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HomeState & NationalFran Cavenaugh's Legislative Update - March 17-18, 2021

Fran Cavenaugh’s Legislative Update – March 17-18, 2021

On Wednesday, the House voted to raise teacher salaries and increase public school funding.

HB1614 seeks to raise the average salary of public school teachers by the Teacher Salary Equalization Fund. For the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years, the statewide target average annual salary will be $51,822. The current average is $49,822.

HB1677 raises the foundation funding amount for the 2021-2022 school year from the current $6,899 per student to $7,182 per student. It raises the amount for the 2022-2023 school year to $7,349 per student. The bill also includes enhanced funding for school districts in which 90% or more of the school’s enrolled students qualify for the national school lunch program.

The House also voted in favor of HB1572. This bill states that a chemical abortion shall not be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of the pregnant woman seeking the abortion. It also states that at least 72 hours before abortion is to be performed, the healthcare provider must provide the patient with a list of risks and complications and information on reversing the effects of the chemical abortion if the woman changes her mind.

Members voted in favor of HB1246 which allows pharmacists to treat certain health conditions.

The House will convene on Thursday at 1 pm.

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On Thursday, the House passed a bill requiring students entering the ninth grade class of 2022-2023 to earn one credit in a computer science course before the student graduates. SB107 states that beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, a public school district shall employ a computer science teacher at each high school.

The House passed more than 40 bills this afternoon, including the following:

HB1562-This bill amends the law concerning autonomous vehicles. It establishes parameters with the Arkansas Department of Transportation for operating autonomous vehicles.

HB1703-This bill requires casinos to report and withhold taxes on gambling winnings.

HB1637-This bill allows the General Assembly to review Presidential Executive Orders. It also states that standing committees of the General Assembly meeting jointly may request the Attorney General to review the presidential executive order and prepare an opinion.

SB465-This bill extends the current special privilege tax on medical marijuana to July 1, 2023. The tax is currently set to expire on July 1, 2021. This tax helps to fund the UAMS National Cancer Designation Trust Fund.

The House will convene on Monday at 1 pm.

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