AAC County Lines

County Lines [(ISSN 2576-1137 (print) and ISSN 2576-1145 (online)] is the official publication of the AAC. It is published quarterly. For advertising inqui- ries, subscriptions or other information, 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:

Debbie Wise – President Brandon Ellison – Vice President Jimmy Hart – Secretary-Treasurer

Tommy Young Debra Buckner Kevin Cleghorn Debbie Cross Ellen Foote

Gerone Hobbs

John Montgomery David Thompson

Terri Harrison Dana Baker Terry McNatt

Brenda DeShields Doug Curtis Marty Boyd

Heather Stevens

National Association of Counties (NACo) Board Affiliations

Debbie Wise: NACo board member. She is Randolph County Circuit Clerk and presi- dent of the AAC Board of Directors.

Brandon Ellison: NACo board member. He is Polk County Judge and vice-president of the AAC Board of Directors.

Ted Harden: Finance & Intergovernmental Af- fairs Steering Committee. He is a member of the Jefferson County Quorum Court.

David Hudson: Chair of Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is Sebastian Co. Judge and member of Rural Action Caucus Steering Committee and IT Standing Committee.

Barry Hyde: Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. He is the Pulaski County Judge.

Rusty McMillon: Justice and Public Safety Steer- ing Committee. He is Greene County Judge

Joseph Wood: Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Commit- tee. He is Washington County Judge.

Kevin Smith: IT Standing Committee. He is the Sebastian County Director of Information Technology Services.

Gerone Hobbs: Membership Committee. He is the Pulaski County Coroner.

Paul Ellliot: Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee,

vice-chair of law enforcement

subcommittee. He is a member of the Pulaski County Quorum Court.

Ellen Foote: Community, Economic & Work- force Development Steering Committee. She is the Crittenden County Tax Collector.

Tawanna Brown: Telecommunications & Technol- ogy Steering Committe. She is Crittenden County Chief Computer Operator.



Don’t let upcoming legislative session have an asterisk

Te 93rd General Assembly will be like everything else in our world right now, rapidly paced and flexible, which means more than ever that you as county officials will need to be engaged. I’ve thought a great deal about how 2020 will be viewed years down the road. As a sports fan I like statistics and lists. Etched forever in our sports lists will be a darned asterisk beside anything that happened in 2020. National Champions, bat- ting averages, total yards gained in the season … all will have an asterisk because of the unusual nature of this year. Your county budgets will have an asterisk for a few reasons: COVID-19 expens- es, CARES ACT reimbursements, possibly a dip in revenue — all marks in your county budget for 2020. Now I encourage you to turn your eyes to the 93rd Gen- eral Assembly to prevent another asterisk in a long list of successful sessions — we have to concern ourselves with laws that could be passed with negative unintended consequences for county government. If ever there was a year it could happen, it would be in the upcoming session. As is always the case, you are the key to a session. While the Association of


s this issue of County Lines hits the mailbox, fall is quickly turning the corner into winter. And as is the case in even-numbered years, preparation is being made for our biennial legislative session.

Chris Villines AAC

Executive Director

Arkansas Counties may organize and inform of potential legislative items, county officials are the true workers as you educate your elected legislators to how county government works. To deepen the ties between local and state government, many counties have begun hosting informal sessions, meet and greets if you will, with their local delegation by inviting them to a courthouse and discussing their issues. We believe this is an effective and valuable way to grow these relationships and keep the lines of communication open. Despite the pandemic, we hope that you can find ways to safely have these gatherings — even if by Zoom — to get to know one another and your respective jobs a little bit better.

As the session begins, legislators will turn not just to us at the association, but to

you at home to find out how a bill could potentially impact you and your office. If your legislator doesn’t have you stored in their contacts list the delay in finding you could be just the thing that lets legislation with negative unintended consequences find its way to Gov. Hutchinson’s desk. Usually over 2000 bills are filed, more than 500 of which will have some level of im- pact on county government. Your team at the AAC does its best to walk through each bill (thank you Eddie Jones, our first-reader on these bills) and communicate to you what we see as the impacts both good and bad to county government. But sometimes even we do not capture everything, so we encourage you to watch daily to see what bills are filed and communicate amongst each other through your respective listservs. And then, most importantly, make sure that each association has a coordinated effort to come to the capitol and testify on these bills as they wind through committees. We are here to help you know when and where committees will be meeting and your liaisons with the AAC stand at the ready to keep you in the loop. Tere are important dates and items associated with any legislative ses-

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