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LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY Arkansas 89th General Assembly January 14 - may 17, 2013


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e’ve had a successful legislative session, and I just want to say thank you to our county Farm Bureau leaders for making it a success. Your participation in Farmers’ Day at the Legislature, your county Farm Bureau breakfasts, and the personal communication between you and your legislators is what makes this process work. This grassroots process makes us credible and effective. I also want to say thank you to our state legislators for being open minded to our cause and working with us on issues that are so important to Arkansas agriculture. You know these issues affect not only Arkansas agriculture, but all of rural Arkansas, and it’s important for us to continue to work together to be successful. The session is over, but our job is not. There are some issues we have to continue to work on. I just want to thank you again for your hard work on behalf of Arkansas agriculture and the people of the great state of Arkansas.

—Randy Veach

Arkansas Farm Bureau President

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PRIORITY LEGISLATION HB 1039 On-farm sales tax exemption

HOUSE With FB: 94; Alexander, Altes, C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Baine, Baird, Ballinger, Baltz, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Broadaway, Burris, Carnine, Catlett, Clemmer, Collins, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Davis, Deffenbaugh, Dickinson, Dotson, C. Douglas, D. Douglas, Edwards, Eubanks, Farrer, Ferguson, Fielding, Fite, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Harris, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hobbs, Hodges, Holcomb, Hopper, House, Hutchison, Jean, Jett, Julian, Kerr, Kizzia, Lampkin, Lea, Leding, Lenderman, Linck, Love, Lowery, Magie, Malone, Mayberry, McCrary, McElroy, McLean, D. Meeks, S. Meeks, Miller, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Payton, Perry, Ratliff, Rice, Richey, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Slinkard, Smith, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Wardlaw, Westerman, Whitaker, B. Wilkins, H. Wilkins, Womack, Word, Wren, Wright Not Voting: 5; Barnett, Carter, McGill, Walker, Williams Present: 1; Bell SENATE With FB: 34; Bledsoe, Bookout, Burnett, Caldwell, Cheatham, Chesterfield, Clark, Dismang, Elliott, English, Files, Flowers, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Holland, Hutchinson, Ingram, Irvin, Key, King, Lamoureux, Lindsey, Maloch, Pierce, Rapert, Sample, Sanders, Stubblefield, Teague, Thompson, Williams, Woods, Wyatt Excused: 1; Johnson

HB 1478 Feral hogs restrictions

HOUSE With FB: 88; Alexander, Altes, C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Baine, Baltz, Barnett, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Burris, Carnine, Catlett, Clemmer, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Davis, Dickinson, C. Douglas, D. Douglas, Eubanks, Farrer, Ferguson, Fielding, Fite, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Harris, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hobbs, Hodges, Holcomb, Hopper, House, Hutchison, Jean, Jett, Julian, Kerr, Kizzia, Lampkin, Lea, Lenderman, Linck, Love, Lowery, Magie, Malone, Mayberry, McCrary, McElroy, McGill, McLean, D. Meeks, S. Meeks, Miller, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Payton, Perry, Ratliff, Rice, Richey, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Slinkard, Smith, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Walker, Wardlaw, Westerman, Whitaker, B. Wilkins, Williams, Womack, Wren, Wright Nays: 1; Bell Not Voting: 11; Baird, Ballinger, Broadaway, Carter, Collins, Deffenbaugh, Dotson, Edwards, Leding, H. Wilkins, Word

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Following the voting delegate session at the 2012 Arkansas Farm Bureau Convention, the board of directors identified 13 priority legislative issues for the 89th General Assembly. Tax Issues The General Assembly adopted approximately $17 million in annual tax cuts for agriculture. These tax reductions are phased in through 2016 but the largest reduction (HB 1039) will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Support a sales tax exemption on energy for animal facilities. The biggest win of the session is HB 1039 (Act 1441). The bill championed by Reps. Jeff Wardlaw and Jon Eubanks and Sen. Larry Teague will provide a full sales tax exemption on natural gas, LPG and electricity used in the production of poultry, swine, horticulture, aquaculture and dairy. This $11 million annual exemption takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. Farms will have to receive documentation from the Department of Finance and Administration that certifies that their meter qualifies for the exemption. That certificate will be on record with appropriate utilities. DF&A will release the rules prior to the implementation date. Support increasing the timber tax by $.05 per acre and changing the name to “Timber Fire Suppression Fee.” This was an especially difficult bill to pass in the current General Assembly, but Sen. Bill Sample was willing to take on a hard task. SB 5 (Act 1391) increases the fee on forested land from 15-cents per acre to 20-cents per acre. The fee was last increased more than 20 years ago. Funds from this fee support the fire fighting and prevention efforts of the Arkansas Forestry Commission. This dedicated revenue will allow the agency to purchase new equipment and possibly expand fire prevention efforts. This

