Feb. 7, 2023
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- SB 57 Allows Medical Board to lower fees (passed)
- SB 59 Allows school employees to defend themselves with force (passed)
- SB 115 Opens up some benefits to survivors of ATRS participants (passed)
- SB 118 Defines Anti-Semitism in Arkansas code (passed)
- SB 138 Cleans up abortion language in Arkansas code (passed)
- HB 1004 Adds physical addresses to Sex Offender Registry (passed)
- HB 1150 Gives more time to register vehicles in Arkansas (passed)
- HB 1178 Reduces training hour requirement for community paramedics (passed)
- HB 1208 Fixes issues with temporary driving permits for parolees (pulled down)
- HB 1245 Creates study of court system funding and collections (passed)
Lt Gov Rutledge The Senate will be called to order. Are there any requests for leave at this time? Senator Clark, you’re recognized. Any other requests? Madam Secretary, please call the roll. [roll call] Thank you, Madam Secretary. And if everyone in the chamber and in the gallery would please rise for a prayer led by a friend of Senator Petty, who he will introduce, and then we will follow that with the Pledge of Allegiance. Senator Petty, you’re recognized.
Sen Petty Thank you, Madam President. So God’s word says a man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And I have the honor today to introduce who I consider my brother in Christ and my best friend, Pastor Pepper Moreland. And yes, that’s his real name from his parents, who had a long military history and career and then left that and came into the ministry and has taught as a pastor, the children, the youth, the middle school, the High School, and now he’s the operations and outreach pastor at First Baptist Church in Van Buren. He’s a dear friend of mine. And just like many of you know, behind every good man is an even better woman. And his wife is my prayer warrior. She, if you have something to be prayed for, she’s the one. She may should have been here praying today, as a matter of fact. But anyway, it’s my honor to introduce my friend, Pepper Moreland, to lead us in prayer.
[prayer and Pledge]
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you so much, Pastor Moreland, for being with us today. And Pastor Moreland, I want to note what an awesome name that is because I thought only NASCAR drivers and cowboys and bull riders were given a great name like that. Absolutely. Well. Well, thank you for being here. We’re blessed in your presence. Ladies and gentlemen in the gallery, welcome to your Arkansas State Senate. It’s our expectation that you will conduct yourselves and exercise proper decorum during today’s proceedings. Without objection, the rules will be suspended and the Senate will dispense with the reading of the Journal. Morning hour has now begun. Any announcements or introductions at this time? Senator Hammer, you’re recognized.
Sen Hammer Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like to ask you to recognize my county judge, newly elected, Matt Brumley, who is up in the gallery. I want to just say thank you for him being here today to represent one of the 75 counties in the state. If you would, please make Matt Bromley feel welcome. Thank you.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Blake Johnson, you’re recognized.
Sen B Johnson Likewise, I have up in the VIP gallery, it is Judge Rusty McMillen from Greene County. He heard there is going to be a lot of rain, so he got he got out of town before the rains tonight and tomorrow. Good to have you here today, Rusty. Please give him a hand.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Clarke Tucker.
Sen Tucker Thank you, Madam President. As always, we want to welcome our nurse of the day, Ms. Sherry Bernard. Our doctor of the day today is Dr. James Hunt. He works in anesthesiology here in Little Rock. In addition to just being a standard anesthesiologist, which of course is wonderful work, he works specifically at Children’s for his specialty, special needs kids and high needs cases. So he’s doing the Lord’s work. So we’re very grateful to you, Dr. Hunt, for the work that you do. And we welcome you here today to the Arkansas State Senate.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other announcements? Madam Secretary, are there items at the desk?
Secretary Yes, Madam President. Madam President, we your Committee on Enrolled Bills to whom was referred the following: Senate Bill 47 by Senator Boyd, Senate Bill 48 by Senator Mark Johnson, Senate Bill 68 by Senator Dotson, and Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 by Senator Penzo beg leave to report that we have carefully compared the enrolled copies with the original and we find the same correctly enrolled and have at 10:07 a.m. delivered them to the governor for your approval. Respectfully submitted, Senator Mark Johnson, Chairman.
Lt Gov Rutledge File it.
