Last week, the House voted to raise teacher salaries, increase a tax credit and increase fines for distracted driving in school zones.
HB1145, titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act, would raise the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next four years. The House voted 91-0 in favor the legislation. The bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee.
The House also voted in favor of increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit. HB1321 raises the credit from $350 to $375 a year.
In a vote of 89-7, the House voted in favor of HB1182. This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.
Other legislation passing the House last week include:
- HB1006: This bill raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus. It raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.
- HB1176: This bill allows the Department of Health to set standards and goals to create human breast milk banks and depositories in Arkansas.
- HB1246: This bill changes the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices. Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. This extends it to four weeks after the general election.
- HB1225: This bill requires the Department of Human Services to post all the regulations and necessary information to start a child care facility in one central location on the agency’s website. This creates a one-stop shop online in hopes of opening more childcare facilities in the state.
- HB1128: This bill allows the governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats.
- HB1296: This bill prohibits an occupational licensing board from revoking licenses specifically for a defaulted or delinquent student loan.
- HB1249: This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a nonprofit organization helping veterans.
According to testimony, there are currently 1,200 veterans serving a sentence in the Department of Correction. This new facility would help veterans re-enter society after their sentence is served. The nonprofit group says it will also assist homeless veterans, those with substance abuse issues and those coming home from war zones.
This week, we expect to address the governor’s tax cut proposal and hear more proposals regarding highway funding.
We are also approaching the deadline to file proposed Constitutional Amendments. That deadline is Feb. 13.
We will continue to keep you updated. You can watch all committees and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.