increase will first be assessed in 2013 and paid on 2014 taxes. Support a sales tax exemption for wrapping and binding materials used with agricultural equipment. SB 11 (Act 1392) introduced by Sen. Gary Stubblefield became the vehicle to exempt these input items. This full exemption for wrap/twine for cotton and forage will take effect on Oct. 1, 2013. It was promoted on the House side by Reps. Jon Eubanks, Joe Jett, Dan Douglas, Tommy Wren, Homer Lenderman and Jeff Wardlaw. Support a coalition effort for a sales tax exemption on parts and repairs if farm equipment is included. SB 334 (Act 1404) by Sen. Jake Files was part of the final tax package but the bill applies only to manufacturing equipment and labor. Oppose any reduction in agricultural sales tax exemptions. There were no bills filed this session to remove agriculture exemptions. While no effort was made by this General Assembly to reduce the current exemptions utilized by agriculture, reforming the state’s tax code is definitely of interest to many legislators. The legislature adopted about $160 million in annual tax reductions. It will be interesting to see how this tax package impacts future budgets. Most of these tax reductions adopted by the 89th General Assembly are not fully realized until 2016. Will future legislators continue this trend?


Support additional restrictions on sale of non-ferrous metals. Early in the session Farm Bureau decided to support multiple bills to increase the chances of passing meaningful legislation. Reps. Kim Hammer, David Hillman, and Walls McCrary united behind HB 1975 (Act 1354) by Rep. Darrin Williams which enhances penalties for metal theft, prohibits sales of metal by those formerly convicted of metal theft, establishes a crime when buyers purchase metal that they know, or should know is stolen, creates more stringent reporting requirements for scrap metal dealers and requires a license for scrap metal dealers. While this bill offers some remedies to limit metal theft and resale, we hope to add front end deterrents in future sessions. Despite appeals from farmers and others, the House Judiciary Committee rejected a comprehensive bill by Rep. Kim Hammer (HB 1414) that would have created a license to sell scrap metal and tougher dealer restrictions. Another bill (HB 1982) by Rep. David Hillman to prohibit cash sales for non-ferrous metals failed narrowly in the House Agriculture Committee. Farm Bureau also supported another bill by Rep. Walls McCrary to create an oversight board for scrap metal dealers, that bill was not presented. Support funding for the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture. While not targeted exclusively at the Division of Agriculture, higher education fought two bills this session that would have had definite influences on revenue and spending. HB 1418 would have shifted existing revenue into a dedicated revenue stream therefore reducing overall funds available. HB 1041 would have created a spending cap, altering flexibility in the state budget. Higher education is especially vulnerable to revenue changes and spending reductions.

Support a statutory priority for agricultural water use, second only to human consumption. The past two years of drought and the pending State Water Plan revision prompted this change in state law. Rep. Jeremy Gillam guided HB 2088 (Act 593) to final passage. Senator Ron Caldwell presented the bill on the Senate floor. It establishes agriculture as the first priority for water in a stream experiencing water shortage after human consumption. Cooperate with other interested groups to amend the term limits law to lengthen the terms that legislators can serve. The legislature has decided to refer an amendment that includes a term limit extension to the 2014 ballot. HJR 1009 is much broader than just term limits and Farm Bureau currently has no position on the proposed amendment. HJR 1009 - The Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency, and Financial Reform Amendment of 2014. This 21-page proposal involves three different issues. 1) It would allow legislators to serve 16 years total in the House or Senate, whereas they are now limited to specific number of years in each chamber. 2) It would create an independent commission to set salaries of state elected officials. 3) It would place limits on lobbying by former legislators and set limits on campaign donations and gifts from corporations and lobbyists. Arkansas Farm Bureau utilized our PAC dollars to commission a research study to determine the public’s perception of term limits and what proposal would be appealing at the ballot box. The study, co-sponsored by the State Chamber of Commerce, revealed that a term limit extension might find support at election time but it will need to be carefully crafted to gain popular support. County leaders will be asked to provide

