spirit. I visited with Representative Collins yesterday, since it was his original bill. It stays with the spirit. It encourages people. We want you out there. We want you working. We want you back in, but we also need to give our troopers some assurance that you don’t have a temporary license for 10 years. And with that, I’m closed and I would make a motion to do pass

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Rep S Berry: Okay. Any questions of the motion? If not, motion has been made to do pass. All those in favor of the motion say aye.Opposed? Motion do pass carries. And Ms. Dalby, you have, congratulations you have passed your bill. 

 

Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members of the committee.

 

Rep S Berry: You want the chair back? 

 

HB 1131 Placed on deferred list

 

Rep Dalby: All right. Members, we have one other bill that we had announced we were going to hear today. It’s going to be House Bill 1131. Representative Hawk, you’re recognized to go the table and identify yourself for the record. Members we do have a Legislative Impact Statement that’s going to be passed out on this bill. So, we’ll take just a moment and let that get passed out. All right. Members, we have that statement passed out. Representative Hawk, you’re recognized. 

 

Rep Hawk: Thank you, Madam Chair. This was something that meant a lot to people in my district, but, after talking with members as a committee coming into this, as well as some members and associations, I’ve asked that at this time that we pull this down and defer this so we can work on some of the language in the bill to make it an even better bill. I know that there are members in this committee that I respect highly and are in– they’re either lawyers or things of that nature. And I want to get with some of you to make this a better bill, so we can have a great bill in the state of Arkansas. 

 

Rep Dalby: Members, you have heard Representative Hawk request that this matter be placed on deferred. Is there any objection by the committee since we have it set for today? Any objection? Seeing no objection we’ll place your bill on deferred, and if you wish to bring it back up just contact me and let me know at that time. 

 

Rep Hawk: Thank you.

 

Rep Dalby: Members, I could probably run another bill, but I’m understanding my other bill may have some amendments to it, so I’m going to hold off on that. We have nothing else ready for today. We do have, well, I have another bill but it was filed on Wednesday, and I could run that. I just hate for us to come and do 10 minutes is what I hate. But I tell you what, I’ll give y’all a chance to go get some coffee and have a little break. 

 

But with that right now, all I know that we’re going to hear for sure is House Bill 1004. We will meet up again Tuesday at 10 AM in this room and watch for your text messages if we add something. I am anticipating I may very well add House Bill 1245, which is the new bill that I just dropped on Wednesday. So, I may put that one on. And then, if we have, if the Supreme Court gives me the amendments to 1144 I may run that one, but those are all. We could add that but we’ll see. Right now it’s going to be 1004 and I don’t see that we have any other business Thank you for coming and being here, and I appreciate you always working. Thank you. Have a great weekend.