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Legislating business.

When the State Legislature Reconvenes, the Business Community Will Be Watching Closely

MORE THAN 230 BILLS were introduced by the state House and Senate before the Legislature recessed to attend former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's inauguration as president last week.

There were few surprises in the early going. Many of the bills had been prefiled before the session began. Others arose from the tax package passed during the special session in December.

But there were several bills with implications for business and industry, including another version of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act (House Bill 1075 by Rep. Bill Walker and others); a bill to enhance the state's ability to attract major industries by offering state assistance on bonds (House Bills 1065 by Rep. Doug Woods and others), and at least two proposals to increase the state sales tax with exemptions on food sales.

Attorney General Winston Bryant had introduced a package of bills to strengthen his consumer protection initiatives. Four were introduced in the Senate by Lu Hardin of Russellville and others. They would, among other things:

* require telephone sales operations to register and pay fees for doing business, require that sellers provide certain information to prospective buyers, and require posting of a security bond (Senate Bill 11, with Sen. James Scott of Warren).

* enhance penalties for deceptive trade practices if the victims were elderly or disabled and create an Elderly and Disabled Fund to pay for investigation and prosecution (SB 12, with Sen. Travis Miles of Fort Smith).

* prohibit the offering of a gift or prize by telephone except as defined by law (SB 14).

A bill with the potential for controversy would permit cities and counties to impose impact fees on such things as housing developments for the use of schools (HB 1004 by Rep. Bill Stephens of Conway).

Several bills also deal with child support in ways that affect business, such as HB 1023, which expands the definition of business to include certain utilities and requires businesses and some other commercial entities to cooperate with child support authorities by providing certain records.

HB 1026 would require licensing boards and agencies to withhold occupational, professional and business licenses for applicants who are noncustodial parents behind in their child support payments.

And HB 1029 would bar the renewal of driver's licenses, liability insurance on vehicles or vehicle registration for similar reasons.

Some other bills of interest to business and industry include:

House Bill 1010

Purpose: Would ban the transportation of sand, gravel or rock in uncovered trucks. HB 1038 by Rep. David Roberts of North Little Rock is similar.

Sponsor: Rep. James Dietz of North Little Rock.

HB 1015

Purpose: Would repeal the chocolate products tax passed during the special session.

Sponsor: Dietz.

HB 1020

Purpose: Would allow the $1,000 discount on sales tax receipts for each commercial location of a company.

Sponsor: Rep. Railey Steele of Gentry.

HB 1046

Purpose: Would return half the annual registration fees paid by conservation and water districts.

Sponsor: Rep. Pat Flanagin of Forrest City.

HB 1049, HB 1113 and Senate Bill 19

Purpose: Would exempt chemicals and other ingredients used in yeast manufacturing from the sales and use tax.

Sponsors: HB 1049 and HB 1113 by Dietz and SB 19 by Sen. Jerry Jewell of Little Rock.

HB 1062 and SB 22

Purpose: Would amend the state air and pollution control laws by, among other things, redefining the authority of the commission director.

Sponsors: HB 1062 by Rep. John Miller of Melbourne and SB 22 by Sen. Joe Yates of Bentonville.

HB 1067 and HB 1111

Purpose: Would permit increased sale of alcoholic beverages at convention centers.

Sponsor: Rep. Doug Wood of North Little Rock.

HB 1069

Purpose: Would prohibit "ticket scalping" for musical events.

Sponsors: Wood and Rep. Bobby Hogue of Jonesboro.

HB 1077

Purpose: Would limit the number of permits for the sale of off-premise alcoholic beverages to one for every 1,200 persons in a county.

Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Hawkins of Morrilton.

HB 1078

Purpose: Would increase motor vehicle fees $1.

Sponsor: Rep. Louis McJunkin of Springdale.

HB 1084

Purpose: Would increase fees for driver's licenses by $4.

Sponsor: McJunkin.

HB 1087

Purpose: Would require the state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission to establish standards for disposal of chemical agents and take measures to protect the public with regard to such disposals.

