Week 4 Legislative Scorecard

Conduit for Action Legislative Session Weekly Scorecard:

Week 4 – February 6 – February 10, 2017

Government Transparency


Requiring electronic filing of campaign finance reports; searchable database for contributions

Sponsor: Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-H90)

This bill requires campaign finance reports be filed online with the Secretary of State’s office. Currently, people can choose to file online or mail or fax in paper document. By requiring electronic filing, it would provide more transparency in government and allow the public to truly “follow the money” with a searchable database to see who is giving how much to which candidates. For those legislators who are not able to file online there is a waiver process if they face a hardship.

CFA would further support an amendment to remove or change the exception allowing some to continue filing in paper form, making these reports unsearchable by the public. If the exemption is not removed, then added language directing the Secretary of State’s office to input the data into the searchable database should be considered. An amendment might also consider requiring other forms be filed electronically for use in the searchable database including: (1) a public official’s statement of financial interest, (2) disclosure of sales by a member of the general assembly to the government (3) lobbyist reports (4) political action committee reports (5) and independent expenditure committee reports. Conduit for Action has repeatedly advocated for electronic filings for all these forms and advocates for legislation bringing more transparency in government.


Regulation/Occupational Licensing/Employment


Microbrewery production caps increased

Sponsor: Rep. Grant Hodges (R-H96)

This bill would increase the caps on microbrewery production from 20,000 barrels per year to 45,000 barrels per year. This bill would allow flexibility for microbreweries operating in different cities. The bill would allow a microbrewery in one city to produce the beer there and transport it to another location they have across town or in another city. This bill would help microbrewery businesses to increase production and more easily transport their product. This will allow the business to grow and create more jobs. This is a good bill that will roll back excessive regulation and promote small business in Arkansas.


Property Legislation


Allows annexed landowners to vote to get out of annexation

Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Cozart (R-H24) / Sen. Alan Clark (R-S13)

This bill would allow for those annexed into a municipality a change to vote to detach from the annexation. Those seeking to bring this election would have one year from the date of the annexation to bring the petition. If the detachment petition succeeds, then the annexed land must be detached. This bill would give people a voice when a city annexes their land. It will allow them to at least bring a vote to undo the annexation. This promotes individual property rights and individual liberty.


Tax Legislation


Income tax credit for small businesses hiring recently returned veterans

Sponsor: Rep. Greg Leding (D-H86)

This bill would provide a taxpayer a $1,500 credit per veteran who has recently returned from active duty military. It would require the small business employer to employee the recently returned veteran for at least eight (8) months out of the year to receive the credit. Like ideal tax credits, it is not refundable or freely transferable. At the end of the day this bill would mean more money left in the taxpayer’s pocket and less for the government.

Personal Freedoms


Prohibits seat belt violations as only cause for stopping a vehicle

Sponsor: Rep. John Payton (R-H64) / Sen. Terry Rice (R-S9)

This bill would prohibit a law enforcement officer form stopping a person solely to determine their compliance with mandatory seat belt usage. This would increase the freedom a person has on whether to wear their seatbelt in their private vehicle. Seat belt laws for adults are the only ones in which the public’s safety is not truly in jeopardy. A person would be less safe for not wearing a seatbelt, but should government really be forcing people to engage in activity that does not hurt anyone else. This bill could also put an end to quota systems on seat belt law violations simply to raise revenue for a government entity.

Constitutional Amendments


Fair Ballot Titles; requiring 3/4th majority vote for legislative proposed constitutional amendments

Sponsor: Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-S19)

This proposed constitutional amendment would make it harder for the legislature to propose constitutional amendments to the people for a popular vote.  Currently, a simple majority of the House and Senate can propose up to three proposed constitutional amendments during each legislative session. This would change that to require a 3/4th vote in the House and Senate, but maintain the three allowed per session rule.

It would also place standards of naming ballot titles and popular names on the legislature similar to that which the people must adhere to. Currently, there is no requirement that the names of a ballot title or popular name be fair and impartial and can arguable be named just about anything they want, even if it is misleading or hides what all the proposed constitutional amendment does. This has become an issue as legislators have used ballot titles and subtitles (they know cannot be challenged) to mislead the public regarding the real meaning and consequence of a proposed amendment.  For example, Issue 3 of 2016 subtitle was “An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to encourage Job Creation, Job Expansion, and Economic Development.”  Who would ever vote against “job creation” at the ballot box?  Requiring a title and popular name not be misleading would provide the people fair representation of what a proposed amendment would entail.

