Washington — U.S.Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of a budget resolution early this morning:“The budget resolution we passed this morning reaffirms our commitment to reining in Washington’s reckless spending. It balances the federal budget in ten years, without raising taxes, while strengthening our national defense and creating economic growth and opportunity for hardworking Arkansans. It lays the groundwork for repealing and replacing Obamacare, addressing our porous borders, enacting significant tax reform—including elimination of the death tax—and restricting the egregious overreach of the EPA. It is a responsible blueprint for America’s future.”Amendment to Fill IG Vacancies
During this week’s debate on our nation’s spending priorities, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continued to also keep his colleagues focused on efforts to cut waste, fraud and abuse across Washington.
Last night, the Senate unanimously adopted a Boozman amendment to fill vacancies in offices of Inspectors General (IG).
“IG’s are taxpayers’ first line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse in Washington. The fact that several agencies have gone years without a permanent watchdog is inexcusable. My amendment paves the way for future legislation to address these vacancies, while strengthening and reforming the IG community,” Boozman said.
Boozman highlighted the agencies that currently have IG vacancies, noting that the Department of Interior IG has been without a permanent watchdog for over 2,200 days and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been without an IG for over a year.
“The IG vacancy at VA is especially troubling given the systematic failures that have plagued the Department in recent years. Congress has passed legislation to address the scandal at VA, where veterans have been mistreated and have died while waiting for care, yet the Department doesn’t have a permanent watchdog in place to make sure these reforms are carried out. This lack of accountability makes it easier to sweep misconduct under the rug, which puts veterans at risk,” Boozman said.
Boozman also pointed out that a Presidential nomination is required to fill most of the vacant IG spots. This effort should turn up the heat on the President to take action.
“The Senate sent a clear bipartisan message that these vacancies are unacceptable. We must push the President to work with Congress to install permanent watchdogs across the government to effectively carry out the mission that they have been tasked,” Boozman said.
The Boozman Amendment (#348) to the concurrent budget resolution puts the Senate on record and paves the way for future legislation to address this issue.
Editor's Comment: In addition, Bipartisan Amendment to Support the Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus Outbreaks was approved by Senate in the early morning hours as as part of the Manager’s Amendment to the Senate-passed FY16 Budget Resolution. See prior article
The Budget process has a long way to go via reconciliation with the House and overcoming a veto of budget by President Obama. Tags:Passage, U.S. Senate Budget, passed, Sen. John Boozman, IG Vacancies, Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus OutbreaksTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: In 2013, Arkansas passed Act 595 (SB2) by Senator Bryan Kind. The law protected our voting process by requiring voters to show indentification. Unfortunately, the courts stopped the new law.
Supporters of Voter ID laws across the country recently received fantastic news. The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin voter ID law, which is one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country.[i] So what does that mean? Wisconsin's Voter ID law has been upheld as a valid and constitutional law.
This session Senator King is trying again to pass voter ID with SJR7. SJR7 is a proposed constitutional amendment and would be voted upon by the people. You would think that the Wisconsin news would be a boost for Senator King's effort.
Since every Republican in the legislature voted for the law in 2013 and since the Republican majorities in the Arkansas House and Senate increased, you would think that Senator King's new Voter ID proposal would sail through the general Assembly. Not so.
Word came a few days ago that the General Assembly does not intend to send ANY proposed constitutional amendments to the people.[ii] So what happened to the Arkansas Republican commitment to requiring voter ID at the polls?
Perhaps they will reconsider based on this good news regarding Wisconsin voter ID.
[ii] Legislators: Not sending amendments to '16 voters, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 03/20/2015
------------ Link to SJR7 - King's Voter ID bill - http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2015/2015R/Bills/SJR7.pdf Tags:SJR7, Arkansas’ voter ID, stalled, Wisconsin, voter id law, upheld, U.S. Supreme CourtTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
by NRA-ILA: Yesterday, Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed Senate Bill 612 into law. SB 612 was introduced by state Senator Jon Woods (R-7) and has been codified into law as Act 649. Act 649 removes the restriction on law-abiding, permanent U.S. residents who are not citizens from obtaining an Arkansas concealed handgun license. SB 612 passed in the House of Representatives on March 17 by a 79-1 vote after passing in the state Senate by a 26-3 vote on March 9.
