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Erika Ross Gee

WLJ Week 6 Legislative Update: Education Legislation


A big focus of Week 6 of the 91st General Assembly was HB1249, commonly known as the “campus carry” bill. This bill would allow full time staff members of public universities, colleges or community colleges who hold a current concealed carry permit to possess a concealed handgun on the school campus. Unlike previous legislation on this topic, it would not allow the schools to “opt out” of the provisions. While the bill was under consideration on the Senate floor, the Senate adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson that would require at least 16 hours of specialized training by the Arkansas State Police before a staff member could legally carry on campus. The amended bill has now been re-referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration as amended.

Other education-related bills of particular note are those that would modify the scholarships funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (SB31, HB1020, SB28, SB29, SB30), bills which would assist parents with funding for private schools and homeschooling (HB1222, SB112) and HB1209, now signed into law as Act 148, which revamps the funding model for higher education institutions to focus on funding for “productivity,” as measured by effectiveness, affordability, and efficiency of the institution. – Erika Gee 
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AR – SB31 CONCERNING THE ARKANSAS ACADEMIC CHALLENGE SCHOLARSHIP; AND TO EXPAND ELIGIBILITY AS A TRADITIONAL STUDENT.
Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on EDUCATION COMMITTEE- HOUSE (February 16, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr (R)
Amendments:
Amendment S1: Sponsored by Hickey
Amendment S2: Sponsored by Hickey
AR – HB1249 CONCERNING THE POSSESSION OF A CONCEALED HANDGUN IN A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY, PUBLIC COLLEGE, OR COMMUNITY COLLEGE BUILDING.
Last Action: Re-referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary (February 16, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Representative Charlie Collins (R)
Amendments:
Amendment S1: Sponsored by T. Garner
 Amendment S2: Sponsored by J. Hutchinson
AR – SB288 TO CREATE THE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CENTER AUTHORITY ACT.
Notes: Provides various rules regarding the creation of “workforce development centers” for the purpose of providing vocational and technical education, including rules regarding who may create such centers, rules regarding the issuance of bonds to such centers, and rules regarding city tax revenue being dedicated to the such centers.
Last Action: REPORTED CORRECTLY ENGROSSED (February 16, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Jim Hendren (R)
Amendments:
Amendment S1: Sponsored by J. Hendren
AR – SB308 TO GRANT PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS A RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNUSED OR UNDERUTILIZED PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES.
Last Action: Re-referred to Senate Committee on Education (February 16, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Alan Clark (R)
Amendments:
Amendment S1: Sponsored by A. Clark
AR – HB1209 TO ADOPT A PRODUCTIVITY-BASED FUNDING MODEL FOR STATE-SUPPORTED INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
Notes: An act to adopt a productivity-based funding model for state-supported institutions of higher education.
Last Action: Notification that HB1209 is now Act 148 (February 8, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Representative Mark Lowery (R)
Amendments:
Amendment H1: Sponsored by Lowery
AR – HB1042 TO PROHIBIT SANCTUARY POLICIES AT STATE-SUPPORTED INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
Last Action: REPORTED CORRECTLY ENGROSSED (February 1, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Representative Brandt Smith (R)
Amendments:
Amendment H1: Sponsored by B. Smith
 Amendment H2: Sponsored by B. Smith
AR – HB1222 THE ARKANSAS PARENTAL EMPOWERMENT FOR EDUCATION CHOICE ACT OF 2017; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY.
Notes: Creates an “education savings account” for assisting eligible families and students with affording expenses related with the enrolling in private K-12 schooling or homeschooling or other school of choice. The savings account is funded through tax deductible donations.
Last Action: REPORTED CORRECTLY ENGROSSED (January 27, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Representative Jim Dotson (R)
Amendments:
Amendment H1: Sponsored by Dotson
Amendment H2: Sponsored by Dotson
Amendment H3: Sponsored by Dotson
AR – SB112 TO ALLOW AN INCOME TAX DEDUCTION FOR QUALIFYING EDUCATION EXPENSES.
Notes: Allows an income tax deduction for education expenses,  including amounts spent to purchase textbooks, school uniforms, school supplies, and tuition for dependent children.  A deduction for fifty percent (50%) of the amount spent up to five thousand dollars per child is allowed. Includes homeschooling and public and non-public elementary or secondary schools.
Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation (January 11, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Jane English (R)
AR – HB1020 TO CREATE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PROMISE LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE FUNDS TO EVERY CHILD BORN IN ARKANSAS TO BE USED FOR COLLEGE TUITION.
Last Action: Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on EDUCATION COMMITTEE- HOUSE (January 9, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Representative Fredrick J. Love (D)
AR – SB28 CONCERNING ARKANSAS ACADEMIC CHALLENGE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS; AND TO DIRECT THE OFFICE OF THE ARKANSAS LOTTERY TO ESTABLISH A TRUST ACCOUNT FOR SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM AWARD SUPPLEMENTS.
Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Education (January 9, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr (R)
AR – SB29 CONCERNING THE ARKANSAS ACADEMIC CHALLENGE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS; TO SUPPLEMENT SCHOLARSHIPS WITH EXCESS LOTTERY PROCEEDS.
Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Education (January 9, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr (R)
AR – SB30 TO ESTABLISH AMOUNTS FOR ARKANSAS ACADEMIC CHALLENGE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD SUPPLEMENTS.
Last Action: Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Education (January 9, 2017)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr (R)