Secretary Notice of the passage of Senate Bill 43 as amended number 1 and number 2 by the House.
Lt Gov Rutledge City, County, Local.
Secretary Madam President, we your committee on Engrossed Bills to whom was referred Senate Bill 5 by Senator Hill report that we have carefully compared the engrossed copy with the original and we find the same correctly engrossed.
Lt Gov Rutledge Agri.
Secretary We your committee on Agri to whom was referred Senate Bill 191 by Senator Wallace recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on City County Local Affairs to whom was referred Senate Bill 72 by Senator Hickey recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on Insurance and Commerce to whom was referred Senate Bill 192 by Senator Boyd recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on Insurance and Commerce to whom was referred House Bill 1042 by Representative Allen recommended pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on Joint Budget who was referred Senate Bill 25 by Joint Budget recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on Joint Budget to whom was referred Senate Bill 27 by Joint Budget recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on Joint Budget to whom was referred Senate Bill 65 by Joint Budget recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on Joint Budget to whom was referred Senate Bill 84 by Joint Budget recommend do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary We your Committee on State Agencies to whom was referred House Bill 1164 by Representative Bentley recommended do pass.
Lt Gov Rutledge Calendar.
Secretary Senate Bill 207 by Senator Blake Johnson to modify the Arkansas Corporate Franchise Tax Act of 1979. Senate Bill 207.
Lt Gov Rutledge Revenue and Tax.
Secretary Senate Bill 208 by Senator Blake Johnson, an act for the Secretary of State Appropriation for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Senate Bill 208.
Lt Gov Rutledge Joint Budget.
Secretary Senate Bill 209 by Senator Irvin to amend the law regarding liquefied petroleum gas and to amend the law regarding the discretionary suspension of inspection and registration fees. Senate Bill 209.
Lt Gov Rutledge Agriculture.
Secretary Senate Bill 210 by Senator Irvin to amend the underground storage of gas law to include certain other gasses. Senate Bill 210.
Lt Gov Rutledge Agriculture.
Secretary Senate Bill 211 by Senator Irvin to amend the law concerning carrying a concealed handgun on property of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Senate Bill 211.
Lt Gov Rutledge City County Local.
Secretary Senate Bill 212 by Senator Irvin to remove the requirement for notarization for requests for criminal background checks that are required for the licensing of child welfare agencies and to declare an emergency. Senate Bill 212.
Lt Gov Rutledge Public Health.
Secretary Senate Bill 213 by Senator Irvin to expand the availability of screened out reports of adult maltreatment or long term care facility resident maltreatment. Senate Bill 213.
Lt Gov Rutledge Public Health. Is there any further business to come before the body in the morning hour? If not, morning hour has expired. We will now start the business agenda. Madam Secretary, Senate Resolution 5.
Secretary Senate Resolution 5 by Senator Chesterfield, to recognize the Park View Arts Science Magnet High School Patriots as the Class 5A state football champions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Chesterfield, you’re recognized.
Sen Chesterfield Thank you, Madam Chair, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate. Please welcome the Park View Patriots to the Arkansas State Senate. I am going to ask that the members of the Pulaski County delegation join me on the floor. Yes, ma’am. You want to join me, too, Senator? I can’t do that. I’m sorry, Madam Chair. She has a point of personal–
Lt Gov Rutledge That’s fine. Senator Flowers, you’re recognized.
Sen Flowers I just to– I don’t want to burst your bubble, Senator Chesterfield, but [inaudible] was my page.
Sen Chesterfield That just makes my bubble bigger.
Lt Gov Rutledge He’s a Pine Bluff High School Zebra. [inaudible] championship. I think they lost to El Dorado. He was the quarterback and he did a great job. And I’m glad to see him here with his Park View team.