HB 1536 Raw milk sales

HOUSE With FB: 19; Broadaway, Copenhaver, Ferguson, Hawthorne, Hillman, Hopper, Julian, Love, Magie, McCrary, McElroy, Nickels, Perry, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Wagner, Walker, Wardlaw Against FB: 60; Alexander, Baine, Baird, Ballinger, Baltz, Barnett, Bell, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Burris, Catlett, Clemmer, Collins, Dale, Davis, Deffenbaugh, Dogtson, C. Douglas, Edwards, Eubanks, Farrer, Fite, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Harris, Hickerson, Hobbs, Holcomb, House, Hutchinson, Jean, Jett, Kerr, Kizza, Lea, Leding, Lenderman, Linck, Lowery, Mayberry, McGill, McLean, D. Meeks, S. Meeks, Murdock, Neal, Payton, Ratliff, Rice, Richey, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Vines, Westerman, Whitaker, Womack Not Voting: 21; Altes, C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Carnine, Carter, Cozart, Dickinson, D. Douglas, Fielding, Hodges, Lampkin, Malone, Miller, Overbey, Slinkard, Smith, B. Wilkins, H. Wilkins, Williams, Word, Wright SENATE With FB: 11; Bledsoe, Bookout, Burnett, Chesterfield, Flowers, Hendren, Ingram, Lindsey, Maloch, Teague, Thompson Against FB: 19; Caldwell, Clark, Dismang, English, Files, Hester, Holland, Hutchinson, Irvin, Key, King, Lamoureux, Pierce, Rapert, Sanders, Stubblefield, E. Williams, Woods, Wyatt Not Voting: 4; Cheatham, Elliott, Hickey, Sample Excused: 1; Johnson

HB 1580 Bovine animal health

HOUSE With FB: 35; E. Armstrong, Barnett, Broadaway, Carnine, Catlett, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, D. Douglas, Eubanks, Farrer, Fielding, Hawthorne, Hillman, Hodges, Hopper, Jett, Julian, Kizza, Leding, Lenderman, Magie, McCrary, McElroy, S. Meeks, Nickels, Overbey, Richey, Sabin, Scott, Slinkard, Steel, Talley, Wagner, Whitaker Nays: 34; Alexander, Altes, Baird, Bell, Biviano, Branscum, Burris, Clemmer, Dotson, Fite, Gossage, Hammer, Harris, Hobbs, House, Hutchinson, Kerr, Linck, Lowery, Malone, Mayberry, McLean, D. Meeks, Miller, Neal, Payton, Ratliff, Shepherd, Vines, Walker, Westerman, Womack, Wren, Wright Not Voting: 31; C. Armstrong, Baine, Ballinger, Baltz, Bragg, Carter, Collins, Davis, Deffenbaugh, Dickinson, C. Douglas, Edwards, Ferguson, Gillam, Hickerson, Holcomb, Jean, Lampkin, Lea, Love, McGill, Murdock, Perry, Rice, Smith, Thompson, Wardlaw, B. Wilkins, H. Wilkins, Williams, Word continued on next page

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HB 1612 Veterinary student assistance

HOUSE With FB: 87; C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Baine, Baird, Ballinger, Baltz, Barnett, Bell, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Broadaway, Burris, Carnine, Catlett, Clemmer, Collins, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Davis, Deffenbaugh, Dickinson, Dotson, C. Douglas, D. Douglas, Edwards, Eubanks, Ferguson, Fielding, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hodges, Holcomb, House, Hutchison, Jett, Julian, Kerr, Kizzia, Lampkin, Lea, Leding, Lenderman, Linck, Love, Lowery, Magie, Malone, Mayberry, McCrary, McElroy, McGill, McLean, D. Meeks, S. Meeks, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Perry, Ratliff, Rice, Richey, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Slinkard, Smith, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Wardlaw, Westerman, Whitaker, B. Wilkins , H. Wilkins, Womack, Word, Wren, Wright Not Voting: 13; Alexander, Altes, Ballinger, Carter, Farrer, Fite, Harris, Hobbs, Hopper, Jean, Miller, Payton, Walker SENATE With FB: 34; Bledsoe, Bookout, Burnett, Caldwell, Cheatham, Chesterfield, Clark, Dismang, Elliott, English, Files, Flowers, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Holland, Hutchinson, Ingram, Johnson, Key, Lamoureux, Lindsey, Maloch, Pierce, Rapert, Sample, Sanders, Stubblefield, Teague, Thompson, Williams Woods, Wyatt Not Voting: 1; King

