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Upcoming Legislative SessionPosted Friday, January 11, 2013, at 10:18 AM
In only a few days, our Arkansas General Assembly will be in session.
This session could prove to be a little different than those of the past. This year, unlike all years in past sessions, the Senate and also the House of Representatives will be in a majority with the Republican party having a majority in both houses. We may ask ourselves how will this affect the situation with the law making process, compared to previous years. I personally do not expect a lot of change, due to the laws being passed, are neither Democrat nor Republican. All bills that pass through our legislature and on to the Governor's desk are designed for the overall good of the citizens of Arkansas. So, we hope that this past performance will continue. The portion that I feel like we all need to become aware of is the heavy amount of new legislators that are entering our Senate and House. There are going to be quite a few new people, and in most cases, such as school funding and state government, there will be lobbyists who are in place to make sure that all situations and complicated issues will be handled properly. The concern that I have will be for our county and city governments.
Mr. Don Zimmerman, of the Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties are place to look after city and county governments. A concern is the possibility of an abundance of bills that could overload the legislature within these two portions of government. Poinsett County is gifted with mayors that stay in tune with what is happening on the state level. I hope that each and every one of our mayors will stay in tune, daily, with their computers because bills can pop up on the computer one day and the next day be within committee.
As far as county government, we do have the Association of Arkansas Counties. There are approximately five people at the AAC that have a constant tracking of all bills that are coming before all committees, especially the Revenue and Taxation Committee and the City, County and Local Affairs Committee.
Our counties are in most cases notified well in advance of any bill that can cause damage to any part of county government. We all must realize that our state has four corners. What is good for one part of the state, within legislation, can have an adverse effect on one or more parts of our state. This is where our involvement is essential. We must let our local legislators know about bills that could possibly sound good in some situations, but, could very well have a negative effect on our cities and counties in Northeast Arkansas. It would also be great if our citizens could become involved in our "Watching Process".
After all, if certain bills have a negative effect on city and county governments, these bills could also have a negative effect on our citizens. I encourage you to keep in tune with the process at the capitol beginning in only a few days. We all know our State Representatives and our State Senators. We need to let them know if a bill could have an adverse effect with our cities, county and for our citizens in our area.
Just remember, it is a lot easier to stop bad legislation on the front end, than to let the legislation become law, and have to come back at a later date and have a law changed.
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