Sen Chesterfield Wonderful. Give him a hand. Senator Flowers, would you care to join us at the floor? Thank you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, on both ends, you see these handsome gentlemen and these ladies that are with them. This is the Park View Patriot football team. On the floor with us today are the seniors representing them. Because the delegation was so large, we couldn’t have gotten them in here. Senate Resolution SR 5 to recognize the Park View Art Science Magnet High School Patriots as the Class 5A state football champions. whereas the Park View Art Science Magnet High School Patriots were victorious against the Shiloh Christian Saints to take the Class 5A state football title with a score of 31-21 before a crowd of 7,864 fans at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Saturday, December 3, 2022. And whereas, this football championship is the first the Park View Art Science Magnet High School since 1978, and the first for the Little Rock School District since 2004. And whereas, the Patriots were led by head coach Brad Bolding. Coach, where are you? All right, he’s right behind me. There’s our coach. And the other coaches are here, too. We’ll get to introduce you. Brad Bolding and his team of assistant coaches who provided guidance and coaching to the student athletes on and off the field. And whereas the team was led by quarterback Eric McGee, who was named the game’s most valuable player. Is Mr. McGee here? All right, Mr. McGee. Running back Darian Bennett. Where’s Mr. Bennett? He’s not here. And defensive back Ramsey Cummings. Ramsey. Ramsey led the Patriots defense with 11 tackles. And whereas, the Patriots were also successful off the field and the team averaged a 3.0 grade point average. And whereas, Coach Bolden stated of his team, They don’t have the quit mentality and it has to do with how we structure our practices and what we demand out of them. They bought in and I can speak highly of that. Now therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the 94th General Assembly of the State of Arkansas that the Senate congratulate and recognize the Park View Art Science Magnet High School Patriots football team as the class 5A state champions. Be it further resolved that upon adoption of this resolution, a copy be provided to coach Brad Bolding by the Secretary of the Senate. Madam Chair, I move adoption.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator Chesterfield. All those in favor of recognizing this incredible young athletes for their accomplishment signify by saying aye. Any dare oppose?
Sen Chesterfield Thank you, Madam Chair. And I would move for a three minute recess for the purpose of taking pictures.
Lt Gov Rutledge So moved.
Sen Chesterfield Thank you. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen? Again, say congratulations to these wonderful people.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Hester has an announcement.
Sen Hester Hey, members, we’re not gaveled in, but we got our Senate pins in, so I’m going to walk around and hand– if you’ll take your seat, I’ll walk around and hand these to you so I’ll make sure I got everybody covered without giving anybody two, Senator Bryant. We good? if you’ll take your seat real quick, I’ll walk through real quick.
Lt Gov Rutledge The Senate is now back in order. Madam Secretary. SB 57.
SB 57 Allows Medical Board to lower fees
Secretary Senate Bill 57 by Senator Irvin to modify the fees charged by the Arkansas State Medical Board and to authorize the Arkansas State Medical Board to reduce fees if the fee reduction is in the best interest of the state.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Irvin, you’re recognized.
Sen Irvin Thank you, members. This bill allows the Arkansas State Medical Board to reduce their fees. They have plenty of money and they want to act to reduce our fees. But we need this legislation to allow them to do that. It’s been amended to where they can’t exceed the amount that’s in legislation. And that’s really the the overall gist of the bill. I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Anyone have questions for Senator Irvin? Seeing none, does anyone wish to speak for or against? Senator, do you wish to close?
Sen Irvin I appreciate the state medical board taking this action and I appreciate a good vote.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank, Senator. Is there any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Is there anyone who wishes to change their vote at this time? Seeing none, please cast up the ballot. By a vote of 35 yea, 0 nay, the bill passes. Transmit to the House. SB 59.
SB 59 Allows school employees to defend themselves with force
Secretary Senate Bill 59 by Senator Chesterfield to amend the law with respect to circumstances that justify the use of physical force upon another person.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Chesterfield, you’re recognized.
Sen Chesterfield Thank you, Madam Chair. Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, Senate 59 came to me as a result of one of my church members who was a classified employee who was attacked by a child and she did not fight back. So she ended up having to go to the hospital. I don’t want anybody to think that there is open season on children because that’s not what this bill does. What it says simply is if a child attacks you, you have the right to self-defense. And we wanted to clarify it to let people know that it’s not just our teachers, but our support staff. If a person is driving a bus and they’re attacked from behind, they have the right to defend themselves, not to the point of just going crazy, but to be safe in our public schools. I’d be happy to take any questions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any questions for Senator Chesterfield? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator?
