Week 5 Legislative Scorecard

Conduit for Action Legislative Session Weekly Scorecard:

Week 5 – February 13 – February 17, 2017

Budget, Tax, and Welfare Reform


Unemployment tax cut and incentives to seek employment

Sponsor: Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-H87) / Sen. Jim Hendren (R-S2)

This bill would cut the unemployment insurance tax. Currently the tax applies on the wage base at $12,000 and this would reduce that down to $10,000. The bill cuts the number of weeks a person can receive unemployment benefits from 20 weeks down to 16 weeks. The bill additionally cuts the benefit received from the current rate of 1/26th of the quarterly wage amount down to 1/30th of the quarterly wage amount. Overall, this bill cuts taxes, and decreases a person’s dependency on government by incentivizing them to find a job sooner.


Restricts SNAP benefits waiver requests; protects current SNAP benefits work requirement

Sponsor: Rep. Austin McCollum (R-H95)

This bill would prohibit DHS from seeking, applying for, accepting, or renewing any waiver of work requirements to receive SNAP welfare benefits. This will uphold the current Arkansas status quo of the work requirement or similar requirements as being a condition of SNAP benefits. This would affirm the legislative authority to grant or seek any waivers for the SNAP program. This would safeguard changes in administrations at the executive level. Previously, Gov. Beebe’s administration received a waiver of the work requirement for SNAP benefits. Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed this waiver to continue for a year but did not seek a new waiver. In Louisiana, Gov. Jindal did not seek the waiver, but their new Democrat governor did seek the waiver. It brings the decision for waivers to the legislative branch. This would decrease dependency on government by continuing to incentivize people to work and avoid waivers being approved if a change in administration occurs.


Freezes Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (Private Option, Arkansas Works) enrollment

Sponsor: Rep. Josh Miller (R-H66)

This bill would end enrollment in the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion program (previously called the “Private Option” and currently called “Arkansas Works). Those already enrolled would still be eligible to renew enrollment. As is well known the population included in the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion are generally able-bodied, working age adults. Original estimates for this program and population were 215,000. Enrollment as October 2016 was 324,318 and current estimates push this number between 330,000 and 340,000 with further growth expected. This growth rate and program is simply unsustainable and the state’s burden to pay increases with each year. With reforms at the federal level pending, it would be wise to freeze this program and enrollment at this time. Supporters of Governor Hutchinson’s Obamacare Medicaid Expansion will say you cannot set a “cap” on enrollment, but this is NOT a cap. It ends enrollment and enrollment would go down as people go off the Medicaid Expansion program.


Ends slush funds for legislators but transfers the money to a slush fund for the Governor.

Sponsor: Sen. Trent Garner (R-S27) / Rep. Jeff Williams (R-H89)

General Improvement Funds (GIF) for legislators has been a fraud-ridden re-election slush fund that currently allows legislator to direct taxpayer money to private persons and to the projects of political friends. GIF for legislators is a major problem that must be ended. As written, however, the bill merely transfers GIF slush funds for legislators to a huge slush fund for the Governor. The Governor would be able to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars with a 2/3rd vote of a single legislative committee.  This is not much of a standard when you consider the standard under the Arkansas Constitution for appropriating money is a vote of 3/4th of the House of Representative and 3/4ths of the Senate. The bill needs to be amended to eliminate the spending for the governor and let the money be appropriated by the legislature by law.




Personal and family finance class requirement for public school graduation

Sponsor: Rep. Andy Davis (R-H31)

This bill requires each public high school student to earn a credit in a personal and family finance course before graduation. These courses would include education on money management, taxes, budgeting, insurance, credit and debt management, savings and investing, interviewing, and other job skills. This bill would benefit both the students and the state of Arkansas. Students would be taught more personal responsibility with their finances, rather than depending on the government to provide and/or subsidize these personal responsibilities. Long term this would create a more educated workforce for the state of Arkansas and more financially responsible residents of Arkansas.




Tire taxes and regulations

Sponsor: Rep. Lanny Fite (R-H23)

This bill overhauls tire fees and regulations in Arkansas. It implements new “fees” and raises the “disposal fee” on new tires. New fees, per a DFA impact statement, would raise $1.5 million, while the shortfall at ADEQ for the disposal of the tires is reported at only $900,000. A new “rim fee” would be implemented when you break off a used tire for a new tire. Those who depend on used tires who cannot afford or get new tires will be hit hardest with these new fees and regulations. These new fees are not being called “new taxes” since that term seems to be rejected no matter what new revenue generation occurs. Also in this bill is a new tracking system implementing a lot of regulation, reporting, licensing of transporters, and other hurdles for the used tire and distribution businesses here in Arkansas. It would prevent giving tires away for others to use because under this bill they can only be given to a licensed transporter on the way to a retailer. This bill is 33 pages of new fees and regulations.


Constitutional Amendment


Loser pays Tort Reform; caps on punitive damages

Sponsor: Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-H57) / Sen. Bruce Maloch (D-S12)

Conduit for Action is a proponent of tort reform and prefer this version due to its direct and laser focus on the primary issues involved—capping the amount of recovery and loser pay.  This resolution avoids extremes and is a compromised position between the legislature and judicial branches.  We oppose the competing SJR8–tort reform–primarily because it effectively dismantles the judiciary by giving the General Assembly (and special interests) full control over writing the legal rules of practice, procedures, and pleadings (currently written by the elected Supreme Court) which will affect much more than simply creating business friendly tort reform.


Scorecard Year-To-Date

Bill #

Description Score


prohibiting PAC-to-PAC contributions OPPOSE


prohibiting PAC-to-Candidate contributions


HB1018 Annexation procedures amended



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



Allows annexed landowners to vote to get out of annexation SUPPORT
HB1387 Prohibits seat belt violations as only cause for stopping a vehicle



Income tax credit for small businesses hiring recently returned veterans SUPPORT
HB1405 Unemployment tax cut and incentives to seek employment



requiring electronic filing of campaign finance reports; provides searchable database for campaign contributions SUPPORT
HB1442 Personal and family finance class requirement for public school graduation



Restricts SNAP benefits waiver requests; protects current SNAP benefits work requirement SUPPORT
HB1465 Freezes Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (Private Option, Arkansas Works) enrollment



prohibits game warden from entering private property without a warrant SUPPORT
SB102 Limits the max fine for not wearing a seatbelt to $25



Income tax deduction for homeschool expenses, private school tuition SUPPORT
SB115 Reduces income tax rates on lowest tax bracket; creates Tax Reform Task Force



Income tax exemption for retired military; tax cut for soda syrup; new tax on digital products; raised taxes on soda and 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 SUPPORT
SB325 #endGIF and saves money until needed for budget deficiency


SB4 & HB1010

Publishing PAC reports, exploratory committees, Independent Expenditures SUPPORT
SB5 & HB1009 Prohibits constitutional officers from forming more than one PAC



Adds continuing education program for HVACR licensees OPPOSE
SJR10 Fair Ballot Titles; 3/4th majority vote for legislative proposed constitutional amendments



A constitutional amendment to move from elected supreme court justices to appointment process OPPOSE
SJR8 Tort reform; giving General Assembly power over certain court matters; caps contingency fee agreements


HJR1019 / SJR13 Loser-Pays Tort Reform




Week One Scorecard

Week Two Scorecard

Week Three Scorecard

Week Four 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.