House Agriculture

Feb. 22, 2023


Rep Fortner: All right. Thank you all for being here this morning. There’s lots of excitement in the Capitol, and I appreciate you being here with us. I especially want to recognize this wonderful group of young people over here from UCA and Conway. These are all potential journalists. So you want to be nice to them, especially those of you sitting at the table, because a journalist can make or break you. That’d be Jack Fortner, nicest guy on the face of the earth. All right. We’re going to go ahead and start this morning. I don’t see, well, I guess we won’t start with that resolution because he’s not here. Oh, I’m sorry. He is back there. Chairman will recognize you to present your resolution. 


Rep Beck: I’m not feeling the love. 


Rep Fortner: Identify yourself for the record and present. 


Rep Beck: Rick Beck, State Rep District 43. And thank you, Mr. Chair, for allowing me to pull this out of order. Anyway, so we’re going to talk about, by the way, the ones over there. I love journalism so just remember that. All right. So this is basically to recognize 100 years of Arkansas State Parks and to proclaim this year, 2023, as the Arkansas State Park Centennial Year. As legislators, you guys know what an asset these state parks are to us. Not only just giving Arkansans a great place for recreation but also tourism in Arkansas is, I think we can attribute a lot of that to our state parks and our great lakes. You might ask why they chose me to do this. Petit Jean State Park was one of the first state parks, was the first state park in Arkansas, and it is in my district. And so Senator Rice and I – which it’s also in his Senate district – have put this together to recognize this. I’m not going to go through a lot of details, I know you guys have a busy schedule today. But it’s worth noting that our state parks, Mount Nebo, Petit Jean Mountain I’ve already mentioned, Crowley Ridge, Devils Den, Lake Catherine, all those. What an asset those are and what a great opportunity it is for us to be able to recognize 100 years with them. So with that I almost said motion do pass. But I’ll stop on that one. But I’ll take any questions that you guys have. 


Rep Fortner: Members, do you have any questions? Representative Vaught? Okay, a motion at the proper time. Are there any questions? I have a motion do pass. All in favor? Opposed? Congratulations, your resolution has passed. 


Rep Beck: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, Committee. 


Rep Fortner: Okay. The next one we’re going to hear, we’re going to hear a, we’re going to concur with a Senate amendment. Representative Vaught, would you go to the end of the table? 


Rep Vaught: Thank you, Mr. Chair. When we were in the Senate, we decided to take out things that were bothering others. Such as all the prescriptive authority now is out of the bill. And there was a piece that I think was caught in here, actually, that it looked as though they could be compensated. We took that part out also. And that’s really what we did on the other end. Oh, I took out major abdominal surgery and just did– it’s a minor surgery now that they might could do like an abscess, they could open up an abscess. There is in the bill, there was two places, which I’ve already discussed with well over the majority of y’all. That actually was missed that after it becomes an act, I will come back and fix those two places and make sure that everybody understands that there’s no prescriptive authority and that there’s no way that they can be compensated. And that’s what the amendment does. 


Rep Fortner: And for clarity, Representative Vaught, this is House Bill 1182 that we’re amending, correct? 


Rep Vaught: Yes, sir.  


Rep Fortner: Okay. Members, are there any questions? Is there anybody from the audience that would like to speak? Oh, Representative Beaty, I’m sorry. Okay. All right, we have a motion do pass. If there’s no more discussion. All in favor? Opposed? Your amendment has passed.  


Rep Vaught: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, Committee. 


Rep Fortner: All right. Let’s see. Next, we’re going to skip HB1453 is on your agenda, but that is not– Representative Vaught has pulled that down. I think we’ll do Senate Bill 209. Representative Hawk, are you going to present that, would you? Identify yourself for the record and you’re authorized to present. 


Rep Hawk: Representative RJ Hawk, District 81. Thank you, Mr. Chair and Committee members. This is Senate Bill 209. It’s an act to amend the law regarding liquefied petroleum gas. What this bill does, if the balance of the liquefied petroleum gas fund exceeds $500,000, the gas board shall have the discretion to dispense all the inspections and registration fees moving forward. This bill was brought to us by the Department of Energy, and if the Committee has any questions, I’d like to bring up Secretary Khoury from the Department of Energy. 


Rep Fortner: Mr. Khoury, if you would sit at the table and identify yourself for the record? 


Khoury: Thank you. Good morning. Shane Khoury, Secretary of the Department of Energy and Environment. 


Rep Fortner: Okay, members, does anyone have any questions for either of the men? You’re making this awful easy. 


Khoury: We tried. 


Rep Hawk: Well, I mean, I thought. I just wanted him to get some face time. That’s all it was. 


Rep Fortner: All right. Uh-oh, I see a microphone going down. Two of them. 


Rep Hawk: Yeah, just I figured Beaty would do something. 


Rep Fortner: Representative Breaux, you’re recognized for a question. 


Rep Breaux: Tell me what will this– 


Rep Fortner: If you’ll get up close to your microphone we could all hear. 


Rep Breaux: What would this bill do once it’s passed? 


Rep Hawk: Sure. So the current legislation allows the board to actually waive these fees. But the way the current legislation is written is if they vote to do it, they cannot undo that vote until the threshold balance falls beneath $500,000. So this came to us from the LP Gas Board, Director Pfalser. And basically, it was they’ve had a request from the association to be able to do that. They’ve been hesitant to do that because once you vote to do it under the current law, you can’t undo it. So this would allow the board to do it on a fiscal year basis, each fiscal year, to have that authority to waive those fees if they so choose. 


Rep Breaux: Okay. 


Rep Fortner: Representative Beaty, did you have a question? (inaudible) Okay. Is there any other questions? Anybody have a question? There’s no one signed up to speak for or against it. So are you ready to close? 


Rep Hawk: I’m closed. I’d appreciate a good vote. Do pass. 


Rep Fortner: Okay. We have a do pass. All in favor? Any opposed? Congratulations, your bill is passed. Okay. Now we have Senate Bill 246. Is Senator Stone here to present his bill or a Representative? Okay, seeing none. We’ll pass over that and we’ll bring that back next week. Seeing nothing else before the Committee. I guess we’ll call this one done.