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kansas Counties family in late April when we tragically lost our general counsel Jonathan Greer. We suffered a tremendous loss on the heels of a frenzied but productive legislative session. And “JG,” as many of us called him, was a critical player in our legisla- tive and advocacy efforts here at AAC. He was dedicated to public servants and service. His precision in understanding and communicating the law to laypersons and other attorneys was masterful. He delivered himself everyday with an enchanting smile and a kind demeanor. I saw him lobby and navigate the toughest bills in the AAC package with rolled up sleeves and a determined pace until the job was done. I only knew JG for a relatively short time, but he left an impression on me that will endure not only in my life, but also in my career of serving and advocating for public servants. JG’s office was right next to mine so we often shared in each


other’s day thanks mostly to proximity. We’d have conversations from our respective chairs in between phone calls, bounce around policy ideas on countless issues, float solutions to our counties’ current adversities and almost everyday, we would certainly talk about where we were going for lunch. I’m actually blaming the 15 extra pounds I gained during the session on JG. For those of you who knew him, he liked to eat, but didn’t seem to gain a pound. I will trim the pounds but would not trade our fellowship during lunch for anything. He will be greatly missed. “So, what’s in your pocket?” Tat is a conversation starter we use at AAC. And, yes, JG gets all the credit for this one. Today, my answer is perspective. I have a renewed perspective on what people mean and how we should battle to keep people at the top of our minds as we work with all walks of life for the counties and the state of Arkansas. Certainly during a session, I think many of us gravitate toward viewing things through our cynical filter and maybe lose sight of the truth. And the truth is … it’s all about people. We hold endless other perspectives on various events, projects, passions, rights, religions or other on goings in our lives. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “perspective” as “the capac- ity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.” For instance, county officials have a perspective or understand

the true relations of the challenges facing county government to- day and the relative importance of finding solutions. We could say they have a county perspective. And when you have that, you also have a state perspective. After all, the 75 counties collectively assist the state in carrying out its business, for its people, to all corners of Arkansas. Te Arkansas 90th General Assembly adjourned sine die April


erspective. Your general perspective undoubtedly changes over time, but it may also change in an in- stant depending what comes your way. Unfortunately, the latter example rang true for the Association of Ar-

22. Terefore, Acts without emergency clauses or specific enacting dates will become law July 22, 2015. Of the 2,220 bills filed during the ses- sion, 1,350 became Acts. AAC tracked more than 714 bills that could affect county government and more than 375 of those bills became law. AAC stakeholders and staff success- fully passed 25 AAC legislative pack- age bills into law. We also nurtured or provided legislative guidance or helped defeat hundreds more. Tis was accomplished through a concert of

Legislative lines

Scott perkins Communications Director

county officials connecting and communicating with legislators with answers in mind. AAC stakeholders are committed to building on that effort in the interim and for the 91st General Assembly in 2017. When the dust settled from a fairly quick session, AAC stakeholders could hold their heads high in what was a suc- cessful endeavor. However, the true success can be found in the establishment and strengthening of county officials’ part- nerships with the legislature. We have many more challenges ahead and will continue to work toward the ever-increasing hurdles in delivering county services. We appreciate the governor and legislature’s attention to county

jail overcrowding and reimbursement and the beginning of a crimi- nal justice overhaul during the session, but the work has just begun. Te county jail backup population is at all-time highs regardless of the actions taken by the 90th. Our state’s parole system woes continue, but the impact of Act 895 of 2015 has not had time to fully manifest. Jail overcrowding and criminal justice reform will remain at the top of our state’s to-do list. Other pressing issues for counties in the unfunded mandate realm like 911 modernization and funding, electioneering equipment needs, adjustments to the state highway system and decreases in county turn back funds top the list for our stakeholders. I think you will see a movement from our quorum courts and elected officials to further communicate their concerns with increased unfunded mandates being placed on the backs of counties who are already struggling. As they continue to advocate and educate the legislature, we will keep our eyes on the issues, but our goals seeded in solutions. We would like to thank all the sponsors and supporters of

AAC legislation and especially the leadership in the house and the senate and the governor for their public service to this great state. We look forward to working with all you as we partner for the betterment of Arkansas. Don’t forget the 47th annual AAC Conference August 5-7 in

Springdale. For more information, drop me an e-mail at sper- 75 counties. One voice.


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