the complete change in lines of authority and supervision. Tis is an area of law that needs some clarification. But this bill did not do it. It did not clean up the issues, just muddled them more. After two weeks of negotiation with the sponsor of the bill, he withdrew it from committee and placed it on the Senate calendar for referral to be studied. On April 8 the Sen- ate referred the matter to the Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee for an interim study. Counties will gladly work with the Senate on this important issue. Tese situations are just a sample of the times we had to

“circle the wagons” to defend county government. Tere were times we had to defend sources of county revenue. And in one case, putting a cap on local sales tax rates — an issue put forward in the Tax Reform Legislative Task Force in 2018 — was never put forth in legislation because of our “pre-emptive circling of the wagons” from the beginning of the session — and because we were willing to work with Senate leadership on other key issues. We remain cognizant of the fact that even when we find some legislative ideas disagreeable, harmful, and oppressive to county government, more times than not the sponsors of the bills, whether they be representatives or senators, are not try- ing to hurt county government. Many times they don’t know the negative impact their legislation will have on county gov- ernment or they don’t see it as oppressive and harmful as we do. Whatever the case, we in county government try to remain respectful of our legislators and the important work they do as we work with them to explain our positions. In fact, what we like to do is communicate and build rela- tionships with our legislators. We want to work toward those things that help county government. County government is in the unique position of delivering county services as outlined by the Constitution and state law and being a political subdivision of the state to help deliver state services. We are indeed a partner with the state of Ar- kansas. We would rather be building legislative relationships and playing offense any day of the week. Te 92nd General Assembly was definitely a success story in relationship build- ing — working well with numerous state representatives and senators, as well as the Governor’s office, to enact great legisla- tion that will help county government for years to come. Te AAC legislative package consisted of 31 bills for the 92nd General Assembly. Of those 31 bills, 29 have been enact- ed into law. Several of these bills are very substantive in nature and not just “clean-up” legislation. We enjoy working with our legislators to enact good county government legislation. Although our executive director, Chris Villines, shared some of this information in the previous edition of County Lines, let

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me summarize some of the good that was accomplished with communication and relationship building with our legislators.

• Act 660 brings long needed 911 reform for our coun- ties. Tis legislation not only will increase revenues for 911, but it also will bring efficiency reforms. Te total number of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) will be decreased over a period of time spreading the revenue to fewer PSAPs. At the same time, the increased revenue will help the remaining PSAPs upgrade technology. Com- munication with our legislators made this happen. Rep. Michelle Gray, Sen. Jason Rapert and Gov. Asa Hutchin- son made this happen for counties.

• Act 416 envelops the Senate and House leadership and the Governor’s new road plan that will moderately in- crease gas and diesel taxes at the wholesale level. Te in- crease will provide around $12.6 million for county roads and bridges. Every penny of it is needed, and we are ap- preciative. Te new road plan also includes a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot next November. When enacted, it will make permanent a one- half cent sales tax that is scheduled to expire in 2023. Tis would continue funding of around $44 million per year for county roads and bridge.

• Act 808 brings with it several things on county govern- ment’s needs list and some of our legislative agenda. Te property tax relief credit was increased from a maximum of $350 to $375 per year, providing most of our home- owners with a reduced property tax bill. Te same bill provides an almost $8.3 million appropriation for voting equipment for our counties — something some of our counties are in dire need of. It also provides our asses- sors with a level funding amount for their Amendment 79 Fund used to administer the property tax relief program. Our hats are off to President Pro Tempore Sen. Jim Hen- dren, Rep. Lanny Fite and House Revenue and Tax Com- mittee Chair Rep. Joe Jett for working through the issues to get this bill enacted.

• Act 327 handled capably by Rep. Keith Slape and Sen. Ronald Caldwell will increase revenues for jail opera- tions and training. Tis legislation increases the book- ing fee from $20 to $40 paid by criminal defendants convicted or pleading no contest to felonies or Class A misdemeanors. Tis could increase jail operation rev- enues by $1 million, or close to it. Additionally, a small


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