Sen Chesterfield I’m closed for my bill. Thank you. I’d appreciate a good vote.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator. Any objection to rolling the vote? Seeing none, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Any Senator wish to change his or her vote? Senator Flowers wishes to vote present. Any others? Seeing none, please cast up the ballot.
By a vote of 34 yea, 0 nay and 1 present, the bill passes. [Present: Flowers]
Transmit to the House. SB 115.
SB 115 Opens up some benefits to survivors of ATRS participants
Secretary Senate Bill 115 by Senator Hammer, to amend and update the law concerning survivor annuity benefits under the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System and to declare an emergency.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Hammer, you’re recognized.
Sen Hammer Thank you, Madam Governor. The bill simply does this, based on previous experiences where there has been an opportunity for the retirement system to help the survivors of those that have passed away, especially children, what this bill does is it opens it up to where they would be able to access some additional benefits. It has just nearly no financial impact at all, but it has a big impact on the lives of children who one of their parents has passed away, opens it up to where it would allow them to be able to get access to a career tech education, for example. Also, it benefits the military, survivors of the military. Again, it came through Retirement Committee without any opposition, and it is based on actual experiences that have happened where they wanted to be able to help, but they haven’t been able to. And again, it has minimal financial impact and the system is okay with this bill. Glad to answer any questions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thanks, Senator Hammer. Does anyone have any questions? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator, you are free to close.
Sen Hammer Thank you. I’d appreciate a good vote.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any objection to rolling the vote? And keep in mind that we are voting on the bill and the emergency clause. It will require 24 votes. Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Anyone wish to change his or her vote? Please cast up the ballot. By a vote of 35 yea, 0 nay, the bill with emergency clause passes. Please transmit to the House. SB 118.
SB 118 Defines Anti-Semitism in Arkansas code
Secretary Senate Bill 118 by Senator Dotson et al to define the term antisemitism when reviewing, investigating or determining whether there has been a violation of law or policy prohibiting discriminatory acts or practices based on race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Dotson, you’re recognized.
Sen Dotson Thank you, Madam Chair. Members, Senate Bill 118, like the title says, is defining the term anti-Semitism in Arkansas code. This will provide state officials with an objective definition of contemporary anti-Semitism needed to ensure proper assessment of criminal and discriminatory incidents motivated by anti-Semitism. That’s pretty much it. I’m more than happy to try to answer any questions if you’ve got any. I think we’ve talked about it. I’ve tried to talk to you about it with most of you guys and several of you have signed on as co-sponsors. So seeing no questions, appreciate a good vote.
Lt Gov Rutledge Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator has closed. Any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Any senators wish to change his or her vote? Seeing none, please cast up the ballot. By a vote of 35 yea, 0 nay, the bill passes. Please transmit to the House. Next SB 138.
SB 138 Cleans up abortion language in Arkansas code
Secretary Senate Bill 138 by Senator Irvin to repeal the licensing requirement of clinics and health centers in which a pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant is willfully terminated or aborted.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Irvin, you’re recognized.
Sen Irvin Thank you, members. Members, what this bill actually does is just really a technical issue. The executive branch and the Health Department, we worked together on this piece of legislation. As you know, the attorney for the Health Department has spent years of litigation involving abortion laws on our books and defending our state. I know that our former attorney general has also been very much a part of this. What this bill does is the cleanest way to basically rectify a conflict in state code and state statute. So the state of Arkansas, through the Health Department, cannot issue a license to entities that are performing illegal activities. And as you know, abortion is illegal in the state of Arkansas, according to Act 309 of 2021 and the order that former Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed. And I was able to be there that day. So this is the cleanest language and the cleanest way that we can rectify the situation in state code is by striking this language out. I will say that we’ve looked at all different options. We’ve looked at different types of recommendations. But we feel confident that this is the cleanest way to deal with this situation. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. One question that came up in committee, I think, was a good one by Representative Love is that if hypothetically the courts ever did overturn our laws, then hypothetically, you know, that could happen. But then we would have to come back in as a state or through executive order and issue a license. I think everybody on both sides of the issue, whether you’re for abortion or against abortion, everybody would want an entity to be licensed. All the reporting requirements that we’ve put into the legislation stays in state code. So all of those reporting requirements stay in there. But we have made a decision to be clean about the way that we went to do this act and striking this language instead of dealing with hypotheticals and hypothetical decisions that we would then potentially have to react to. I’d be happy to answer any questions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any questions for the Senator? Senator Dees, you’re recognized. Please stand up. Thank you, sir.
