Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- Won - Not Done

 shannonnewton2Shannon Newton
 President, ATA

Grown men huddled around water-coolers talking Cinderella, bracket busting, buzzer beaters, jubilant celebrations and teary-eyed defeats are all part of the hoopla and frenzy that is March Madness. This single-elimination tournament between 68 teams determines the national champion in college basketball. The phrase March Madness references the excitement, passion, unpredictability and craziness surrounding the tournament.

While the country celebrates this annual rite, a debate has emerged over the “one and done” rule by which the NBA requires players be one year removed from high school, before entering the draft or signing to play professionally. One and done describes a player who attends college for one, obligatory year before bolting for the prosperity of the NBA.

The NCAA doesn’t hold the monopoly on March Madness—not by a long, (three-point) shot. March is also the time when state legislatures in the South convene in a sometimes zany, always passionate, “Big Dance” of their own. And for those with a stake in the outcome, hard-won jubilant celebrations and last-second bitter defeats are as much a part of the hoopla and frenzy as any tournament.

And this session, we had our fair share of hoopla in Arkansas. As lawmakers scrambled to meet their self-imposed deadline of adjournment before Easter, passions were stirred.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act took center stage. Camera crews from CNN, MSNBC, FOX and local affiliates of all the major networks, visible from our offices, lined the streets outside the Capitol. The outcome: Leadership from the Senate and House worked with the Governor, compromises were struck; a “crisis” was averted.

Despite this dramatic ending, the session also resulted in many important issues with implications for the Arkansas trucking industry. The most important bill, of course, was anti-indemnification, our association’s number one priority going into the session. I’m pleased to say that we—meaning you, our members—won. It was signed into law on Mar. 20, 2015 by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Thanks to our members.

Thanks to the diligent work of our membership, there was a broad and strong coalition behind this most important bill aimed at improving the legal and business environments for our member carriers. An article about this common-sense, (long-overdue) legislation is found in this issue.

Other issues that we monitored, tracked and worked throughout the session included highway funding, public private partnerships, regional mobility authorities, independent contractors, alternative fuels and a range of bills aimed at reigning in towing operations.

For those of you who got involved in the legislative process, attended committee meetings, made phone calls or sent e-mails to your representatives and senators, we would like to thank you on behalf of our industry. Your voice and action does indeed make a difference!

I’m pleased to report we won! But rest assured, we’re not a one-and-done, or more appropriately, a won-and-done operation. I prefer to think of our recent work on your behalf as won—not done.

Our work on regulatory, legislative and industry issues is always in motion. We’re never done, always moving forward, for a stronger industry, a stronger Arkansas, for a stronger nation. Together.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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