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Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017
Campus carry measure goes to governor
Posted Tuesday, March 21, at 8:25 AM
LITTLE ROCK - The legislature has passed and sent to the governor a "campus carry" measure that was amended numerous times and applies to many more areas than college campuses. As originally introduced, House Bill 1249 would have allowed faculty and staff at state colleges and universities to carry a concealed firearm on campus, as long as they already had a concealed carry permit...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, March 14, at 11:05 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The General Assembly gave final approval to legislation that will give law enforcement authorities effective new tools to deal with people going through mental health crises. Act 423 of 2017 will establish three regional Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Centers, each with 16 beds. When people need mental health treatment and are causing trouble, the police can take them to a center rather than to jail, where they will not get any treatment at all...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, March 7, at 2:43 PM

Soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard who are students at state-supported colleges and universities will have their tuition paid for, under legislation passed by the Senate. Senate Bill 278 has several purposes. First is to improve the Guard's readiness, both for domestic emergencies and foreign missions. Arkansas has lost units to other states that provide more benefits, which means that fewer units are available in Arkansas to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies...

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Voter ID addressed
Posted Tuesday, February 28, at 9:29 AM

LITTLE ROCK - A Senate committee has advanced legislation that requires voters to present a photo ID before they can cast a ballot. Under House Bill 1047, numerous types of identification are acceptable. They include drivers' licenses, military and student IDs, public assistance card, concealed carry permits and passports. People who have no valid form of photo ID can get one for free, after making a sworn statement that they do not have any other acceptable form of ID...

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Senate votes to limit attorneys' fees
Posted Monday, February 20, at 3:27 PM

LITTLE ROCK - After a lengthy and impassioned debate, the Senate voted to refer to voters a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit attorneys' fees in civil lawsuits and limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded. The measure is Senate Joint Resolution 8. ...

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Senate passes bills
Posted Tuesday, February 14, at 9:46 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The Senate passed two bills to streamline state agencies and make them more efficient. Other bills are in the pipeline. Senate Bill 256 transfers the relatively small Arkansas Energy Office to the larger Department of Environmental Quality. ...

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Arkansas taxpayers to benefit
Posted Tuesday, February 7, at 9:40 AM

LITTLE ROCK - After putting the finishing touches on a $50 million-a-year tax cut for low income families, lawmakers turned their focus to legislation that exempts military retirement benefits from the state income tax. About 657,000 Arkansas taxpayers will benefit from Act 78 of 2017, which reduces or eliminates individual state income taxes for people whose incomes are less than $21,000 a year...

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Disability funding approved
Posted Tuesday, January 31, at 10:04 AM

LITTLE ROCK - From 500 to 900 people with developmental disabilities will get home assistance from a funding measure approved by the legislature. The home services will allow them to live at home, rather than in an institution. The waiting list for home services has been about 3,000 people, and some of them had been on the list for more than 10 years...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, January 24, at 9:04 AM

LITTLE ROCK - By a unanimous vote in both chambers, the General Assembly approved legislation to postpone for 60 days implementation of the medical marijuana amendment. Arkansas voters passed the amendment in the November general election. It created a commission responsible for writing new regulations for the growing and selling of medical marijuana. For example, the commission will determine how cultivation facilities and dispensaries will keep records, and how they will maintain security...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, December 27, at 9:08 AM

LITTLE ROCK - One of the most important developments in state government in 2016 was the full implementation of lower personal income taxes for about 688,000 middle class Arkansas taxpayers. Combined with other tax cuts approved by the legislature in 2015, the reduced income taxes will save Arkansas families about $100 million a year...

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Legislators to consider tax cut proposals
Posted Tuesday, December 20, at 9:42 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Legislators will consider several different tax cut proposals when the General Assembly convenes for the 2017 regular session. The governor has proposed an income tax reduction for low-income wage earners, those earning $21,000 a year or less. It would lower taxes for about 657,000 Arkansas residents, which is approximately 44 percent of 1.5 million people who pay state individual income taxes...