On Tuesday, Senate Bill 159 passed the Arkansas State Senate by a 33-1 vote. SB 159, introduced by Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R-19), would remove the absolute prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm into a county courthouse for employees who have a concealed handgun license. Since SB 159 was amended in Senate committee, after yesterday’s Senate passage, SB 159 was referred back to the House Judiciary Committee where it will be considered in its amended form. Please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and politely urge them to SUPPORT SB 159.
The following three pro-gun bills passed favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, and are all now awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. Please contact your state Senator TODAY and urge him or her to SUPPORT the following pro-gun bills when they are brought before them for consideration.
House Bill 1240, introduced by state Representative Dwight Tosh (R-52), would strengthen the civil immunity statute to protect a person from civil damages stemming from an incident when he or she lawfully uses deadly physical force in self-defense or in defense of another person.
House Bill 1372, introduced by state Representative David Meeks (R-70), would remove the absolute prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm on school property for private K-12 schools and allow those schools to establish policies regarding the scope of who may carry a concealed firearm on school property.
House Bill 1505, introduced by state Representative Michelle Gray (R-62), would remove the absolute prohibition on having a firearm in the vehicle while in certain public parking lots for individuals with a concealed handgun license. Tags:NRA-ILA, Arkansas, Pro gun lawsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 392-37. H.R. 2 would be the first major structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades. If signed into law, the bill would replace the current Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment system that is more sustainable and would end the so-called annual “doc-fix,” which has cost the American taxpayers almost $170 billion over the last 12 years.
Following passage of H.R. 2, Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the below statement:
“By repealing and replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate, for the first time in a long time, we are fixing Medicare in a bipartisan way so that it’s finally fair to patients, physicians, and the taxpayer. I thank Leadership on both sides of the aisle for making this historic entitlement reform a reality, and I ask the Senate to swiftly move this commonsense bill so we can make Medicare sustainable for generations to come.” What the bill does:
·Establishes the first real, structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades—offsetting all new spending with permanent structural reforms and other Medicare spending reductions without tax increases.
·Stops the stream of costly short-term SGR patches—Congress has spent nearly $170 billion on 17 short-term SGR patches since 2003.
·Fights fraud, waste and abuse.
·Extends Children’s Health Insurance Program and traditional Medicare extenders, including the therapy cap exceptions process and Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) Program, for two years to give Congress time to work to institute better reforms under a new President.
What CBO and other experts are saying about the cost:
·According to CBO, “enacting the legislation would cost $0.9 billion less over the 2015–2025 period than freezing Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services…. Compared with the costs of freezing Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services, the budgetary effects of H.R. 2 could represent net savings or net costs in the second decade after enactment, but the center of the distribution of possible outcomes is small net savings.”
Little Rock - Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced Mike Preston, 32, of Florida as his new Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement on Mike Preston: “Mike Preston is a perfect fit to lead the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. As vice president for government affairs at Enterprise Florida, Michael has years of statewide economic development and business expertise and experience working with a state Legislature and governor. He’s a proven leader with an impressive track record of bringing in capital investment from major companies. Having worked in a highly competitive atmosphere, Michael understands what it takes to position a state to be a leader in job creation. I cannot wait to see what his experience, expertise and vision can do for Arkansas.”Mike Preston issued the following statement:“I look forward to using my economic-development experience and management skills to implement Governor Hutchinson’s plan to make Arkansas more competitive and create more jobs. I’ve been fortunate to work with a great team in Florida, and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Sunshine State. But I’m eager to put my experience, background and vision to work for Arkansas, which has so much to offer and so much potential. I’m honored to be given this incredible opportunity and excited to get started.”A Florida native, Mike Preston has an extensive career in politics and economic development. He comes to Arkansas from Enterprise Florida, where he has served as director of government relations for the last six and a half years. During that time, he was part of a team that helped create more than 147,000 jobs generating more than $10 billion in capital investment. He was instrumental in some key projects, including: relocating the Hertz corporate headquarters and bringing 700 jobs and $68,750,000 in capital investment; establishing a Northrop Grumman manufacturing Center of Excellence with 1,800 jobs and $500,000,000 in capital investment; and attracting Navy Federal Credit Union to expand in the state bringing 5,000 jobs and $350,000,000 in capital investment. Before joining Enterprise Florida, he was the chief of staff to a Florida state senator and a legislative assistant to a state representative. Preston is a 2005 graduate of the University of Florida.