This resolution would try to avoid any misleading ballot titles by requiring the ballot title and popular name be a “impartial summary of the proposed amendment” giving voters a fair understanding of the “purpose” of the amendment, the issues presented by the amendment, and scope and significance of the proposed amendment. Upon passage of both chambers of the general assembly, the ballot title and popular name would then be sent to the Attorney General to be certified. If the Attorney General finds the names to be misleading, then they can change the name so as not to be misleading. This is the same process for ballot titles that the people must go through. If this process fails the taxpayer, they could then bring a challenge to the ballot title in the same manner people can challenge initiatives brought by the people.

Conduit for Action has written a separate article addressing SJR10 and can be found HERE.


Tort reform; giving General Assembly power over certain court matters, caps contingency fee agreements

Sponsor: Sen. Missy Irvin (R-S18)

Conduit for Action is an advocate for tort reform. Tort reform is long overdue, but this proposed constitutional amendment gives the General Assembly powers we cannot support. The primary reason CFA will oppose this amendment because it gives the General Assembly powers over the rules of legal pleading, practice, and procedure now prescribed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. This change combines power into one or two branches of government which is very ill advised. Most legislators admittedly have minimal experience with the purpose or implication of rules of legal practice. The changes they will implement will by necessity only reflect those made by special interests and not by the people of Arkansas.

Another provision in this bill not specifically related to tort reform is a cap on contingency fees that an attorney may privately agree to with their private clients. This is worrisome because it violates the freedom to contract principle many conservatives adhere to. The government should not interject itself into private contracts between two independent private persons.  Any potential abuses or grievances from these types of agreements are already addressed under current law and civil procedure.

Other concerns include provisions requiring a simple majority vote to change award amounts during the anticipated second term of the current government, and then increasing it to a 2/3 majority vote in 2021. Constitutional amendments that give power to the legislature to come back and change the law through legislation open the door from continuing outside influence. An up or down constitutional amendment would be ideal.

Conduit for Action supports tort reform which includes loser pay language protecting small businesses and shielding against frivolous lawsuits. However, because of the reasons outlined above CFA opposed this tort reform measure.


Scorecard Year To Date





prohibiting PAC-to-PAC contributions OPPOSE


prohibiting PAC-to-Candidate contributions OPPOSE
HB1018 Annexation procedures amended



Licensing of hearing instrument dispensers OPPOSE
HB1035 Restricts use of SNAP benefits to the purchase of foods with enough nutritional value



Exempts hate offense litigation in an employer-employee relationship SUPPORT
HB1161 & SB119 Creates new earned income tax credit



Authorizing advanced practice registered nurse recognized as primary care provider under medicaid SUPPORT
HB1222 School Choice and Education Savings Accounts



Reduction of income tax rates if revenue from those rates is greater than 3% from the previous year SUPPORT
HB1272 Microbrewery production caps increased



requiring electronic filing of campaign finance reports; provides searchable database for campaign contributions SUPPORT
SB101 prohibits game warden from entering private property without a warrant



Limits the max fine for not wearing a seatbelt to $25 ($50) SUPPORT
SB112 Income tax deduction for homeschool expenses, private school tuition



Reduces income tax rates on lowest tax bracket; creates Tax Reform Task Force SUPPORT IF AMENDED
SB120 Income tax exemption for retired military; new tax on digital products; tax cut for soda syrup; tax increase on soda/candy



New Internet Sales Tax OPPOSE
SB175 Disclosure of benefits received by government officials from medicaid providers



Decreases number of juvenile criminal detention facility review committees


SB4 & HB1010

Publishing PAC reports, exploratory committees, Independent Expenditures


SB5 & HB1009

Prohibits constitutional officers from forming more than one PAC



Adds continuing education program for HVACR licensees


SJR4 A constitutional amendment to move from elected supreme court justices to appointment process OPPOSE


Week One Scorecard

Week Two Scorecard

Week Three Scorecard



Conduit for Action, Inc. (CFA) promotes the reduction in the size and scope of Arkansas state government with the belief such reduction would proportionately increase individual freedom and liberties and economic prosperity for all Arkansans.  During the Arkansas 91st General Assembly regular legislative session, CFA will issue weekly tracking and of relevant bills filed by the legislature.  CFA will take a position on those bills and either support or oppose them using the CFA Economic Freedom Filter. This filter looks at whether a piece of legislation promotes more freedom or less freedom by considering: (1) If it grows or shrinks government, (2) Increases/Decreases dependency on government, and/or (3) Spends money the state does not have.

CFA will be highlighting the bills (by topic) recently filed and which may be considered for either a committee or full chamber vote. CFA will additionally be tracking and scoring those bills mentioned. These scores will assist in rankings for the annual Calvin Coolidge Heroes of Freedom awards, highlighting those state legislators promoting legislation which promotes reducing the scope and size of government.


*This scorecard, its contents, and positions on legislation is policy only and does not indicate any personal support for or against a specific legislator-sponsor.