Sen Dees Senator, thank you for this. This, in your opinion, would you say that this is one of the best clean up bills you’ve ever seen?
Sen Irvin Yes, I would personally. Yes. Thank you.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other questions for Senator Irvin? Anyone wish to speak against? Anyone wish to speak for? Senator, you’re free to close.
Sen Irvin Thank you. I appreciate my colleagues and I appreciate a good vote on the bill. Thank you.
Lt Gov Rutledge Is there any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please call the roll. [Roll call] Are there are any senators who wish to vote or who wish to change their vote at this time? Dismang votes yes. Are there any others? Seeing no others wish to change or vote, please cast up the ballot.
By a vote of 29 yea, 4 nay, and 2 present, the bill passes. [No: Chesterfield, Leding, Love, Tucker; Present: Flowers, Murdock]
Please transmit to the House. Madam Secretary, HB 1004.
HB 1004 Adds physical addresses to Sex Offender Registry
Secretary House Bill 1004 by Representative Ray et al to amend the Sex Offender Registration Act of 1997 to include disclosure of a sex offender’s address to the public and to declare an emergency.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Mark Johnson, you’re recognized.
Sen M Johnson Thank you, Madam President. House Bill 1004 is a bill that Representative Ray and I brought after our sheriff in Faulkner County, Tim Ryals, brought this issue to our attention. He found that the Arkansas law prohibited his website for the sheriff’s office to disclose the name– the address, physical address of the registered sex offenders that are deemed to be disclosed under the law. As a matter of fact, after checking it and with help from the Association of Counties, we found that the Arkansas is one of only three states and the District of Columbia that does this. Only one state, Vermont, publishes less information than we do. So the situation came about, parents were contacting the sheriff saying we use this to figure out where we’re not going to let our children trick or treat. And they found that when you are only identifying an address by block number, the block number could be an apartment building with 200 or 300 units. It’s not very instructive.
The sex offender registry, as you all probably know, is something that we, the state, are required to have under federal law. And we’re trying to make this as simple as possible. The bill simply changes it to where the sex offender’s name and address and all the things that are already required under the law, instead of it being the block number, it will say the house number, apartment or unit number where the sex offender– I’m sorry– resides. Now, this is limited to level what we will call the high level 2s, the level 3 and the level 4. These are the the more dangerous sex offenders.
The bill also– make sure I cover this– I want everybody to understand kind of statistically where Arkansas is on this problem. Number one, Arkansas ranks number one in the nation for the number of child sex abuse cases per 100,000 children. That’s 254 per 100,000. The national average is 79 cases per 100,000. So we are triple the national average. Also, we’re second in the nation for the most rapes per 100,000 people, 74 per 100,000, which is more than double the national rate of 38. And the next number, we’re only third in the nation for the number of sex offenders per 100,000 residents at 596. Now, one of the things we’ve learned as we studied this a little bit more is because we have this lesser threshold by allowing the address of the sex offender to be listed just by block number, we seem to have a problem of in-migration of registered sex offenders.
And if you’ll think about it, in the committee there was discussion of different science and statistics, but those of you that understand hydraulics know that water seeks the lowest level. So if we have a looser law than Missouri, where we seem to get some of this migration into Arkansas, then that water, those people, will seek the area to reside that has the least restrictive law. Not that ours is not restrictive, it’s just not as restrictive as our neighbors. And the only other places where the law is done this way is Vermont and Washington State and Maine. So that is what the bill does. It simply says instead of in the registration that person resides in the 200 block of Oak Street, it will say 209 Oak Street, Apartment B or whatever. That is the only change from current law into this law. I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator. Questions for Senator Johnson? Senator Love, you’re recognized. Please rise.
Sen Love Thank you, President. When I look at this law, I’m trying to decipher. Currently, when sex offenders do register, they register and they’re not registering their address.
