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Good Things Take Time (Editorial)

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Rushed legislation is rarely good legislation.

That’s the lesson from the Arkansas Legislature’s hurry to pass a law prohibiting “discrimination” against cryptocurrency mining operationsAct 851 of 2023. The act bars a local government from limiting “the sound decibels generated from home digital asset mining other than the limits set for sound pollution generally.”

But as Arkansans are learning, crypto mines can be noisy. Questions have also arisen about the mines’ potential for excessive power use and their ownership, including foreign ownership.

Several local governments in Arkansas are considering laws that would let them regulate issues, such as noise, surrounding crypto mining before Act 851 takes effect on Tuesday. The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Joshua Bryant, R-Rogers, and state Rep. Rick McClure, R-Malvern, was passed late in this year’s legislative session with little notice.

And now state Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, wants a special session to be called to repeal Act 851. “I don’t think that we can wait two years [for the next legislative session] to answer some of these questions and deal with it,” he said. Local communities have been “blindsided” by cryptocurrency mining companies, King said.

Cryptocurrency mining has economic development potential in the state, but taking the long view, neither the industry nor Arkansans benefit from hastily approved, ill-considered legislation.

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