Friday, December 30, 2011

If at First You Don't Succeed: Healthcare Exchanges

“The governor has said before that he will not act unilaterally against those wishes [applying for a federal grant to set up a healthcare exchange], and he does not plan to change that stance,” Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said."

The above statement was made on back on August.  Fast forward to just last week when the Governor says this:

"To that end, this past week, I endorsed  Arkansas' involvement in a Federal Exchange Partnership. This partnership will allow us to apply for the federal money that will permit us to meet our legal requirements using as little state funding as possible."

Yes, you read that right.  Governor Beebe is now moving forward with implementing as much of Obamacare as he possibly can despite a Supreme Court ruling that could come as early as mid-2012.  Here is a link to a news article on it:,0,2036597.story

The Federal Exchange Partnership that is mentioned is nothing more then an end-around the legislature.  In fact, neither the Governor nor Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford testified before a legislative committee before pursuing this latest round of grant money.

According to what I have been told, the decision on the grant will be made sometime in early February.  This will need to be watched closely as the Fiscal Session starts in February and the money will need to be appropriated. 

Arkansans have overwhelmingly rejected Obamacare, yet the Governor continues to try to move forward with it.  

I will continue to fight for you.  Thank you once again for the opportunity to serve you.

If you any questions or comments, feel free to contact me:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Veteran's Day Ceremonies/Festivities

Posted below are the Veteran's Day Ceremonies/Rallies and other ways our community is honoring our Veterans.  If you know of any others please contact me so I can add them to the list.


Veteran's Day 11/11/11

Greenbrier High School (Panther Pavilion): 9:30a
If you are a veteran and can make it please RSVP to Kim Austin 501-679-1017 or by email:
Info requested includes: Name of Veteran, Phone Number and/or email address, Address, Branch of Service, Rank, and Number of guests attending the rally (include yourself).

"This event will include performances from our choir and band, the presentation of colors, and an address by a guest speaker. A meal will be provided for veterans and their family members immediately after the ceremony."

University of Central Arkansas- Conway (Football Practice Field behind Estes Stadium): 11:00a
There will be free food and informational vendors specifically geared toward veterans available after the ceremony.

Arkansas Military Veteran's Hall of Fame
Agora Events Center- Conway, AR.  Event will be held from 6:00pm until 8:30pm. Tickets are $50.00 each. To purchase tickets, please call 1-888-329-3845

The AMVHOF will be inducting 15 people into the initial class of the Hall of Fame. For more info about this organization please visit there website:

Sunday 11/13/11

Bible Baptist Church, 3130 Dave Ward Dr, Conway. 11:00am
Veteran's Appreciation Sunday

Join us during our 11am Service as we honor our Military Members who have served and are currently serving our Country. Allow us to thank you for your service with special music and program, a custom medal, and a delicious fish and chicken lunch all provided free of charge."


Veteran's Day 11/11/11
Ed's Bakery- Oak St, Conway: Starting at 8:15am
Ed's in conjunction with other local businesses will hand out stuff to veterans

Arby's- 414 Harkrider St, Conway: All Day
All active duty and veterans, in uniform or with proof of US Military Service, are invited to enjoy a Free Classic Roast Beef Sandwich.

This information below is taken from the Air Force news website:
I have not verified if any of the businesses below are participating here in Conway, so please contact them ahead of time to make sure they are.

Restaurants offer military members, vets thank-you meals
11/8/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- A variety of restaurants and fast-food chains are offering free or discounted meals to active-duty, Reserve and retired military members and veterans in thanks for their service this Veterans Day.

Most participating restaurants will require patrons to arrive in uniform or with some form of military identification, officials said. This can be a U.S. Uniform Service card, a current leave and earnings statement, a DD 214 discharge form or American Legion or VFW membership card. In some cases, restaurants will accept a photograph of the service member or veteran in uniform.

Officials encourage military members to call participating restaurants ahead or check their websites to ensure they are participating in the offer, as many are franchises and may have different policies.

Among restaurants offering Veterans Day appreciation meals or specials are:

-- Chili's, which will offer all military veterans, past and present a choice of six meals Nov. 11. The offer is available at stateside restaurants only and does not include beverages and tip, officials said. Proof of military service is required.