Sen M Johnson This has to do, senator, what is disclosed on the registry that the public can access online. I’m sure the other officials, including the Department of Correction here, have that exact information. But as far as what’s available to the general public, in the case of a parent that just wants to know what houses to avoid in a neighborhood that kids might be trick or treating or walking or something, this is not currently under Arkansas law allowed on that. As a matter of fact, the sheriff brought to our attention that he thought that several sheriffs around the state were going ahead and publishing the entire address. But technically, that’s illegal under current law. We want to do this to tighten it up to where we have the same process that our neighboring states do, as well as additional layer protection for our children. So, yes, they do disclose that to the authorities, but it’s not published in the record that can be accessed by the general public. And that’s what we want to fix.
Sen Love Okay. You say all but how many states do it like we’re doing currently?
Sen M Johnson Arkansas is one of three states plus the District of Columbia that has the less restrictive thing, or maybe I should say, the lesser amount of specificity about the address. The other 47 states do it the way we will be doing it if we pass this bill.
Sen Love Okay. All right. Thank you.
Sen M Johnson Thank you, Senator.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other questions for Senator Mark Johnson? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator Mark Johnson, you’re free to close.
Sen M Johnson Thank you, Madam President. This is a good bill that adds one more layer to protect our children and other women and others as well. Appreciate a good vote. Thank you.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator. And we will be voting on the bill and the included emergency clause, which will take 24. Is there any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Are there any senators who wish to change your vote? Seeing none, please Cast up the ballot.
By a vote of 35 yea and 0 nay, the bill passes.
Please return to the House. HB 1150. Senator Blake Johnson. Just one moment, Senator Johnson. Senator Gilmore, you’re recognized for an inquiry or an announcement?
Sen Gilmore Thank you, Madam Chair. Point of personal privilege. I have a constituent who’s also the Superintendent of White Hall Schools with me here today. So I’d ask leave.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator Gilmore. And for clarification, the emergency clause was also adopted on that last vote. Senator Blake Johnson, you’re recognized after the Secretary reads SB 1150.
HB 1150 Gives more time to register vehicles in Arkansas
Secretary House Bill 1150 by Representative Cavenaugh to amend the law to expand the time period authorized for the registration of a motor vehicle and to amend the law concerning temporary preprinted paper buyers tags.
Sen B Johnson Members, This bill does exactly what the title says. It extends your registration period an additional 30 days so the lien and title process can get through. And then it also, the paper tags, it either extends it to, instead of the 13th day, the 16th day or when registered. So that’s what the bill does.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any questions? Senator Clark, you’re recognized.
Sen Clark Senator Johnson, I appreciate you bringing this bill and I appreciate the recognizing that extra time is needed. I don’t speak just for myself, but for many constituents and other Arkansans when I say I’d like to go right to the courthouse and register my vehicle. I don’t like driving around with temporary tags and I don’t like getting penalized, but it’s like it’s giving me more time and it’s not. We need to acknowledge where the problem is. I feel like it’s giving me more time when I’m sitting waiting for the state of Arkansas to get the dealer the title so that they can get the title to me. And then I get penalized because it’s late. Do you think that they’re not just going to get further behind and still have us at the last second to go register our vehicles at 60 days?
Sen B Johnson They definitely had issues over the Covid period and hopefully those are getting better and the time will be reduced. But that has been a problem out to approximately 45 days.
Sen Clark So I appreciate you bringing the bill. I just want to recognize that the state’s the problem, not the citizens..
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other questions for Senator Blake Johnson? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator Blake Johnson, you’re recognized to close.
Sen B Johnson Appreciate a good vote.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator. Any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call]Are there any members who wish to change your vote? Seeing none, please cast up the ballot.
By a vote of 35 yea, zero nay, the bill passes. Please return to the House. HB 1178.
HB 1178 Reduces training hour requirement for community paramedics
Secretary House Bill 1178 by Representative Lee johnson to reduce the hours of training required for licensure of a community paramedic.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Boyd, you’re recognized.
