With the Arkansas General Assembly ready to start the 92nd General Assembly soon, inquiring minds want to know what the citizenry can expect from this bi-annual session.
Well, history tells us that over 3,000 bills will be filed, about 1,000 or more will survive the back-and-forth of the Legislative process to become laws or as I like to put it -- Acts of the General Assembly.
But does this system really work and work well for the state?
There is a nagging question that year after year, I have to ask myself at the end of the Legislative Session, did they really do the people's work?
And to what end did all those new laws really impact the state and the problems of our state?
So what better place to look, than to the citizens themselves, to see what new bills might have been placed in the Legislative hopper to enact change.
Rather than me stand on a street corner in the communities of Farmington, Prairie Grove, Siloam Springs and Bella Vista (or other street corners in NW Arkansas) in this cold, often damp weather, I put on the old thinking cap.... If I was a legislator....What would be a good bill...?
So here is a short sampling of "what ifs."
• What if a bill were filed that said all tax forms of this state were to be reduced to two pages? Could the state still in this short form collect the necessary taxes of its citizens?
• What if you did not have to pay state income taxes or file a tax form if you made less than the federal poverty rate at your job? You would just file your W2's on a form and all the state income tax with-held would be refunded to you within 90 days?
• What if you were here working on a federal work VISA and you wanted to buy adult beverages or cigarettes? You really need a state issued Arkansas ID card. Would that be such a bad requirement?
• If you are driving a car licensed in Arkansas, and you are a citizen of another country, why don't you have an Arkansas ID? Or really, why don't you have an Arkansas Driver's License?
• How can a person buy a car, pay state sales taxes, and drive a car licensed in Arkansas without an Arkansas ID or an Arkansas Driver's License? Well, people do every day, but how?
• If a grocery chain decided not to continue to use plastic bags for their customers can't they have a tax break, say worth at least the cost of the previous year's purchases of those plastic bags they no long use? Or better yet, if they can show how much the store uses recyclable re-use bags and compostable paper bags cost the store, give the store a rebate to keep those terrible one-use plastic bags out of the trash/recycle system?
• Why does the state not require on all those election cycle mailers for the political parties the candidates represent to have the party printed on the fliers and do so in a reasonable size type. (i.e. "This candidate is a registered Democrat." "This candidate is a registered Republican." "This candidate is a Liberterian." "This candidate is an Independent.")
• Why isn't there a law saying all those "issue" mailers come complete with a physical address, a person's name, and is from an address that is registered in Arkansas responsible for this campaign. Example: This casino amendment mailer comes from Grover W. Smith, chairman, 1234 W. Central Avenue, Hot Springs, Ark., 71901.
• What if all the state Constitutional Officers, Gov. Lt.. Gov., Secretary of State, etc., had to publish or allow to be published, their personal tax filings each year they serve in office?
• What if late filing of a campaign finance report or not filing a report at all could disqualify the candidate from being elected?
• Why not allow all new small business start-ups a one-year tax-free start? File all the paperwork, fill out all the tax forms, show the incorporation date and pay the taxes for the first year. The state then rebates you the taxes?
• Got an idea for a bill, keep it short and sweet and email me?
-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 01/09/2019
Print Headline: Have you got an idea for a 2019 legislative bill?