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Behind the Lines: An update on the Legislature

posed legislation. It’s at this point of the session when the layers of legislative cohesiveness or lack thereof intermingle into more and more lawmaker decisions. Both chambers combined have filed more than 1,200 bills, not counting the 42 joint resolu- tions concerning possible Constitutional amendments. Te Ar- kansas Legislature can approve up to three of these resolutions to be placed on the ballot. Te resolutions will be voted on within State Agencies and


Governmental Affairs committees of the Senate and House and then before the entire legislature to make the ballot. Tere are two joint resolutions (SJR5/HJR1027), one from

the Senate sponsored by Sen. Bryan King and one from the house sponsored by Rep. Jack Ladyman, which would increase lengths of terms from two to four years for county officials. Tese would increase all county officials to four-year terms and have been recently amended to include justices of the peace and county surveyors as well.

In addition, these resolutions

contain a provision that county elected officials, during their term, cannot be appointed or elected to any civil office under the state. Tis would prevent any officials from running for a House or Senate seat mid-term. Te AAC Board of Directors has voted to support these bills. SJR13 is an amendment proposed by Sens. Bart Hester and

Uvalde Lindsey that would increase only county sheriffs from two to four year terms. Tis bill does not address any other county offices. Te switch to four-year terms would begin on elections following January 1, 2017, and does not have a provi- sion to deny appointment or election to offices during the term.

Unpaved Roads Program bill passes in state Senate

Sen. Missy Irvin (pictured at right) introduced SB613 on the Senate floor March 2, and the measure passed with a unanimous vote. Part of the AAC and county judges’ legislative packages, the bill would create the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program, which would provide grants to counties for unpaved road projects. A AC and the County Judges Association of Arkansas has worked in partner- ship with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Ar- kansas Game & Fish Commission, the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, the Arkansas Forestry Service, the Arkansas Forestry Association, Farm Bureau of Arkansas, the Natural Resources Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Arkansas to get the bill to the Legislature. It now goes to the House Committee on Public Transportation for consideration.


embers of the 90th Arkansas General Assembly will soon enter their second month of commit- tee meetings, floor sessions and a plethora of conversations and communications about pro-

HJR1021 is an amendment pro- posed by Rep. Greg Leding that would amend the constitution to exempt certain tangible personal property from the ad valorem tax. Te property exempted would be certain tangible business personal property that has a useful life of less than one year. We are opposed to any erosion of our tax base unless a source of revenue is identified which would fully replace it, and none is identified in this bill.

AAC legislative package: bills to acts Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed

seven AAC package bills into law since late January. Another two should be signed by the time this edition is delivered. Tese new laws began in discussions among various AAC stakeholder associations, and then passed the tests through the AAC legislative committee and the AAC board of directors. As most of you know, then the AAC team and county officials work with the legislature and interested parties as we try to pass our bills into acts.

When the session is done, the AAC will assemble all new acts, not just AAC proposals and report to all county officials on the latest laws of Arkansas having an impact on county govern- ment. We appreciate all the county officials’ service to the state and look forward to serving you. We hope you enjoy this edition of County Lines magazine and our weekly e-magazine, County Lines Alerts, which is e- mailed every Friday morning. You can also keep in touch every day on our Facebook page and through our Twitter feed.

Legislative lines

Scott perkins Communications Director

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