Expanding Food Stamps to Individuals With Significant Assets
Sen. Dismang & Rep. Vaught
The original version of SB306 would have expanded food stamps to individuals with up to $12,500 in cash assets in the bank. The House version that ultimately became law, if approved by the federal government, will still expand food stamps by allowing households to temporarily exceed the food stamp asset limit without being disenrolled.
Requiring Voter Input on Local (A&P) Food and Lodging Taxes
Rep. Roy & Sen. M. Johnson
This legislation will ensure that local voters have a say before being subjected to advertising and promotion (A&P) taxes. Previously, A&P taxes—which can be as high as 3 percent—were the only local tax in the state of Arkansas that could be imposed without direct consent of the voters. This has contributed to ever-increasing local tax burdens on Arkansans.
Adopting Universal Licensing Recognition
Sen. Hill & Rep. McCollum
This bill creates a smooth pathway for workers from other states to transfer their occupational licenses and work experience to Arkansas. This is a significant boost to Arkansas’s overall workforce competitiveness and will greatly decrease the difficulty of recruiting licensed workers to the Natural State.
Expanding Public School Choice
Rep. Mayberry & Sen. Clark
This bill expanded public school choice by allowing more students to attend a school in another district without exceeding the annual inter-district cap on transfers. While the LEARNS Act now supersedes this legislation, this was an important bill for ensuring that the next generation has the best opportunity to succeed.
Reducing the Cash Welfare Time Limit
Rep. Burkes & Sen. Penzo
This legislation reduces the cash welfare time limit from 24 months to 12 months (the federally-required minimum) for households with work-eligible adults, encouraging them to reenter the workforce. This ties Arkansas with only one other state (Arizona) for the lowest cash welfare time limit in the country.
Reforming AR Unemployment System
Rep. Lundstrum & Sen. Hammer
This bill makes numerous changes to Arkansas's unemployment insurance provisions—including reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits and lowering unemployment taxes on businesses—to grow Arkansas's workforce. With a new maximum time limit of 12 weeks, Arkansas now has the shortest unemployment benefits length in the nation.
Unleashing Universal Education Freedom (The LEARNS Act)
Sen. Davis & Rep. Brooks
The LEARNS Act dramatically expands educational freedom in Arkansas through education freedom accounts (EFAs), while also making other improvements to Arkansas's education system via investments in teacher salaries, reforms to school safety, and more. It is without a doubt one of the broadest, boldest, most comprehensive education reforms in United States history.
Banning Automatic Teacher Union Dues
Sen. Bryant & Rep. Hodges
This legislation prevents the deduction of union fees from Arkansas's public school employees' salaries. Now, teachers interested in contributing will have to contribute directly, protecting them from a cut out of their paycheck.
Curbing Special Election Abuse
Rep. Ray & Sen. Payton
This legislation limits towns and counties from scheduling special elections during low-turnout times, ensuring more Arkansans have a voice on important issues like local tax hikes. Cities and counties have notoriously hid these issues at poorly-advertised special elections, resulting in higher taxes on Arkansans.
Increasing Unemployment Work Search Requirements
Rep. Burkes & Sen. Penzo
This bill requires that unemployment recipients conduct at least five job search activities per week in order to maintain eligibility for benefits, helping them to reenter the workforce more quickly. Previously, they were required to conduct only three work searches per week.
Prohibiting Local Income Taxes
Rep. Ray & Sen. Payton
This bill will prohibit Arkansas cities and counties from imposing a local-level income tax on their citizens, preempting the ability of overzealous localities to claw away earnings from hardworking Arkansans.
Restoring Peace to Our Communities (The Protect Arkansas Act)
Sen. Gilmore & Rep. Gazaway
This legislation makes numerous changes to Arkansas's criminal justice system—including by reforming the parole process, strengthening minimum sentencing times, improving victim notification requirements, reevaluating corrections training programs, and more—in order to hold violent criminals accountable and put victims first.
Requiring Work for Able-Bodied Housing Recipients
Rep. Underwood & Sen. Gilmore
This bill requires able-bodied adults in Arkansas's public housing programs to participate in work activities or volunteer at least part-time, helping reduce welfare dependency. This legislation is contingent upon a federal waiver.
Reducing Personal and Corporate Income Taxes
Sen. Dismang & Rep. Eaves
This bill cuts Arkansas's top marginal personal income tax rate from 4.9% to 4.7%, and reduces Arkansas's corporate income tax rate from 5.3% to 5.1%, providing $124 million in tax relief. While we felt the legislature could have been far more aggressive with tax cuts this session, this is still a step in the right direction towards eliminating the state income tax altogether.
Expanding Food Stamps for Certain Veterans
Rep. Tosh & Sen. Wallace
This legislation requires the Department of Human Services to seek a waiver to exclude veterans' disability income from counting for purposes of eligibility for food stamps. If approved, it will expand welfare to individuals who did not previously qualify. Even worse, the legislation included no fiscal note, so tax-payers have no indication of how much additional money it will cost.
Expanding the "Hollywood Handout"
Rep. C. Fite & Sen. Dismang
This bill expands an existing special interest welfare giveaway in the form of an enhanced tax credit to the film industry financed by Arkansas taxpayers. Not only does the legislation redirect funds to special interests that do not share Arkansas’s values, it also pushes the prospect of income tax repeal further into the future by effectively spending money.
Expanding Free Lunches Welfare Expansion
Sen. Dismang & Rep. Vaught
This legislation unnecessarily qualifies all families who currently receive reduced-price school meals for free school meals, even if the family's income is well above the federal poverty level. Previously, households from 130% to 185% of the federal poverty level qualified for reduced-price lunches. In real dollars, 185% FPL is $55,500 per year for a family of four, or more than the median Arkansas household income. They paid less than 50 cents per school meal. Now, these costs will be borne by taxpayers.
Prohibiting Guaranteed Income Programs
Rep. Andrews & Sen. Bryant
This bill prohibits any state or local entity from enacting a welfare-like guaranteed income program, preempting bureaucrats or liberal localities from increasing dependency on government at the taxpayer’s expense.
Enhancing Sex Offender Disclosure Requirements
Rep. Ray & Sen. M. Johnson
This legislation enhances public information with respect to sex offender registration and disclosure requirements. It will enhance public safety by increasing public awareness of sex offenders’ presence in local communities.