Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 92nd General Assembly
March 14th, 2019 • News

March 14, 2019

  • Many of this year’s major bills have gone through the legislative process and are now law.
  • The list is impressive. We’ve approved a highway program, a teacher pay raise, income tax cuts, stronger ethics and campaign finance laws and a sweeping overhaul in how juvenile offenders are sentenced.
  • But in every session, there is always that one bill that creates a logjam. This year, it is the governor’s proposal to re-structure state government.
  • It has been stalled in committee for weeks, which is not surprising when you consider how far-reaching it is.
  • It is over 2,500 pages long, and every citizen in Arkansas who has dealings with state government will be affected. That means it will affect just about every citizen in Arkansas.
  • I have several questions about the proposal, and one of my main concerns is that it’s taking away time and attention from other important and more pressing issues.
  • For example, we still have to decide on proposed constitutional amendments to refer to voters in next year’s general election.
  • I’m sponsoring a measure to tighten up the laws governing how citizens’ groups gather signatures and get their initiatives placed on the ballot.
  • The current procedure is a legal and bureaucratic mess. Getting ballot issues approved is time-consuming and expensive. It frustrates ordinary citizens and it favors special interests that are loaded with cash.
  • The problems in the ballot initiative process need to be corrected as soon as possible. On the other hand, the governor’s plan to re-organize state government may require further study, and if that’s the case, there’s no harm done.
  • Besides choosing constitutional amendments, we also have to finalize state agency spending levels for next fiscal year.
  • No matter how things turn out, I can safely say that it has already been a very productive session.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from March 14, 2019