HB 1975 Metal theft prevention

HOUSE With FB: 85; Alexander, C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Baine, Baltz, Barnett, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Broadaway, Burris, Carnine, Catlett, Clemmer, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Davis, Deffenbaugh, Dickinson, C. Douglas, D. Douglas, Eubanks, Ferguson, Fielding, Fite, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Harris, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hobbs, Hodges, Holcomb, Hopper, Hutchison, Jean, Jett, Julian, Kerr, Kizzia, Lampkin, Leding, Lenderman, Linck, Love, Lowery, Magie, Mayberry, McCrary, McElroy, McGill, S. Meeks, Miller, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Payton, Perry, Ratliff, Rice, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Slinkard, Smith, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Wardlaw, Westerman, Whitaker, B. Wilkins, H. Wilkins, Williams, Womack, Word, Wren, Wright Nays: 4; Altes, Bell, House, D. Meeks Not Voting: 11; Baird, Ballinger, Carter, Collins, Dotson, Edwards, Farrer, Lea, Malone, McLean, Richey SENATE With FB: 32; Bledsoe, Bookout, Burnett, Caldwell, Chesterfield, Clark, Dismang, Elliott, English, Flowers, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Holland, Hutchinson, Ingram, Irvin, Johnson, Key, Lamoureux, Lindsey, Maloch, Pierce, Rapert, Sample, Sanders, Stubblefield, Teague, Thompson, Williams, Woods, Wyatt Nays: 1; Files Not Voting: 1; Cheatham, King

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guidance on the issue through policy development this year. Support additional funding for the Arkansas Veterinary Student Tuition Assistance Program. Reps. Jeremy Gillam and Jon Eubanks both worked to secure additional funds for expansion of this program through HB 1612 (Act 1387). We were unsuccessful in getting dedicated funds through Revenue Stabilization but we have commitments from individual legislators for money to fund the program through the General Improvement Fund. We have tentative commitments for about $250,000 in funds. GIF dollars are finalized at the end of August, so available funding for the program will be known in September. The current fund for this program was included in SB 122 (Act 1397) by the Joint Budget Committee. Support amending Arkansas’ brucellosis law to create the “Bovine Animal Health Program” and to set a maximum fee of $2 per head. HB 1580 by Rep. Brent Talley was given a Do Pass recommendation by the House Agriculture Committee but then defeated on the House floor by a vote of (Vote N: 34/Y: 35:NV 28). Many Representatives seemed unclear about how to vote on the bill after members spoke for and against the bill, including cattle owners on both sides of the issue. The House later expunged the vote. HB 1580 was almost identical to Farm Bureau policy, converting the Brucellosis Program to a more general Bovine Health Program and establishing a $2 cap on the fee that would have been used to fund such a program. Farm Bureau met with legislators and agency staff to discuss the best way to move forward. After negotiations it was clear that there was not a compromise that would make all parties happy and support to pass the bill as it was written was very questionable. The state agencies charged with implementing the program (Livestock and Poultry Commission and Arkansas Agriculture Department) both expressed hesitancy to advance a weakened bill. It was decided to set the issue aside for a future session.

Support current structure of commodity checkoff programs. Farm Bureau and friends were successful in defending the structure of the checkoffs against HB 1786. HB 1786 would have limited the participation of any board member who was actively engaged in the industry under the scope of a board or commission. HB 1967, a shell bill dealing with the rice checkoff, was never amended. Rep. John Hutchison also amended HB 2100 late in the session. The bill would have applied the Freedom of Information Law to any 501c(6) that receives 50 percent or more of its operating budget from a bureau, commission or agency of the state. The bill was defeated in committee. Support stiffer penalties and expanded enforcement for transporting live feral hogs. Rep. Walls McCrary’s HB 1478 (Act 1104) prohibits the transportation and release of feral hogs while increasing the penalties for violating these laws. The law allows one limited exception for tagged hogs transported to “terminal facilities,” such as fenced hunting ranches. The bill was amended early in the session to address the concerns of canned hunt facilities after the House Agriculture Committee heard testimony that the bill would “put them out of business.” Act 1104 creates a fine of at least $1,000 per feral hog for animals released into the wild or being transported. It also requires individuals to have a valid hunting license to hunt feral hogs. This provision keeps those whose license has been revoked from skirting their punishment for another crime. The Livestock and Poultry Commission will establish the tags and rules for the canned hunting facility exemption. That exemption will only apply to operations in place prior to August 16, 2013.