Danny Games has done a tremendous job in his role as Deputy Director of AEDC over the last few months, and he remains an important part of what the state is doing to create jobs. Games will continue in his current capacity. Tags:AEDC, Executive Director, Mike Preston, Governor, Asa HutchisonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
Update March 27, 2015: Bipartisan Amendment to Support the Treatment and Prevention of Agriculture Virus Outbreaks Approved by Senate in the early morning hours as as part of the Manager’s Amendment to the Senate-passed FY16 Budget Resolution. The Budget process has a long way to go via reconciliation with the House and overcoming a veto of budget by President Obama.
WASHINGTON – Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Boozman (R–Ark.), Chris Coons (D–Del.) and Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) have filed an amendment (#822) to the Senate Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res. 11) to improve prevention and treatment measures that would mitigate the impact of virus outbreaks, such as the avian flu, on agriculture and the economy.
These outbreaks can affect our country’s food supply chain and the millions of people who work in the American agriculture industry. The bipartisan amendment filed Wednesday evening would support vaccine development or research on migratory patterns, including surveillance of infected migratory birds and modeling to predict the path of the virus.
“Agriculture is a vital industry in Delaware that supports thousands of jobs in our state and feeds millions in this country and around the world,” Sen. Carper said. “Viruses, like the avian flu, can pose a huge threat to the agricultural sector and specifically the poultry industry in the First State. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this amendment would help ensure we’re doing everything we can to prevent an outbreak, which could have economic consequences.”
“Poultry is vital to Arkansas’s agriculture industry and a major contributor to our state’s economy,” Sen. Boozman said. “Arkansas is the second largest producer of broiler chickens in the country. This deficit neutral amendment aims to ensure the health of Arkansas’s poultry industry by focusing on disease prevention, vaccine development and research.”< “Even a single case of avian flu can have a devastating impact on America's poultry industry and local chicken growers," Sen. Coons said. “As the first cases of avian flu were found in the northwestern United States in December, and since moved to the Midwest and central U.S., nearly a dozen countries, including China, one of our biggest export markets, have banned the import of all American poultry from anywhere in the nation. Ensuring that future outbreaks can't have similar impacts on our economy should be an important priority for the federal government.”
“The poultry industry is vital to Arkansas, and any unchecked viral outbreak would cripple our state economy,” Sen. Cotton said. “In light of the recent H2N2 outbreak in Boone county, it’s prudent to ensure the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission have the resources they need to stop both this disease and any others that may occur.” Tags:Senators, Carper, Boozman, Coons, Cotton, File Amendment, Support the Treatment and Prevention, Agriculture Virus OutbreaksTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
by Sen John Boozman: The "Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act" can save lives. It can restore dignity to the victims of these heinous crimes. It can help end modern day slavery. Yet, Senate Democrats continue to block consideration of the bill over standard language they have admitted was in the bill all along. I took to the Senate floor to urge my colleagues to drop their manufactured outrage and stand with the victims by passing this bill.
Tags:John Boozman, U.S. Senator, Arkansas, callas on dems, stop filibuster, Human Trafficking BillTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
Washington, D.C. - Congressman French Hill (AR-2) released the following statement today after the House passed H. Con. Res. 27, to establish a budget for the U.S. Government for fiscal year 2016, by a vote of 228-199:“Last month, President Obama released a tone-deaf budget that increases taxes and spending without balancing the budget and allows Social Security and Medicare to go bankrupt.