Sen Boyd Thank you, Madam President, and members of the Senate. This bill does two things. First of all, it helps bring the training in line with other states on community paramedics. And just a reminder, community paramedics are people that are paramedics who already have paramedic training, and then they’re going on to be community paramedics. A community paramedic is someone who tends to work to help people get primary care. They might go into their homes and things like that. So this lowers that to 160 hours. And when it was first done, they thought they might need more. But it turns out 160 is what we believe to be the right number of hours. The second thing is it strikes emergency department services on their training and it talks about social determinants of health. Those are things affecting where you live, work or play. Any questions?
Lt Gov Rutledge Any questions for Senator Boyd? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator Boyd, you’re welcome to close.
Sen Boyd I appreciate a good vote. Thank you.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Are there any Senators who wish to change your vote? Senator Flowers, you’re recognized. Senator Flowers voting present. Any others? Seeing none, please cast up the ballot.
By a vote of 34 yea, 0 nay and 1 present, the bill passes. [Present: Flowers]
Please return to the House. HB 1208.
HB 1208 Fixes issues with temporary driving permits for parolees
Secretary House Bill 1208 by Representative Dalby to amend the law concerning probationer and parolee restricted driving permits.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Hickey, you’re recognized.
Sen Hickey Thank you, Madam Governor. Members, this is a good bill. However, this was some of those unintended consequences that we didn’t follow. What we do is we allow probationers and parolees to have a permit. However, what we did not do whenever we did it is if they had a suspended driver’s license that– excuse me, if they didn’t have any driver’s license, we were still giving them a permit. And then also we did not require them to get a license within a certain time. So what this bill does is correct that. It says that to be eligible for the permit, you have to have had a suspended license before without any type of penalty that went along with that. And then also that you must get your regular license within a year of this permit being issued to you. Any questions?
Lt Gov Rutledge Questions for Senator Hickey? Senator Flowers, you’re recognized.
Sen Flowers What is the purpose of the last portion of this Section 3 that says the Department of Finance and Administration may revoke a restricted driving permit issued under this section at any time and for any reason?
Sen Hickey Right. I had asked the House sponsor whenever they had done this, they’d asked me to run it. It come from the House. When I got to worrying about is that we said that we would issue this license. But under there it didn’t have anywhere that we would revoke it or could revoke it if they were to have, you know, some violations that come. So I wanted that language there just to make sure that we had some leeway if one of these permit holders within that year, if we needed for that license to go away or that permit to go away. Excuse me.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Flowers, you’re recognized for a follow up.
Sen Flowers Thank you, Governor. So why wouldn’t it ring at any, for any violation? Why would we give the Department of Finance and Administration the right to revoke somebody’s restricted driving permit? And I would imagine it’s for them to get to work.
Sen Hickey It is.
Sen Flowers At any time and for any reason. Doesn’t say for a violation.
Sen Hickey Right. Well, I guess if there was some other issues, you know, that would normally cause a license to be suspended, those would also be it. So I said violation there earlier. But, you know, if there was other items that normally where if their license could be suspended, that same thing would fall and be under under the permit also. So that last year, that permit could be suspended the same way that someone that had a license was.
Sen Flowers I’ve never heard of the Department of Finance and Administration being able to just suspend or revoke somebody’s license for any reason. Seems like you go back to the court order and set up the conditions for probation or parole. If they’re ordered to go to work and they have a restricted license, how can the Department of Finance and Administration just willy nilly revoke the license?
Sen Hickey Yes, ma’am. I don’t think it would ever be willy nilly.
Sen Flowers That’s my concern with the bill.
Sen Hickey Thank you, ma’am.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Clark, you’re recognized.
Sen Clark So, Senator Hickey, we’re giving DFA the power, not to judge the power? Because, you know, I didn’t have a problem with the judge having the power to revoke somebody’s license because obviously, I would think they would have a good reason. But we’re giving an agency the power to revoke the license?
Sen Hickey My main thing was this is not truly a license. It’s the permit. If there was a reason that the permit needed to be revoked within that one year period, that we were not just because of this legislation, we didn’t have an option to get out of that. And so that was the reason that I had them to add that in.
Sen Clark I wouldn’t have a problem with a judge making that determination, but I’ve got a problem with DFA making that determination. So we went to a lot of trouble to make sure that these people could be mobile and get to work because we live in a very rural state.
Sen Hickey Right. And I see what you’re saying. Again, the thing was, as we were allowing people that– or we are allowing people that actually have never had a license to have a permit, and then we also have allowed those to carry on.
