From the Arkansas Statehouse...

Week in review.

In General Business on 30 January 2009 at 2:01 pm

The legislature sent an animal cruelty bill to the governor’s desk. Supporters of a tax increase on cigarettes held a large rally and introduced a bill. The Arkansas GOP confirmed that former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey will speak against the bill at the capital on Tuesday. Opponents of the tobacco tax released their own bill, which would pay for a proposed trauma center but not other health programs Gov. Beebe wants.

The House passed a ban on text messaging while driving and voted to criminalize the dissemination of voyeuristic images.  A Senate committee endorsed lowering Arkansas flags to half-mast for three days when a soldier from the state dies in combat. Representatives introduced a bill that would  force recipients of benefits from the Department of Human Services to submit to random drug tests. Another drug-testing measure awaited a hearing in the Senate Health Committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee fought over whether Arkansas Court of Appeals decisions should always be binding precedent, but came to no conclusion. The House decided not to give the State Board of Registered Interior Designers the $10,635 it asked for. Legislators told Alcoholic Beverage Control that it cannot charge wine and liquor wholesalers $11,800 for an annual permit.

The House State Agencies Committee voted to not congratulate Barack Obama on becoming president. Some members of the committee said it was divisive to refer to the history of American slavery. Sen. Bobby Pritchard said Thomas Paine was less deserving of a commemorative day than Jefferson Davis. Rep. Tracy Pennartz publicly admitted that she had never seen a soybean.

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