“The House budget replaces the President’s proposal with one that balances, eliminates wasteful government spending, repeals Obamacare, preserves Social Security and Medicare for current beneficiaries and future generations, and commits to providing a strong national defense for America.
“It would also restore the principle of federalism—the foundation of our Constitution — by empowering states, local communities, and the real drivers of opportunity and prosperity: the American people. I am proud to have voted for a budget that addresses our long-term challenges in order to strengthen America for future generations.”Related:A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America Tags:House Balanced Budget, long term challenges, strengthen, America, Rep. AR-2, French Hill, Arkansas, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
WASHINGTON –Arkansas’s U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with Second District Congressman French Hill applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) land transfer of 30 acres in North Little Rock to the State of Arkansas for the construction of a veterans home.
“What better way to honor our veterans for their service to our country than with a place to call home. This is a fitting tribute to the sacrifice and commitment of our veterans that will provide them with the care and resources they earned. I’m pleased VA was able to approve this land transfer so we can get to work on constructing a great facility for our veterans,” Boozman said.
“I am pleased this land transfer was approved and our veterans will now have a new, state-of-the-art home for our veterans,” Cotton said. “I will continue to fight for Arkansas’s veterans and ensure they receive the care and attention they deserve."
“I am proud to have worked with our local officials to support this essential land transfer. A new nursing home for our aging veterans in Central Arkansas is much needed and long overdue, and I remain committed to ensuring our veterans are provided with care that is unique to their specific needs,” Hill said.
This land transfer was required by March 29, 2015 in order to qualify for the $18 million grant approved by VA last year for the construction of the North Little Rock State Veterans Home. Earlier this month, the members wrote a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald urging him to approve the land transfer or grant an extension to allow the state to maintain the grant for the project until the transfer could be completed. You can read the letter here. Tags:Government, Arkansas, VA Land Transfer, paves way, North Little Rock, State, Veterans HomeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
by IRA-ILA: Yesterday, March 23rd, pro-gun House Bill 1488 passed unanimously in the Arkansas Senate after passing unanimously in the state House of Representatives on March 12. HB 1488 has been transmitted to Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) for his expected signature.
HB 1488, introduced by state Representative Tim Lemons (R-43), is “shall sign” legislation and would require the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm, as required by the National Firearms Act, within 15 days if the person is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm by law. HB 1488 also establishes that an applicant may appeal a denial to the circuit court.
Under current law, a CLEO may refuse to sign off for any reason, including their own personal feelings toward NFA-related items, which has created issues for law-abiding citizens. By removing any possibility of personal bias, which may reside behind many CLEO's refusing to sign off, and creating a statewide standard, HB 1488 seeks to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners across Arkansas.
NRA thanks you for your active involvement in contacting your legislators in support of this important bill. Tags:Arkansas, Shall Sign, legislation, passed, sent to Governor, NRA-ILATo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to hear testimony from stakeholders across the country, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge about the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreaching “Waters of the Unites States” (WOTUS) proposed rule.
“Arkansas, farmers, ranchers and agriculture producers are under attack by the overreach of the EPA and its proposed WOTUS rule that negatively impacts rural America. I have serious concerns about the agency’s power grab because it will make life harder for Arkansas families, circumvents Congress and is beyond the intent of the Clean Water Act. I appreciate Attorney General Rutledge’s testimony and look forward to working with her, my colleagues in the Senate and concerned Arkansans to prevent this rule’s implementation,” Boozman said.
“The proposed WOTUS rule from the EPA expands the Clean Water Act beyond the intent of Congress and adds greater confusion and uncertainty for Arkansas’s farmers and ranchers. If allowed to move forward, this rule could drive future generations out of agriculture, and ultimately impact the food supply of all Americans. I appreciate Senator Boozman and the leadership of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation on this issue, and I look forward to continuing to work them to halt this rule’s implementation. As the chief legal officer, I am prepared to pursue all legal challenges necessary to prevent this unlawful rule from impacting our State,” Rutledge said.