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Arkansas lawmakers face challenge
Posted Tuesday, December 13, at 9:29 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas lawmakers face an ongoing challenge to improve the state juvenile justice system. The latest issue arises from a contract that the state Division of Youth Services wants to sign with a private company to operate seven secure detention facilities for youths. After the division announced that it would award the contract to an Indiana firm, two Arkansas organizations that previously ran the facilities filed objections and requested that the bidding process be reviewed...

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Trade big part of Arkansas
Posted Tuesday, December 6, at 1:01 PM

LITTLE ROCK - Businessmen and state economic development officials understand that Arkansas is part of a global market place, and that many of their customers and much of their competition is overseas. Last year Arkansas companies exported $5.9 billion worth of products and services. Since 2010 the value of Arkansas exports has risen 12.5 percent. Over a three year period the average rate of growth in Arkansas exports was 2.8 percent a year...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, November 29, at 10:29 AM

LITTLE ROCK - Adding 228 employees is one of several strategies proposed by the Division of Children and Family Services to improve the state's child welfare system, which division officials say is in crisis. In a recent report, the Division outlined several problems and proposed solutions. High employee turnover, high caseloads and lack of experienced staff were factors in most of the critical areas...

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Committee assignments
Posted Tuesday, November 22, at 9:07 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The 35 members of the state Senate chose their committee assignments for the 2017 regular session. The chairmen of the Senate's standing committees will be: Senator Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers - Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee; Senator Jake Files of Fort Smith - Revenue and Taxation Committee; Senator Jane English of North Little Rock - Education Committee; Senator Jeremy Hutchinson of Benton - Judiciary Committee;...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, November 15, at 9:47 AM

LITTLE ROCK - As required by law, the governor proposed a balanced budget for state government for the next two fiscal years and presented it at legislative budget hearings. The recommendation will be the starting point for the legislature to use for adopting state agency spending levels. Lawmakers are meeting in budget hearings now, in preparation for the regular legislative session that begins on January 9...

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School funding to increase by one percent
Posted Tuesday, November 8, at 9:08 AM

LITTLE ROCK - The Senate Education Committee voted to recommend an increase in state funding of public schools next year of about 1 percent. The vote culminated months of work during which the committee met 20 times and staff surveyed administrators of dozens of school districts and conducted on-site interviews with principals. Their purpose was to determine what level of funding is needed to provide an adequate education to each of the 476,000 public school students in Arkansas...

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Voter turnout increases during presidential races
Posted Tuesday, November 1, at 9:05 AM

LITTLE ROCK - When there is a race for president on the ballot, voter turnout in Arkansas goes up. This year it looks as if voter turnout is going up even more than usual for a presidential election year, according to estimates by officials in the Secretary of State's office. Based on turnout in past elections and in this year's primary in March, election officials estimate that voter turnout will be about 70 percent...

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State Capital Week in Review
Posted Tuesday, October 25, at 12:00 PM

LITTLE ROCK - The state Supreme Court has stricken Issues Four and Five because of legal questions about their ballot titles, so any votes cast for them on November 8 will not be counted. Issue Four would have limited the amount of damages that could be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits...

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Capital Week in Review
Posted Wednesday, October 19, at 3:04 PM

LITTLE ROCK - A legislative task force on criminal justice has recommended changes in sentencing laws with the goal of controlling overcrowding of jails and prisons. The legislature will consider the recommendations during the 2017 regular session, which begins in January. Some proposals would require additional state funding, so the preliminary work on prison reform will necessarily take place during legislative budget hearings that are going on now...

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State Capital Week in Review
By Senator Dave Wallace
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Dave Wallace of Leachville serves as District 22 State Senator.
Hot topics
Campus carry measure goes to governor
(0 ~ 8:25 AM, Mar 21)

State Capital Week in Review
(0 ~ 11:05 AM, Mar 14)

State Capital Week in Review
(0 ~ 2:43 PM, Mar 7)

Voter ID addressed
(0 ~ 9:30 AM, Feb 28)

Senate votes to limit attorneys' fees
(0 ~ 3:27 PM, Feb 20)