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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
by Jody Dickinson
89thGeneral Assembly not taking a break
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By Jody Dickinson
Representative elect for District 52.
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The sights and sounds of the holiday season are everywhere you turn inside the Capitol right now. But members of the 89thGeneral Assembly are not taking a break for the holiday just yet.  Pre-filing began on November 15. In the House, 15 bills and one resolution were filed in the first month. One bill and one resolution were filed in the Senate.

The pre-filing process allows bills to be prepared and introduced before the Regular Session convenes. It gives legislative staff more time to draft legislation. The paperwork that is necessary for a bill’s official introduction—for example, gathering sponsor signatures—can be completed early. Pre-filing is more or less standard for legislative bodies.  Only 13 legislative assemblies across the country report that pre-filing is not allowed.

In the Arkansas House of Representatives, the filing process is simple and efficient. To minimize possibility of error, the sponsoring member hand-delivers the legislation to the clerk. The legislation has a barcode that is scanned, assigning the bill a number. (The House begins its bill-numbering system with 1001; the Senate begins with 1.)  Upon scanning, the legislation is automatically posted to the General Assembly's website.

The bills filed so far address a variety of issues.  One proposed bill would give the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Affairs Commission the power to choose a new site and build a new state veterans home.  Other bills filed so far in the House include reducing the tax on capital gains and allowing school districts to implement their own discipline policies for use of electronic devices. 

The bill filed in the Senate recently would require voters to show a photo ID before casting ballot.

We expect House members to file well over a 1,000 bills by the end of session.

The pre-filing period will continue until the first day of the session, January 14.  To view bills that have been pre-filed, visit the General Assembly's website atwww.arkleg.state.ar.us.

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