Looking On the Bright Side


Looking On the Bright Side
(Stephanie Dunn)

Those in positions of authority are sometimes advised to praise the behaviors they want to see more often. To that end, as voters we’re pleased that:

► After first balking, the Arkansas House approved funding for the state’s Medicaid program, including Arkansas Works, which helps 235,000 Arkansans afford health insurance. Legislative approval of funding had been in doubt after a federal judge struck down the program’s work requirements, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson persuaded several lawmakers to keep the faith and promised to keep fighting for reform of the system.

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► The state House Revenue & Taxation Committee recommended approval of a bill that, among other things, would require out-of-state online sellers without a physical presence in Arkansas to collect sales taxes on annual sales of more than $100,000 from products and services delivered into Arkansas.

► The state House approved legislation requiring the video or audio recording of all open public meetings.

► The Arkansas House and now a Senate committee have passed a bill to allow eligible Arkansans who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to receive nursing licenses. It’s hoped the measure will help alleviate the state’s severe shortage of nurses.

► The state Senate approved a bill to let Arkansas colleges and universities charge in-state tuition to eligible foreign-born residents of Arkansas, including those who’ve received exemptions from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

► Hutchinson has signed a bill increasing criminal penalties for robocallers.

► State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, has filed, though too late to be considered in this legislative session, a bill to make public the records of private entities that get taxpayers’ money to run schools. She calls it the “Arkansas Public Tax Dollar Transparency Act.”