Legislative Update for County and City Officials

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On this past Friday, May 1st, both county and city officials met at the Poinsett County Courthouse Annexation Building. Meeting with our local officials was Representatives Dwight Tosh of Jonesboro. Also, present was Senator John Cooper of Jonesboro. The reason for the meeting was for updates with legislation that occurred during the recent legislative session held at the State Capitol in Little Rock. The 90th Arkansas General Assembly met from early January until late March of this year.

During a normal legislation session, there are approximately 2,000 pieces of legislation that become law. With the new laws, there are always between 200 and 300 bills that directly involve county officials. The same can be said about municipal government. During each legislative session, there has been some variance, but there seems to be approximately 200 to 300 bills that directly involve our city governments. There is a portion of all of these bills that have a direct involvement from both county and city officials, while on their way to become law. There are other bills that neither county or city officials have had a lot of involvement with, they just become law and all county officials, city mayors and city clerks have to adjust to them in the immediate future.

This year, after the legislative session, Senator Dwight Tosh gave us a call. After the session, he felt like it would be a benefit to all officials to meet and discuss the legislation that came through the session that had a direct effect on county and city government. To my knowledge, this is the first meeting of its kind to be held in a county. As stated earlier, the meeting contained discussion from our legislators and local elected officials concerning the legislation in the past session along with feedback from the local officials. All legislators present tried to explain each bill presented and gave an explanation of the reason for support for each bill or an explanation why each legislator disagreed with the bill.

During the meeting, both legislators field questions, concerning problems that were occurring in county and city government. This meeting proved to be successful for the legislators present and also for the county and city officials. We hope that this type of meeting will be extended on a bi-yearly basis to our local officials and our legislators. This type of meeting keeps county and city officials in tune with the issues that go before the legislators and also helps the legislators know the needs, locally, of all of our county and city officials. This meeting was held in a bipartisan manner. The only issues and legislation that was discussed pertained to all officials in a bipartisan way.

This meeting was helpful to all of our county officials, mayors, and also to our legislators. We appreciate all that attended and sincerely hope that this is just the beginning of fine discussion between our elected officials.