OTHER LEGISLATION Throughout the session, other bills arose that, while not official “priorities”, were still important to Arkansas agriculture. Animal Care/Livestock HB 1413 (Ratliff) Adds livestock activities to provisions that regulate liability for facility owners and sponsors of equine activities. Farm Bureau supported. Act 430 HB 1704 (Wren) Authorizes the governor to request extradition of persons charged with theft of property under the Packers and Stockyards Act, or related to the sale of livestock at auction. Farm Bureau supported. Act 498 HB 1705 (Wren) Allows a livestock owner to be granted a lien on livestock sold to a first purchaser for any unpaid portion of the sale. Farm Bureau supported. Act 499 HB 2024 (Ratliff) Adds one representative of the livestock industry and one representative of the forage industry, both appointed by the governor, to the Plant Board’s membership. Farm Bureau supported. Act 591 HB 2091 (Eubanks) To regulate production contracts, and protect growers from certain provision in production contracts. Referred to interim committee – House Agriculture, Forestry, Economic Development Committee. SB 13 (Stubblefield) Stipulates that an animal owner is only responsible for the expenses of a seized animal while that animal is in appropriate custody. Act 1160 SB 14 (Stubblefield) Creates a criminal offense of interference with a livestock or poultry operation for recording an image or sound from the operation for the purpose of harming the operation, entering the operation under false pretenses, and other actions. Bill died in Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 1016 (Stubblefield) Prohibits outof-state transfer of animals seized by law enforcement in a criminal investigation. Act 1175

SB 1032 (Stubblefield) Creates an enhanced penalty for impersonating a law enforcement official when the impersonation leads to seizure of an animal. Act 1178

Research & Promotion Boards and Checkoffs HB 1045 (Joint Budget) Appropriates funds to the Soybean Promotion Board for fiscal 2013-14 operations. Farm Bureau supported. Act 28 HB 1046 (Joint Budget)Appropriates funds to the Rice Research and Promotion Board for fiscal 2013-14 operations. Farm Bureau Supported. Act 29 HB 1079 (Joint Budget) Appropriates funds to the Wheat Promotion Board for fiscal 2013-14 operations. Farm Bureau supported. Act 54 HB 1117 (Joint Budget) Appropriates funds to the Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board for 2013-14 operations. Farm Bureau supported. Act 65 SB 16 (Joint Budget) Appropriates funds to the Arkansas Beef Council for 2013-14 operations. Farm Bureau supported. Act 9 SB 35 (Joint Budget) Appropriates funds to the Catfish Promotion Board for 2013-14 operations. Farm Bureau Supported. Act 16

Constitutional Amendments Legislators can refer up to three ballot issues to voters. Initially, they had 37 different proposals to consider. The General Assembly has settled on these three. • HJR1009 described under the Priority List Section under term limits. • SJR 7 — An Amendment Concerning the Review and Approval of Administrative Rules by a Legislative Committee. This proposal would give legislative committees prior review of new state agency rules

HB 1982 Metal theft prevention

House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee Roll Call With FB: 9; Branscum, D. Douglas, Jett, Lampkin, Link, Magie, McCrary, Ratliff, Thompson Nays: 3; Jean, S. Meeks, Steel Present: 7; Ballinger, C. Douglas, Edwards, Gillam, Leding, Lenderman, Shepherd Absent: 1; Eubanks

HB 2088 Priority use of water for agriculture HOUSE With FB: 84; Alexander, Altes, C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Baine, Baird, Ballinger, Baltz, Barnett, Bell, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Broadaway, Burris, Catlett, Clemmer, Collins, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Dickinson, Dotson, D. Douglas, Edwards, Eubanks, Farrer, Ferguson, Fite, Gillam, Hammer, Harris, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hobbs, Hodges, Holcomb, Hopper, House, Hutchison, Jean, Jett, Julian, Kerr, Lea, Leding, Lenderman, Love, Lowery, Magie, Malone, Mayberry, McCrary, McGill, McLean, D. Meeks, S. Meeks, Miller, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Payton, Perry, Ratliff, Rice, Richey, Scott, Shepherd, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Wardlaw, Westerman, Whitaker, B. Wilkins, H. Wilkins, Womack, Word, Wren, Wright Nays: 3; Linck, McElroy, Sabin Not Voting: 13; Carnine, Carter, Davis, Deffenbaugh, C. Douglas, Fielding, Gossage, Kizzia, Lampkin, Neal, Slinkard, Smith, Williams SENATE With FB: 27; Bledsoe, Bookout, Burnett, Caldwell, Cheatham, Chesterfield, Clark, Dismang, Elliott, English, Files, Flowers, Hendren, Hickey, Holland, Ingram, King, Lindsey, Maloch, Pierce, Rapert, Sample, Sanders, Stubblefield, Thompson, Woods, Wyatt Nays: 6, Hester, Hutchinson, Irvin, Johnson, Key, Teague Not Voting: 2; Lamoureux, Williams

