Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- Where's Waldo?

DSCF7709 smallShannon Newton
President, ATA

In the colorful pages of the Where’s Waldo picture books, the fun is supposed to be spotting the title character’s striped shirt, coke bottle glasses and red stocking cap. The challenge is the distracting scenes around him. Waldo always gets lost among the other loud people and patterns on the page. He’s never social distancing. He’s always in a bustling crowd. That’s why you feel a little proud when you finally find him.

If you’ve seen any of the news coverage of recent legislative session in Arkansas, there were a lot of distracting and controversial headlines. You might have been discouraged from finding what you were looking for by some of the loud people and patterns there too!

The session began in January amidst significant coronavirus concerns and endured for a very long 108 days. There were at least 1,676 bills filed that resulted in over 1,000 new acts. While social and moral dilemmas and nationalized debates dominated the spotlight, the legislature was simultaneously addressing regular orders of business for the state and advancing issues that matter to ordinary Arkansans. 

Issues like taxes, healthcare, education and infrastructure are important, but usually less likely to make the nightly news. Members of the legislature don’t post to their social media accounts nearly as often about accomplishments on these topics as other hot button issues.

Let me see if I can help you find Waldo…  Here are five feel good pieces of legislation that you probably didn’t hear about and didn’t even know to look for:

  1. Act 837 – Lila’s Law – prohibits doctors and insurance companies from denying organ transplants to people with disabilities
  2. Act 935 – Paisley’s Law – establishes an income tax credit for parents of a stillborn child
  3. Act 790 – Gabo’s Law – allows for ambulance transport and treatment in-route to a veterinary clinic if a police dog is injured in the line of duty
  4. Act 791 – allows foster youth who have left the foster care system to choose to re-enter and removes the requirement of petitioning the court and appearing before a judge to do so
  5. Act 841 – establishes an income tax credit for retired law enforcement officers who work cold cases for the Arkansas State Police

There were several other good pieces of legislation positively impacting the state’s long-term financial position. Act 1058 outlines the state's plan to allocate surplus state funds, resulting in as much as $711.1 million in the state’s long-term reserve fund that now has a balance of $209.9 million.

Sticking with finances, there were bills exempting both PPP loans and pandemic unemployment from state income tax. The sales tax exemption for used cars was raised from $4,000 to $7,500. And teachers will receive a pay raise with a bill that will increase the average teacher salary in Arkansas by over $2,000 in the next two years.

There wasn’t a lot of fanfare over these wins for Arkansans. There’s rarely a flashing neon sign pointing to Waldo, but it’s worth searching for and celebrating the good news that might otherwise be overlooked.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
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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