-- Golden Corral, which will host its 10th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Dinner on Nov. 14 from 6 - 9 p.m. at all stateside Golden Corral restaurants. Veterans, military retirees and currently serving members of the active or reserve components are invited to enjoy a free thank-you dinner, officials said. Over the past 10 years, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 2.5 million free meals and contributed more than $4.3 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization, they noted.

-- Outback Steakhouse, where active-duty military members and veterans will receive a free serving of bloomin' onions and a non-alcoholic beverage from Nov. 7 to 11. Patrons must be in uniform or show proof of current or past military service, officials said. During the past two years, Outback and its patrons have donated $2 million to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that provides support for active-duty troops, wounded warriors and their families, officials reported.

-- Subway, with select locations to offer veterans free six-inch subs Nov. 11. Officials advise calling ahead to see if a particular restaurant franchise is participating.

-- T.G.I. Friday's, where participating restaurants will offer a buy-one, get-one-free special to anyone with a current or old military ID from Nov. 11 to 14.

(Courtesy of the American Forces Press Service)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ISP Filed on Healthcare Mandates

I have filed an interim study proposal to look at the healthcare mandates here in Arkansas.  Here is a link to the copy of the ISP:

According to a 2010 report, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance had Arkansas with 45 different mandates.
You can view a copy of the report here:

Of note from the report:  "Although most mandates only increase the cost of a policy by
less than 1 percent, 40 such mandates will price many people out of the market.  It is the accumulated impact of dozens of mandates, not just one, that makes health insurance unaffordable."

If we are to make health insurance more affordable to the people of Arkansas, this is just one area we need to take a closer look at.

Here to Serve,
David Meeks

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Thoughts on the Highway Bond Issue

On November 8th, the voters in Arkansas will have an opportunity to vote on reauthorizing the Highway Commission to issue GARVEE bonds that will be used to maintain our highways. This is similar to a program that voters approved back in 1999.

At this time I am planning on voting against this proposal and here are the reasons why:

1)  Its debt.
Instead of going into debt to pay for our roads, we need to transition to a pay as we go system.  This will force us to make some tough decisions, but I believe it will be best for our state in the long run.  At the end of this post, I have provided potential solutions that our state should look at.

2)  Economic uncertainty. 
Because of the current and expected future state of the economy over the next several years, there is a chance that the current 4 cent sales tax and the amount that the Federal Government sends to the state will not be enough to cover the payment of the bond leaving the Arkansas taxpayers to come up with additional funds to repay the bond.

In addition, as far as I am aware there is no cap on the interest rate of the bonds.  While the current rate is around 3%, there is no guarantee that they will be this low when the bonds are issued over the next several years.  A higher rate will amount to the Arkansas taxpayers paying more in interest.

Please read this article: D.C. Gridlock Imperils Garvees

Garvee bond ratings are at risk from the increasingly unpredictable budget and policy process in Washington, Standard & Poor’s warned in a report released Friday.
The agency said it retained a stable outlook on all of the Garvees it rates. But in its report, it said, “We believe there are several potential risks that if realized alone or in combination, might cause us to reevaluate the ratings on some or all of our Garvee bonds.”

3) Timing
I believe that this is an issue that should be decided at a regularly scheduled election like the primary in May or the General in November of next year.  By scheduling a special election in November of this year, there is an additional cost to hold the election.

For those who would like to see an opposite viewpoint, please read Representative Nate Bell's piece on why you should vote for the bond issue:

So how do we fix our roads?  There are two recommendations I would make as a starting point:

1) Transportation Summit (9.6MB Download- Not recommended on slower connections)

From the summit: Commissioner Jim Simpson, New Jersey DOT, and Secretary Sean 
Connaughton, Virginia DOT, shared what is happening in their respective 
states’ transportation systems during The Voice of Our State DOT Directors 
Special General Session.  They addressed bold initiatives their states are 
taking to find innovative methods of improving, maintaining, and maximizing transportation systems by doing more with less in the best interest of the state. 

I was able to listen in on this conversation and will be looking at some of the innovative ways these two states are using to tackle there transportation needs.

