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Gov. Hutchinson Officially Calls Special Session for Highways, Education, and Security

Arkansas State Capitol

  Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is determined to find a way to fund state highways without raising taxes.  That’s what Hutchinson said in official statement released Monday in regards to the special legislative session he has officially called for Thursday.

Legislators will discuss, among other items that “warrants immediate action by the legislature”, the Governor’s plan of setting aside at least $50 million in surplus money for highway funding this year.  The money will be used to receive federal matching funds.

Here’s an official statement from Governor Hutchinson regarding the special session:

“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. 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.”

Other topics in addition to the highway funding bill include the merging of Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute into East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City, annual school elections, and amending criminal offenses of sexual indecency with a child.

Below is a full list of items on the agenda to be discussed from the official press release.

  • 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.

The official proclamation can be found on the Governor’s website, HERE.