Sen Clark Yes, I agree. I agree with the general focus of the legislation. I just think that one point, it ought to be fixed.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other questions? Yes. Senator Bryant you’re recognized.
Sen Bryant Thank you, Madam President. So, at the DFA, who makes that determination within the organization?
Sen Hickey I guess it would be whoever the director was over the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Sen Bryant Is this language that DFA wants or language that the Department of Corrections wants?
Sen Hickey No, this was this was actually brought– law enforcement had told us that these issues were out there. And this was just my and Representative Dalby’s attempt to correct this problem. This was not brought to us by any agency. There’s been some good points here, and I will pull this down to look at that further if that’s okay. Because that’s why we do this. Thank you.
Lt Gov Rutledge Thank you, Senator Hickey. Senator Gilmore, you’re recognized. Oh, sorry. Thanks, Senator Gilmore. HB 1245.
HB 1245 Creates study of court system funding and collections
Secretary House Bill 1245 by Representative Dalby to require a legislative study of financial matters related to the court system and to require consideration of legislation necessary to address issues identified during the study.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Stubblefield, you’re recognized.
Sen Stubblefield Thank you. Thank you, Governor. It’s a very simple bill. It’s just a bill that sets aside the House, the Senate Judiciary Committee to do a study on the funding of our court system, has the backing of the Office of the Courts, Municipal League, the Association of Arkansas Counties. It simply looks at the funding sources of our courts system, collection and distribution of those systems and the financial matters related to the courts. Be glad to take any questions.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any questions? Senator King, you’re recognized.
Sen King So we’re going to be spending money on consultants or anything? I mean, we’ve studied these things before in the past. Why are we having to do this again?
Sen Stubblefield Senator King, I can’t answer that because we’ve got a lot of issues in the court system right now that we’ve got judges that hadn’t returned to the bench in 15 months. And we’ve got some areas that, like Senator Murdock said, hadn’t had court in 15 years. We’ve got some issues with our our court system.
Sen King So we’re not going to be spending money on consultants?
Sen Stubblefield Not that I’m aware of. This is just really an interstudy proposal is basically what it is.
Sen King So there’s no money costs associated with this other than judiciary committees meeting, normal business that you know of?
Sen Stubblefield Not that I’m aware of.
Sen King Okay.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other questions for Senator Stubblefield? Anyone wish to speak against or for? Senator, are you closed? I believe he is closed. Any objection to rolling the vote? Madam Secretary, please roll the vote. [Roll call] Any Senators wish to change your vote? Senator King, not voting. Any other senators? Please cast up the ballot.
By a vote of 34 yea, 0 nay, and 1 not voting, bill passes. [Not voting: King]
Please return to the House. Senator Caldwell.
Sen Caldwell Thank you, Madam President. Point of personal privilege. In the West Gallery, I have constituents from Jackson County, New Vision, Newport. I would like– they’ve been on the House end until now. I would like for you all to welcome them to the Senate.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other announcements? Senator English.
Sen English Thank you very much. Senate Education will not meet tomorrow.
Lt Gov Rutledge Other announcements? Senator Irvin. And Senator Hammer. Y’all just get in line.
Sen Irvin Folks, Public Health will make it 10. We are going to take our picture, hopefully, tomorrow. So wear nice clothes. That was for Senator Flippo.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Hammer, you’re recognized for any announcements involving a full length mirror required or not.
Sen Hammer Announcement. Tomorrow morning, prayer caucus, 7:00 down in the Old Supreme Court Room. Love to have everybody there. We’re usually there about 20 minutes, not much. We know we got other meetings afterwards, but prayer caucus 7:00 in the morning for House and Senate members and any of the staff that wants to come at 7:00.
Lt Gov Rutledge Senator Gilmore.
Sen Gilmore Members, Special Language will meet at 8:00 in the morning. As our esteemed journalists over here had to point out, I may have to keep them awake. So I hope you can make it at 8:00 in the morning for Special Language If you’re on there.
Lt Gov Rutledge Any other announcements? Seeing none, the Senate will stand in adjournment subject to the clearing of the desk until 1 p.m. February 8.