In March of 2014 the EPA published the WOTUS rule that would give the administration much greater power to oversee the land use decisions of homeowners, small businesses and family farms throughout the country. The Clean Water Act, passed by Congress nearly 40 years ago, provides for water quality protection through partnerships between the federal government and the states, but it does not provide unlimited power to the federal government. Tags:Senator John Boozman, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, EPA Proposal, Negatively Impacts ArkansasTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
by David Ferguson, Conduit for Action: In my previous post on SB828, I criticized the bill for among other things – being vague on what, if any, approval is required before the bill allows the Governor to submit a federal waiver to embrace even more of Obamacare. The bill includes this sentence concerning waivers submitted by the Governor, Any waiver submitted under this section shall have legislative approval under this section.
I stand by my statement that the phrase “shall have legislative approval under this section” is vague and subject to multiple interpretations. It might be read as requiring: (1) approval by the General Assembly; (2) approval by a legislative committee or task force; or (3) the oddly worded sentence might even be interpreted as actually being the approval by the General Assembly for the Governor to submit any wavier he deems appropriate. The last interpretation mentioned is one proposed by another attorney (using the term “self-proving”), and I have to agree that it could be read that way.
One legislator deemed my concern over the bill’s vagueness as “silliness”.
After spending nearly thirty-two (32) years writing and reviewing legislation for the legislature, and teaching other bill writing attorneys to spot drafting problems, the issue of vagueness in this bill is not silly to me and should not be silly for anyone else who wants to know what the bill means.
Although the bill can be read in several ways, it is very unlikely that the bill was intended to require approval by a vote of the General Assembly, and therefore, it is my opinion that the bill hands over the General Assembly’s keys to Obamacare to other..
IF SB828 intended for the waivers to be voted on by the full General Assembly, there would be ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THE BILL.
The Governor can already ask the General Assembly to pass a bill to approve a plan for a specific waiver plan. They do not need legislation to get that permission. That is the kind of thing they do every session. That is what former Governor Mike Beebe did when he gave draft legislation to legislators in 2013 for the waiver plan called the “Private Option.”
The Private Option legislation authorized an 1115 waiver under 42 U.S.C. § 1315. Guess what—SB828 authorizes the same waiver. The difference is that in 2013 the full General Assembly voted on the plan, but SB828 shifts the approval away from the full General Assembly (otherwise, what is its point?)
Obamacare is a significant issue with a great impact on the state and its revenues. The question of continuation of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and other waiver issues should be decided by the full General Assembly–not by a committee or task force and not by merely the Executive Branch. I want my Senator and Representative to have a voice in the decision.
Conduit for Action opposes moving the decision making over new waivers from a vote of the General Assembly to a vote of a legislative committee or task force or handing the authority over to the Executive Branch to submit any waiver it wishes.
by Jerry Cox, Family Council: As you may know, the Arkansas Constitution prevents the State of Arkansas from paying for abortions with state funds. However, abortion-providers have used loopholes in state and federal law to receive public funds and federal grants. Many--including Family Council--believe that any time the state gives public funds to an abortion-provider, the state is indirectly subsidizing abortion.
S.B. 569 by Senator Stubblefield and Rep. Lundstrum prevents the state from awarding any grants to abortion-providers. This will help prevent the indirect funding of abortion with your tax dollars and mine.
The bill has passed the Arkansas Senate, and it is scheduled to go before the House Committee on Aging, Children, and Youth very soon.
Please contact your state representative, and ask him or her to vote for S.B. 569, the bill to de-fund abortion providers in Arkansas. Tags:abortion, arkansas, Family Council, Jerry Cox, dollars, SB569, senateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
‘Past time for this order to be made law,’ ‘permanently levels the playing field for union and non-union contractors’
LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 426 (SB 426) into law:“By creating open and fair competition among government contractors, Arkansas taxpayer dollars will be spent more efficiently. SB 426, by Sen. Jon Woods (R-Springdale), permanently levels the playing field for union and non-union contractors who would like to do business with the State. This is not a new concept. It has been the policy of Arkansas through executive order for almost 10 years, and it is past time for this order to be made law.”Tags:Lt. Gov., Tim Griffin, applauds, Sen. Bill 426, singed by Governor, levels playing field, contractors, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.
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