This week, the House voted overwhelmingly to raise teacher salaries, increase a tax credit, and increase fines for distracted driving in school zones.
HB1145, titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act, would raise the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next 4 years. The House voted 91-0 in favor the legislation. The bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee.
The House also voted in favor of increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit. HB1321 raises the credit from $350 to $375 a year.
In a vote of 93-0, the House voted in favor of HB1006. This bill raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus. This bill raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.
Other legislation passing the House this week include:
HB1182-This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.
HB1176-This bill allows the Department of Health to set standards and goals to create human breast milk banks & depositories in Arkansas.
HB1246-This bill changes the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices. Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. This extends it to four weeks after the general election.
HB1225-This bill requires the Department of Human Services to post all the regulations and necessary information to start a child care facility in one central location on the agency’s website. This creates a one stop shop online in hopes of opening more childcare facilities in the state.
HB1128-This bill allows the Governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats.
HB1296-This bill prohibits and occupational licensing board from revoking licenses specifically for a defaulted or delinquent student loan.
HB1249-This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a non-profit organization helping veterans.
According to testimony, there are currently 1,200 veterans serving a sentence in the Department of Correction. This new facility would help veterans re-enter society after their sentence is served. The non-profit group says it will also assist homeless veterans, those with substance abuse issues, and those coming home from war zones.
In the upcoming week, we expect to address the Governor’s tax cut proposal and hear more proposals regarding highway funding.
We are also approaching the deadline to file proposed Constitutional Amendments. That deadline is February 13.
We will continue to keep you updated. You can watch all committees and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.