Legislative Update | January 27, 2017

The House began this week by passing an income tax reduction for Arkansans making less than $21,000 a year.  In a vote of 90-2, with 5 members voting present, the House passed HB1159 also known the Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017.

The legislation passed this week creates a legislative task force to explore future tax reform.  The task force is required to complete a report by September 1, 2018.  The report will include proposals for tax cuts and job growth.

The House passed two other tax-related measures this week.  HB1157 makes clear that Arkansans have only one homestead property tax credit per year.  And HB1156 requires that Arkansas corporate income tax returns be filed by April 15 beginning this year.

In the third week of the session, the House also passed legislation which makes clear that an individual can be charged with harassment for communication on an electronic device including communication through social media.

The House passed HB1032, the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.  The vote for this bill was 78-10 with 2 members voting present.  The legislation prohibits the procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E).  The legislation makes exceptions if the life and health of the mother is at risk.

Other bills heading to the Senate include HB1147 and HB11185. HB1147 states the driver’s license of military member will not expire while the individual is living out of state if he or she applies for an extension of the expiration date.

HB1185 allows for a death certificate to be issued for a stillbirth occurring after 12 weeks gestation.  Currently, one can only be issued after 20 weeks gestation or if the fetus weighs 350 grams or more.  This bill does not require a certificate be issued, but rather upon the request of the parents.

In the upcoming week, we will be addressing legislation regarding funding for higher education and tax breaks for retired military members.

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