Director’s DE S K

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Tying a bow on County Lines legislative session


County Lines is the official publication of the Association of Arkansas Counties. It is published quarterly. For advertising in- quiries, subscriptions or other information relating to the magazine, please contact Christy L. Smith at 501.372.7550.

Executive Director / Publisher Chris Villines

Communications Director/ Managing Editor Christy L. Smith

Communications Coordinator/ Editor

Holland Doran AAC Executive Board:

Sherry Bell Ellen Foote

Brenda DeShields John Montgomery Rhonda Cole

David Thompson Angela Hill

Judy Beth Hutcherson – President Debbie Wise – Vice President Brandon Ellison – Secretary-Treasurer Debra Buckner Jeanne Andrews Jimmy Hart

Gerone Hobbs Sandra Cawyer Bill Hollenbeck Debbie Cross

National Association of Counties (NACo) Board Affiliations

Judy Beth Hutcherson: NACo board member. She is the Clark County Treasurer and president of the AAC Board of Directors.

Debbie Wise: NACo board member. She is the Randolph County Circuit Clerk, vice president of the AAC Board of Directors and chair of AAC’s Legislative Committee.

Ted Harden: Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee. He serves on the Jefferson County Quorum Court.

Kasey Summerville: Finance, Pensions & Intergov- ernmental Affairs Steering Committee. She is the Clark County Assessor.

David Hudson: Vice Chair of NACo’s Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is the Sebastian County Judge and member of the Rural Action Caucus Steering Committee.

Barry Hyde: Justice and Public Safety Steering Com- mittee. He is the Pulaski County Judge.


all sessions, there are surprises, there are unintended con- sequences both good and bad, and there are boatloads of promises and progression for our state.


Te speed limits on our interstates may now climb to 75 miles per hour, guns will be allowed in places heretofore outlawed, you will now be able to present your iPhone for an Arkansas Driver’s License check, and marijuana rules will be set across the state.

Chris Villines AAC

Executive Director

Mixed in with all of this are a myriad of bills affecting county government, and as is usually the case your staff here at the Association of Arkansas Counties found itself in the middle of some 500 odd bills that we vetted, tracked and ultimately either supported, opposed or massaged to county approval.

Te process we follow is tried and true, and it all begins and ends with you — our county and district officials. Debbie Wise is masterful at organizing and leading all of our member associations to prepare a package of legislation the AAC ulti- mately supports, and it is vetted well among all of our groups. Tank you, Debbie, for your hard work and leadership over the last year.

Tis package in 2017 consisted of 28 bills. In the end, 26 of them were passed into law. Tis is a remarkable number. It is a result of countless hours of vetting and refining by the AAC staff and all associations we represent. I know of no other groups or associations that approach similar success rates with such a large number of proactive pieces of legislation.

To the AAC Legislative Committee and the AAC Board of Directors, you are to be congratulated. Your efforts and full shoulder of support are ultimately the reason these bills go through. Your ideas are the genesis of these pieces of legislation. Who knows better what county government needs than those of you who work every day in the trenches?

But to stop with our legislative package and grade efforts there would be short- sighted. Te measure of our success is only partially rested on those 26 bills. It is ultimately the remaining 475+ bills filed and tracked — and which are part of our collective efforts — that decide whether a session gets a thumbs up or down.

Tough early, it is safe to say that the 2017 regular session will score a thumbs- up for the counties of Arkansas. Many of the bills we had to fight on behalf of the counties were either defeated or modified to our satisfaction, and many of you made the phone calls, texts or emails necessary to raise legislative awareness to these county issues.

As has been the case for the past four sessions, it all started here with Eddie Jones.

Eddie is superb at details, and his review of bills helped to alert us to potential problems or opportunities. In addition, Mark Whitmore with the judges, sheriffs and coroners; Lindsey Bailey with the county clerks, justices of the peace and asses- sors; Josh Curtis with the circuit clerks and collectors; and Eddie with the treasurers were all amazingly effective with our members and constantly communicated with

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he bow has been neatly tied on the 91st General Assembly’s regular session, and the results will come as Arkansas unwraps new laws over the next two years. As with

Director’s Desk

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