February 27, 2023
Sen Stubblefield: Before we get started, the Chair would entertain a motion to deal with this — to deal with senators on Zoom. How do you want to proceed with this? Senator Rice.
Sen Rice: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will just give you my comments from past history. We had a colleague, and this is not one party, we’ve had, both parties had a colleague that we did a phone-in because of medical reasons at one time. We’ve had Zoom during COVID to allow. What I recognized in both of those times is there was lack of understanding on someone that’s not in the room. You do not see body language, you cannot see everybody in the room. You can only see what the camera’s on.
There are sometimes questions that are asked that might not need to be asked. There’s sometimes questions not asked that need to be asked, if I got that right, and vice versa. But while I try to be accommodating to everyone, I believe that we need to be present. If we can’t, we may not need to meet. If we have five votes for something, that constitutes, and one even five to be a quorum, but five votes for takes it — to me takes it off the table.
If we don’t have five votes for, I’m fine with not calling a bill. But we all have a job, we’re meeting today as a senate. And I think you need to be present, I’m not for going back to Zooming again or doing a remote call.
Sen Stubblefield: Are you proposing a motion?
Sen Rice: I make a motion that we need to be present in Committee to vote.
Sen Stubblefield: For your vote to be counted. Okay. Any discussion on that motion? We have a second? Have a motion to second to make sure you have to be present in the Committee for your vote to be counted. All those if favor say, aye. All opposed? All right, settles that. First bill to be heard is, I think Senator Murdock? We’ll go ahead and let you present.
Sen Murdock: Thank you.
Sen Stubblefield: House Bill 1165.
Sen Murdock: Thank you, Chair, Colleagues. This is a little clean-up bill from my district. What it is, is we have a city that’s in the rotation to the Administrative Courts. And the District Court asked us to get this off the rotation, Jennette, because it’s a dormant. It’s been dormant for 15 years, but it’s still in the rotation. So, it’s just a matter of getting them off the rotation, so we don’t have to, the district judge don’t have to go through that problem every months.
Sen Stubblefield: So, there’s been no one there for 15 years?
Sen Murdock: It’s what I’m told, it’s dormant for 15 years. It needs to be taken off the rotation. This is a request from the Administrative Courts.
Sen Stubblefield: Yeah. Are you finished with?
Sen Murdock: Yeah.
Sen Stubblefield: All right. Any questions from the members?
Speaker 1: So, you said this is coming from AOC?
Sen Murdock: Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1: Okay. Do we have anybody from AOC in the room? I don’t see anybody?
Sen Stubblefield: Anyone from the Office of the Courts here?
Speaker 1: Okay, that’s all I had.
Sen Stubblefield: Any other discussion? All right. Seeing one else has a question — Senator Tucker, you’re recognized for a question.
Sen Tucker: No question.
Sen Stubblefield: Oh, you have a motion do pass. We have a motion do pass on the floor. Any discussion? All those in favor say, aye. All opposed? Your bill passes, Senator Murdock.
Sen Murdock: Thank you.
Sen Stubblefield: Who else? Senator Boyd, you have a bill?
Sen Boyd: Yes, sir. Senate Bill 100?
Sen Boyd: Yes, sir.
Sen Stubblefield: All right, you’re recognized to go ahead and present that bill.
Sen Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So, in 2021, we passed legislation that allowed for sobering centers. And so, the reason we did that is in Sebastian County we had about a 75% recidivism rate at that time on people who — for public intoxication. So, with that said is clearly, jail alone is not working. So, that’s in place, Sebastian County now has that funded, they will be opening the doors very soon to the sobering center. And so, but what they found is most people don’t just have alcohol, they also have other intoxicating substances and this would make it clear that it’s still okay to transport those patients. And they would be transported, if you go back and follow the whole statute, that law enforcement is the ones in charge with doing that. I’ve visited extensively with my sheriff. He was here last time, he would be here today except for the weather. So, with that said, if you have any questions I’m happy to try to answer them.
Sen Stubblefield: All right.
Sen Hester: I’ve got a question.
Sen Stubblefield: Senator Hester, you’re recognized.
Sen Hester: Yeah. I think this is a, clearly a really great thing that we should be doing. Who pays for these sobering centers?
Sen Boyd: Right now they’re funded locally, and so that’s why it took us a little time in Sebastian County to get it done, but in this particular case ARPA funds will be used for the time being.
Sen Hester: Yeah. No, I mean, I like this a lot. We’re looking at solutions for our county jail overcrowding and if maybe we had these, used some ARPA funds for this in other places. So, clearly discretionary transport makes a lot of sense.
Sen Boyd: So, you might notice there is another line in there. So, like if in the future there’s an opportunity to bill for the service that’s what that — So, there’s two things, one, clarifying intoxicating substances, and then, another one that might clarify if it becomes a billable service at some point in the future.
Sen Stubblefield: All right. Any other members have questions? All right, we have a motion from Senator Rice. Would anybody in here like to speak for or against this bill? None. Senator Rice has a motion.
Sen Rice: Do pass.
Sen Stubblefield: Do pass motion. We have a second. Any discussion? All those in favor say, aye. All opposed? The bill passes. Congratulations, Senator Boyd.
Sen Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Sen Stubblefield: Anyone else have a bill? You have a bill, Senator Hester?
Sen Hester: No. Yeah, Public Health just ended (inaudible).
Sen Stubblefield: You’re not prepared to –?
Sen Hester: Do what?
Sen Stubblefield: — Do you have a bill?
Sen Hester: I don’t have a bill. Senator Irvin has a bill. It’s a Public Health incentive.
Sen Stubblefield: Is Senator Irvin here today? Because she had texted me yesterday and said that she wouldn’t be here this morning.
Sen Hester: She was chairing the Public Health [inaudible], yeah.
Sen Stubblefield: Okay.
Sen Hester: Which I think just adjourned.
Sen Stubblefield: You want to text her and see if she wants come down and run it?
Sen Hester: I just did and haven’t gotten a response.
Sen Stubblefield: Okay. All right, we’ll wait just a few minutes.
BLR Staff: You want to take a 10 minute recess or are you just going to wait?
Sen Stubblefield: Yeah. Tell you what, we’ll just take a 10 minute recess and wait to see if anyone else shows up.
Sen Hester: I like that. Since we’re her see if something [inaudible].
Sen Stubblefield: We’re adjourned.