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Arkansas Governmental Affairs Update
Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:40 AM

The 92nd General Assembly Legislative Session is completing its ninth week, and lawmakers have been busy. There have been 1,496 bills entered and 443 acts (bills that have completed the legislative process and been signed by the governor).

806 House bills
49 House resolutions
29 House joint resolutions
11 House concurrent resolutions
554 Senate bills
25 Senate resolutions
18 Senate joint resolutions
4 Senate concurrent resolutions

The House of Representatives and the Senate made a concurrent resolution to recess at the close of business on March 20, and resume their work on March 25.

Another concurrent resolution is HCR 1006. The concurrent resolution provides the recess of the 92nd General Assembly at the close of business on April 12, 2019, or an earlier time as may be agreed on by the House and Senate. They may adjourn the Regular Session at any time before noon, May 6, 2019, if they determine it's not necessary to reconvene. May 6 is the sine die date for the 92nd Legislative Session.

Arkansas Credit Union Association is currently tracking 26 bills, plus others like an ethics packet. The General Assembly has increased ethic violation fines, which ranged previously from $50 to $2,000 and now range up to $3,500. This is now Act 341. Others, like SB260 where a political action committee would not be able to contribute to another PAC, have seen no action at this time.

Governor's Legislative Packages

The governor’s legislative packages are moving. His highway bills have completed the process. One bill will be to increase the excise tax on gas by 3 cents to 24.5 cents per gallon and the excise tax on diesel by 6 cents to 28.5 cents a gallon, effective Oct. 1, 2019. It also added a fee for electric and hybrid vehicles.

State officials project the increased fuel taxes, added vehicle fees, and reallocation of some of the casino revenue will raise around $95 million a year. The governor’s overall highway plans with proposed tax and fee increases and a revenue infusion would provide around $300 million for the state highways and another $114 million for cities and counties for their road programs.

The voters will decide if they want to extend the half percent sales tax, which would bring in $293,700,000 of the $414,579,766 for his total highway package.

The governor’s reorganization bill, HB1763, was introduced last Friday. It's more than 2,000 pages, combining 16 bills into one. This bill reduces the number of department heads that report to the governor from 42 to 15.

For more information, please contact Ron Harrod at rharrod@sbcglobal.net or 501-944-3068.