SB 5 Timber fire suppression

SENATE With FB: 24; Bookout, Burnett, Caldwell, Cheatham, Chesterfield, Clark, Dismang, Elliott, Files, Flowers, Ingram, Johnson, Key, Lamoureux, Lindsey, Maloch, Pierce, Rapert, Sample, Stubblefield, Teague, Thompson, Wyatt Nays: 8; Bledsoe, English, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Hutchinson, Sanders, Williams Not Voting: 3; Holland, King, Woods HOUSE With FB: 75; Alexander, C. Armstrong, Baine, Baltz, Barnett, Bell, Bragg, Branscum, Carnine, Catlett, Clemmer, Collins, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Davis, Deffenbaugh, continued on next page

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Dickinson, C. Douglas, D. Douglas, Edwards, Eubanks, Farrer, Ferguson, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hobbs, Hodges, Holcomb, Hopper, House, Hutchison, Jett, Julian, Kizzia, Lampkin, Lenderman, Linck, Love. Lowery, Magie, McCrary, McElroy, McGill, S. Meeks, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Ratliff, Rice, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Slinkard, Smith, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Walker, Wardlaw, Whitaker, B. Wilkins, H. Wilkins, Williams, Womack, Word, Wren, Wright Nays: 10; Baird, Ballinger, Broadaway, Burris, Dotson, Harris, Mayberry, D. Meeks, Miller, Payton Not Voting: 14; Altes, E. Armstrong, Biviano, Carter, Fielding, Fite, Jean, Kerr, Lea, Leding, Malone, McLean, Perry, Richey Present: 1; Westerman

SB 122 Higher education appropriation

SENATE With FB: 33; Bledsoe, Bookout, Burnett, Caldwell, Cheatham, Chesterfield, Clark, Dismang, Elliott, English, Files, Flowers, Hendren, Hester, Hickey, Holland, Hutchinson, Ingram, Johnson, Key, Lamoureux, Lindsey, Maloch, Pierce, Rapert, Sample, Sanders, Stubblefield, Teague, Thompson, Williams, Woods, Wyatt Not Voting: 1; King Excused: 1; Irvin HOUSE With FB: 85; Altes, C. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, Baine, Baird, Ballinger, Baltz, Barnett, Bell, Biviano, Bragg, Branscum, Broadaway, Burris, Carnine, Catlett, Clemmer, Copenhaver, Cozart, Dale, Davis, Deffenbaugh, Dotson, C. Douglas, D. Douglas, Eubanks, Ferguson, Fielding, Gillam, Gossage, Hammer, Hawthorne, Hickerson, Hillman, Hodges, Holcomb, Hopper, House, Hutchison, Jean, Jett, Julian, Kizzia, Lampkin, Lea, Leding, Lenderman, Linck, Love, Lowery, Magie, Mayberry, McCrary, McElroy, McGill, McLean, D. Meeks, S. Meeks, Murdock, Neal, Nickels, Overbey, Ratliff, Rice, Richey, Sabin, Scott, Shepherd, Slinkard, Smith, Steel, Talley, Thompson, Vines, Wagner, Walker, Wardlaw, Westerman, Whitaker, H. Wilkins, Womack, Word, Wren, Wright Nays: 2; Harris, Miller Not Voting: 13; Alexander, Carter, Collins, Dickinson, Edwards, Farrer, Fite, Hobbs, Kerr, Malone, Payton, Perry, B. Wilkins

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before they go into effect. • SJR 16 — An Amendment Concerning Initiative and Referendum. The proposal would establish a signature threshold for ballot issue groups to meet if they want more time to collect additional signatures after turning in petitions to the Secretary of State. Petitions would need to contain at least 75 percent of valid signatures for a group to receive more time. Groups are usually given 30 additional days after submitting their original petitions to gather more signatures in case they fall short on the required number to place an issue on the ballot. (A previous version of this bill set the threshold at 90 percent.)

