Governor issues call for special session on highways, more

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 96 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued his call for a special session to deal with highway funding for Thursday, May 19, and he plans to ask the state Legislature to consider a variety of other matters.

Specifically, the governor’s call includes requests for lawmakers to deal with specific agency and higher education consolidation, levee and other water improvement districts, publicity property rights, a workers compensation fund, school elections, and juvenile records.

“The purpose of this Special Session is to address our state’s immediate highway funding needs without the unnecessary burden of raising taxes on Arkansans,” Hutchinson said. “In addition, the legislature will be asked to approve legislation to promote efficiency and effectiveness of state government operations as well as a few items that warrant immediate action.”

All of the agenda items from the Governor’s call are as follows:

· To increase funding for repair, construction and proper maintenance of Arkansas bridges and roads and to address legislative review of proposed rules of the State Highway Commission.

· To promote efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of state government by transferring the Arkansas History Commission to the Department of Arkansas Heritage and amending the membership, tenure, and duties of certain agencies, task forces, committees, and commissions.

· To merge Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute into East Arkansas Community College.

· To enhance and streamline the process of identifying and filling board vacancies for certain improvement districts, including levee, drainage, irrigation, watershed and river improvement districts.

· To protect the property rights of an individual in the use of the individual’s name, voice, signature and likeness.

· To address the qualifications of professionals under the Private Security Agency, Private Investigator and School Security Licensing and Credentialing Act.

· To clarify the law regarding workers’ compensation payments under the workers’ compensation law that resulted from initiated measure 1948, No. 4 and to end payments to the Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund.

· To reenact the original date of the sunset of the Arkansas Works Program established by identical Acts 2016 (2nd Ex. Sess.), Nos. 1 and 2.

· To amend the law to enable annual school elections to be held in November, to make technical corrections to the law concerning the annual school elections and to amend the funding structure and other essential administrative provisions concerning certain school elections.

· To amend Ark. Code Ann. § 9-28-217 to permit release of juvenile records to a person, agency or organization engaged in bona fide research or evaluation project determined by the Division of Youth Services of the Department of Human Services to have value for the evaluation or development of policies to advance juvenile justice.

· To amend the criminal offense of sexual indecency with a child.

· To prohibit identification of schools or districts as being in academic distress pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-15-428 for the 2016-2017 school year and to prohibit assignment of school ratings pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-15-2105 for the 2016-2017 school year.

· To amend Ark. Code Ann. § 12-80-104 concerning earthquake resistant design requirements for buildings and other structures.

· To confirm gubernatorial appointees.

Talk Business & Politics will update this story later today.