Week One 2019 Legislative Session Scorecard

During the 92nd General Assembly regular legislative session, Conduit for Action (CFA) will again be tracking bills in the legislature. CFA will take a position on some bills and either support or oppose them using the CFA Economic Freedom Filter. This filter looks at whether a piece of legislation allows 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 also score bills that support a transparent, open, and honest government that is accountable to the people.

After the legislative session, CFA may then select from these bills for a final scorecard giving a ranking and score to legislators. These rankings will show which legislators voted for a more limited government with more economic freedom in Arkansas.

The purpose for this scoring of votes weekly is to educate the people of Arkansas on upcoming votes and how they may affect economic freedom and liberty for individuals and small businesses, and to educate legislators on where Conduit for Action stands on various bills. Conduit for Action will continue to be a voice for small business in Arkansas advocating for a more limited government.

You can find contact information for your legislators HERE. You can sign up for text alerts from Conduit by texting the word “JOIN” to 501-292-2683.

SJR2 – Ending Sovereign Immunity (To Allow Lawsuits Against Government) – SUPPORT

By: Sen. Dave Wallace (R – Leachville)

In 2018 the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the plain reading of the Arkansas Constitution was clear – the state could not be made a defendant in any of her courts. This reinstituted the doctrine of “sovereign immunity” that would prohibit citizens from filing lawsuits against their state government.

SJR2 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to provide causes of action in the law in which a person COULD sue the state. Absent this type of change the doctrine of sovereign immunity could be used more routinely to block any and all lawsuits against the state.

This proposed constitutional amendment would provide for a more honest and open government providing strong incentives for the state to treat all persons equally and to stay within the constitutional confines found in the Arkansas constitution. This type of measure is also needed to ensure that illegal exaction lawsuits may continue. Illegal exaction lawsuits are brought to prevent government from illegally spending taxpayer money.


SB52 – No Pensions for Criminal Government Employees – SUPPORT

By: Sen. Mark Johnson (R – Little Rock)

2018 saw the culmination of rampant corruption investigations into former Arkansas legislators for bribery and fraud. The best-known incidents included the trial, conviction, and sentencing for former State Senator Jon Woods who got over 18 years in prison for his corruption charges. Investigations continue and indictments are still coming.

This legislation would strip the pension/retirement benefits for public employees who are convicted a felony that is tied to their public position. For example, because former Sen. Jon Woods’ felony convictions were due to his position as a state senator, he would have his pension benefits stripped.

This bill would provide even stronger incentives for public officials and public employees to reject temptations for illegal and corrupt behavior, thus providing a more open and honest government.


SB118 – Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses – SUPPORT

By: Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton)

SB118 would protect free speech on college campuses in Arkansas. The legislation would address what are commonly called “free speech zones” where colleges try to contain free speech within defined areas of a campus. Free speech zones would be prohibited under the bill. The legislation would prohibit colleges from suppressing free speech including ideas and opinions they find offensive, jarring, conservative, liberal, or otherwise objectionable. Colleges would no longer be able to prohibit organizations and others from getting prior permits in order to exercise their free speech rights. Colleges could not charge security fees based on the content of a speech and could not disinvite a speaker because the college may not like the content or viewpoint of a speaker.

This legislation would provide for a better marketplace of ideas and stop the silencing of conservative speakers on college campuses. Students would have a cause of action to enforce their free speech rights against government actors. This legislation would provide a more open, honest, transparent government that is accountable to the people.


HB1002 – New Internet Sales Tax – OPPOSE

By: Rep. Dan Douglas (R – Bentonville)

HB1002 is essentially the same as SB140 of 2017 (which failed last session). In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld similar legislation passed in South Dakota allowing for an internet sales tax under certain conditions. HB1002 is tailored to that same law upheld by the Supreme Court. While it may now be constitutional, passage of a new internet sales tax is by no means required. Like Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, it is up to each state on whether they want to pass a massive tax increase or not.

What you need to know about the Internet Sales tax is that it is a TAX ON YOU, not on out state remote sellers. YOU pay the tax. It also grows government at all levels – state, county, and city. Passage of the law would mean that there would be less money in the pockets of Arkansans and thus the economy, and instead in the coffers of city, county, and state government. The Governor has already assumed that an Internet Sales Tax will pass this session and included the increased revenue into the budget. It is likely that the language in HB1002 may be incorporated into other tax legislation as part of the Governor’s tax reform plan.

The Internet Sales Tax is simply a way to grow government and raise tax revenue. It will decrease economic freedom for Arkansans. Very few elected officials campaigned and were elected on a promise to pas a new internet sales tax on the people of Arkansas. Many even promised the opposite – to not raise any taxes and to lower taxes.


HB1060 – Adding Continuing Education Requirements for HVACR Licensees – OPPOSE

By: Rep. Roger Lynch (R – Lonoke)

This same type of legislation was filed by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (now indicted) last session. The bill would require continuing education requirements for heating, ventilation, air condition, and refrigeration (HVACR) licensees. The bill allows the HVACR licensing board to set up a program, assess fees, and set hour requirements for continuing education. To have a license renewed they must show completion of the continuing education requirement.

This new requirement is increased regulation on HVACR licensees. While some in the field may advocate for the legislation, some may use it has a sword to stifle out competition. The increased compliance costs would be passed along to consumers through increased prices or lower quality service. Without less competition and increased compliance costs prices will rise and consumers will lose. This reduces economic freedom and leans on government intervention rather than a free marketplace.

According to the state legislative website Roger Lynch is “Self Employed – Heating, Air Conditioning”.