Dairy HB 1513 (Joint Budget) Appropriates supplemental funds to the Arkansas Agriculture Department from the General Improvement Fund for Dairy Stabilization Program Payments for fiscal 2013-14. Farm Bureau supported. Act 408 HB 1536 (Alexander) Allows unpasteurized whole cow’s milk to be sold directly to consumers at the farm where it is produced. Farm Bureau opposed. Act 1209

Education HB 1310 (Linck) Requires consolidated school districts to donate, or lease with a low cost, unused property to an institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, county, or city for preservation or educational use. Act 318 HB 1938 (Alexander) Suspends the administrative reorganization of school districts until at least April 2015; prohibits the State Board of Education from closing an isolated district until a legislative study of student transportation is completed. Referred to interim committee – House Education. HB 2055 (Hutchison) To create an Arkansas school for agriculture to serve public school students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Died in House Education Committee. SB 65 (Key) Amends the Public School Choice Act adding provisions limiting students to one school choice transfer per school year; deleting language prohibiting

transfers based on racial percentages, and more. Act 1227 SB 915 (Elliott) Requires the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board to implement rules allowing a person who has attended an in-state higher education institution for at least three years and graduated from an Arkansas high school to be eligible for in-state tuition. Referred in interim committee – Senate Education. A stagnant budget has created a shortfall in certain scholarship programs. The state financial aid programs have been exceeding their annual appropriations for several years. The appropriation shortages were covered by reserves that had built up through past years but available reserves are exhausted. A new streamlined application system has helped direct students to all applicable funding and as a result students are consuming more scholarship dollars. The Arkansas Health Education Grant is one of the programs that does not have adequate funding for student needs. The grant covers out-of-state tuition costs for certain Arkansas students in high demand medical fields, such as veterinarian medicine, dentistry, optometry, etc. The lack of reserves or additional appropriations will force the Department of Higher Education to cut awards this year. In 2012-2013, the state funded 30 dental, seven optometry, 12 veterinary, five chiropractic, two podiatry and four osteopathy students. The department has said it will not be able to fund that many this year. Governor Beebe has requested $1.1 million to be allocated for the grants from his rainy day fund but this is only a one year fix. Some legislators are rallying to see if they can fund the grant program during the next fiscal session.

Property Rights HB 1192 (Hammer) Prohibits property owners’ improvement districts from using eminent domain to acquire lands or rights-of-way outside of their boundaries, or water or sewer utilities within their boundaries but owned by a municipality or other improvement district. Farm Bureau supported. Act 290 HB 1773 (Cozart) Limits the extra territorial jurisdiction of cities. This simply


means that city zoning and planning can only be extended certain distances outside the city limits based on their population. Currently cities can plan and potentially zone up to five miles. Farm Bureau supported. Act 1053 SB 530 (Sample) Directs cities or incorporated towns shall not annex in a manner that does not create enclaves. An enclave is an area that is enclosed within and bounded on all sides by a single city or incorporated town. Farm Bureau supported. Act 1071 SB 531 (Sample) Directs cities to only annex areas that have residents who can vote on the annexation unless agreed upon by the mayor and county judge. It also prohibits cities from annexing partial sides of the road for maintenance standards. Farm Bureau supported. Act 1072 SB 861 (Irvin) requires municipal administrators to file annual reports of all annexations that became final in the previous 12 years and a report of services provided to the annexed areas; allows petition for detachment if service is not provided within three years. Farm Bureau supported. Act 1502

State Agencies SB 1172 (King) Revises provisions concerning the membership of the Arkansas Agriculture Board. Died in the Senate Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee.

Taxes And spending HB 1041 Would have created a spending cap for state government based on a set formula. After an amendment battle on the House floor the bill was referred to committee, amended, given a Do Pass recommendation from the committee but ultimately the bill failed on the House floor. Farm Bureau did not take a position. HB 1418 Would have shifted some highway related sales tax revenue (car batteries, tires, etc.) to the highway department. The bill was defeated in committee. This bill represents a very real struggle for economic development advo-

cates, the need to balance between good infrastructure and an educated prepared workforce. Farm Bureau did not take a position. SB 298 (Dismang) Creates a sales tax exemption for utilities used by grain drying and storage facilities. Act 1401 SB 299 (Teague, Bragg) Increases the amount exempt from sales and use taxes in purchases of timber harvesting equipment from the first $50,000 dollars of the purchase price to the entire amount of the purchase. Act 1402 SB 791 (Sample) Will reduce the sales tax on utilities for manufacturing; this bill has been amended to include cotton gins. Act 1411 SB 817 (Maloch) Requires that producing mineral interests be reappraised annually for ad valorem tax purposes. Act 1520 SB 876 (Sample) Repeals the sales and use tax exemption for Class 6 and Class 7 trucks and semitrailers increases the excise tax on distillate special fuel from $.085 to $.095 per gallon, and make technical corrections to reflect that change. Died in the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. SB 941 (Sample) Provides an income tax exemption for drop-in biofuels manufacturers who invest at least $20,000,000 into their enterprise and create at least 100 new jobs. Act 1418