Sponsor: Flanagin.

HB 1096

Purpose: Would exempt from property taxes church-owned broadcast facilities.

Sponsor: Rep. Mark Riable of Little Rock.

HB 1098

Purpose: Would require approved political action committees to file activity reports.

Sponsor: Flanagin.

HB 1100

Purpose: Would attempt to standardize reporting thresholds for reporting campaign contributions.

Sponsor: Flanagin.

HB 1110

Purpose: Would require restaurants and hotels to disclose sales tax information to advertising and promotion commissions.

Sponsor: Flanagin.

HB 1122

Purpose: Would increase penalties for violating the Arkansas Sewage Disposal Systems Act.

Sponsor: Dietz.

SB 5

Purpose: Would regulate dental laboratories, technicians and technologies.

Sponsor: Sen. Bill Walters of Greenwood.

SB 9

Purpose: Would levy a 1-cent sales tax exempting foods.

Sponsor: Sen. Bud Canada.

SB 18

Purpose: Would allow the state Health Board to set annual fees of up to 25 cents per connection for public water systems.

Sponsor: Sen. Bill Moore of El Dorado.

SB 25

Purpose: Would amend the state contractor licensing laws by raising the threshold from $20,000 to $100,000.

Sponsor: Sen. Charlie Cole Chaffin of Benton.

SB 26

Purpose: Would require listed subcontractors to post a performance bond.

Sponsor: Yates.

SB 29

Purpose: Would require property and casualty insurers to file annual reports including data on premiums and net investment income.

Sponsor: Sens. Allen Gordon of Morrilton and Mike Beebe of Searcy.

SB 34

Purpose: Would increase penalties for not wearing seat belts in automobiles.

Sponsor: Miles.

SB 38

Purpose: Would require additional disclosures by surplus insurance lines carriers to persons who can't obtain insurance except in that market.

Sponsor: Beebe.

SB 43

Purpose: Would increase the severance tax on lead ore.

Sponsor: Sen. Nick Wilson of Pocahontas.

SB 45

Purpose: Would remove gross negligence as a cause of action against landowners by trespassers.

Sponsor: Sen. James Scott of Warren.

SB 49

Purpose: Would levy a half-cent sales tax, exempting foods.

Sponsor: Canada.

SB 50

Purpose: Would repeal the Arkansas Bidder Preference Law relating to the purchase of commodities by state agencies.

Sponsor: Scott.

SB 55

Purpose: Would establish procedures for notifying the state Department of Finance and Administration when vehicle liability insurance is cancelled.

Sponsor: Miles.

SB 58

Purpose: Would provide for a rebate of sales and use taxes to persons with income below $20,000 a year.

Sponsor: Sen. Jim Keet of Little Rock.

SB 59

Purpose: Would prohibit persons from collecting workers compensation benefits while incarcerated for a felony.

Sponsor: Sen. Mike Ross of Prescott.

SB 68

Purpose: Would prohibit insurers from requiring that repairs be done in certain shops or by certain contractors.

Sponsor: Ross.

SB 74

Purpose: Would allow direct legal action against insurers of bankrupt people.

Sponsor: Sen. Steve Bell of Batesville.

SB 75

Purpose: Would prevent advance fees for loan brokers.

Sponsor: Ross.

SB 76

Purpose: Would prohibit damage suits by persons injured during the commission of a felony.

Sponsor: Walters.

SB 80

Purpose: Would make theft of public benefits a felony.

Sponsor: Sen. Lu Hardin of Russellville.

SB 83

Purpose: Would allow the state to recover workers compensation benefits from prison inmates to help defray the cost of incarceration.

Sponsor: Ross.

SB 86

Purpose: Would permit restaurants with wine and beer licenses to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Sponsor: Canada.

SB 87

Purpose: Would allow credit unions to be used as depositories for public funds.

Sponsor: Moore.
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Title Annotation:Health Care Update; bills affecting business and industry in Arkansas
Author:Wells, George
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jan 25, 1993
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