Transportation

wireless broadband to encourage the development of wireless broadband, primarily to rural areas of the state. House amendment one adopted. Died in Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. SB 926 (Teague) Creates a state broadband chair or other mechanism or entity to promote, develop, and coordinate broadband expansion and appropriate broadband infrastructure for all areas of the state. Act 1168 SB 1045 (Chesterfield) Creates incentives for Internet providers to improve coverage and access by establishing broadband providers of last resort. Referred to interim committee - Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs.

Water, Ports and Levees  HB 1025 (McElroy) Creates an alternative system of assessments for levee districts that include more than two counties and take action to adopt the alternative system. Act 570 HB 1921 (Edwards) Requires the Arkansas Waterways Commission to establish a grant program for port authorities, private terminals and inter modal authorities to fund port development projects. Act 1483

SB 889 (Cheatham) Increases allowable length of semitrailers or trailers operating on the state’s highways from 53 1/2 feet to 57 feet by permit. Act 1092 SB 1072 (Files) Sets a new weight limit of 36,500 pounds for five-axle vehicles, 20,000 pounds for single axle vehicles, and a total gross weight of 85,000 pounds for vehicles hauling animal feed to owners of livestock or poultry through a special permit, except on federal interstate highways. Act 1267

Rural Services  HB 2164 (Carter) Provides a sales and use tax exemption for equipment and other items and services used to provide

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HB 1929 (Davis) Requires the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission to develop and implement standards for assessment of streams feeding domestic water supplies to determine mineral content. Act 954 HB 2252 (Leding) Prohibits ADEQ from granting or denying a discharge permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation until the applicant publishes a notice of intent twice a week for six weeks in a newspaper of statewide daily publication. Act creates a committee to make recommendations about notification process for permits. Act 1511 SB 1070 (Flowers) Authorizes county collectors to certify all delinquent fees to a drainage or levee improvement district for collection after January 1 each year and impose penalties on behalf of the district, or forward the list to the land commissioner. Farm Bureau supported. Act 1186

OTHER

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 SB 845 (Key) Requires the Arkansas Agriculture Department to evaluate the potential economic benefits of entering into agricultural exchanges with Israel and other countries and report findings to the agriculture committees of the House and Senate. Act 1501 HB 2230 (Wright) Provides for issuance of a special vehicle license plate for support of the Arkansas Rice Council. Act 1121 SB 902 (Clark) Creates a penalty for removing a tracking device from a hunting dog or falcon. Act 1094 SB 906 (Pierce) Makes the removal of a posted sign, a fence or a portion of a fence a Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass. Act 960

SB 1190 (Maloch) Amends provisions related to the licensing of commercial applicators of crop protectants. Withdrawn from further consideration.

Legislative Effective Dates  August 15, 2013 - Most new laws created this session take effect. A good number of the bills passed each session contain an emergency clause, meaning they became incorporated into the Arkansas code as soon the legislation was signed by the governor. But without an emergency clause or another specified effective date, an act becomes the law of the land ninety calendar days after legislative adjournment sine die — for this year, August 15th. Other acts have a longer time frame for implementation. Most of the tax cuts passed at the end of the session will not go into effect until the 2014 tax year, for example. October 1, 2013 – Sales Tax Exemption on baling wrap and twine for forage, silage and cotton goes into effect – Act 1392 (SB 11). Enrollment in health care exchanges begins. January 1, 2014 - Voter ID law and some tax cuts go into effect. Sen. Bryan King’s law requiring citizens to present photo ID when voting becomes effective at the beginning of 2014, although its first impact won’t be felt until 2014 primary elections. January 1, 2014 - HB 1039 (Act 1441) sales tax exemption on the sale of utilities (natural gas, LPG and electricity) for livestock, poultry, commercial horticulture, aquaculture operations takes effect. July 1, 2014 – effective date for sales tax exemption for timber harvesting equipment and utilities sales tax exemption for grain dryers. Sales tax rate for manufacturing utilities (including cotton gins) drops to one-percent. July 1, 2015 –sales tax on manufacturing utilities drops to zero. Manufacturers will continue to pay 5/8 of a percent sales tax on utilities to support the conservation tax and the half cent sales tax for highways.


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Representing more than 200,000 Arkansas families, Farm Bureau is the state’s largest membership organization.

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