2) Summary of Recommendations, Murphy AHTD Report:

1. Re-direct more existing resources (on a fast-track basis) to Arkansas' Interstates and restore them to first class condition.

2. Redirect a greater portion of ED funds to upgrading major arteries and interstates.

3. Encourage public policy at the Federal level to accomplish the following:

  • Require states to certify that they have adequate funds available to maintain a new road or highway over its useful life before allowing federal highway funds to be spent on its Construction.
  • Require states to certify that at least 90% of their existing urban and suburban highways are in good condition before allowing them to undertake new construction.
  • Support a joint state/federal effort, through Congress, toward the establishment of a national goal for improving the condition of our interstate Highway system, and provide incentives to states to meet these goals.
4. Repeal or significantly amend Amendment 42 (Mack-Blackwell). Reintegrate AHTD into the executive branch; give it cabinet level status as an essential government service ... a status it surely warrants.

5. Have the Director of AHTD report to the Governor and serve at the Governor's pleasure. Subject the hiring of the Director to the Highway Commission's consent, plus Senate confirmation.

6. Restructure the Highway Commission to provide for eight members, geographically chosen and serving four year terms appointed by the Governor.  No more than five members may be from the same political party.
(Another option worthy of discussion is providing for Commissioners to be elected. Either way--bi-partisan composition should be mandatory).

7. Concentrate highway priorities and resource allocations where the greatest needs and economic development potential occurs. To better affect this, move to a planning and resource system model aimed at greater objectivity in determination of priorities and distribution of resources.

Sub-recommendations (#7)

  • AHTD should develop and use a dynamic computer model to assure a wholly objective determination of construction and maintenance priorities for the state. The model should embody a uniform system for allocation of projected costs to planned construction and maintenance of highways, roads and bridges and fully integrate with a system of performance-based budgeting and activities-based-cost accounting.
  • A public report on priorities should be shared regularly in periodicals and the media, as well as be made available on the internet (would include progress on construction underway).
  • The design of the model should be contracted out and overseen by both a reliable independent accounting firm and the state's audit committee (should one be put in place as recommended in other Murphy Reports)
  • The Governor should task an accountability and performance advisory group with conducting a nationwide search to retain the finest team of "cost conscience" transportation experts in the country to design the model planning and resource system for Arkansas. They should also design (outside of AHTD) the base inputs and outputs comprising the system. The goal should be to make this a "best practices" model that other states would want to consider using.
8. The planning, design, and cost-estimating of Arkansas transportation needs should not be predominantly an "in-house" function at AHTD. Instead, much of it should be contracted out on the basis of performance as well as cost-saving incentives built into contracts.

9. As a matter of control and oversight, the Governor, through an independent audit committee (such a body has been recommended in another Murphy study), should also contract for the periodic independent review by an independent accounting firm with the requisite expertise.  It would randomly review selected highway system job cost estimates, design specs, and jobs in progress.

10. AHTD should demonstrate to the public a "good faith effort" to substantially reduce operating costs. 

Cost Saving Recommendations, AHTD

1. Restore control of 5000 miles currently in the state's 16,288 mile system to county or municipal government jurisdictions for maintenance and upkeep.

Possible savings or efficiencies: $13-$16 million annually.

2. Eliminate 5 of the 10 existing AHTD District Offices and 54 of 82 field offices across the state.

Possible savings or efficiencies: $5 million (An additional $4 million in maintenance expenditures and about $1 million in administrative and overhead costs).

3. Integrate the existing Arkansas Highway Police organization, currently an integral division of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, into the Arkansas' State Police organization.

Possible savings or efficiencies: $2.5 million

4. Offload a number of roadside parks, and explore opportunities under TEA 21 to privatize existing interstate rest areas.

Possible savings or efficiencies: (including those acted already): $1.3 million per year plus an estimated one time savings of $11.7 million in rehab costs.

*The Murphy Commission would also have recommended not spending $19 million for roadside park electronic surveillance, which becomes unnecessary in light of 12 parks to be closed, as decided by AHTD.

5. Scale back AHTD's workforce by 5%.

Possible savings or efficiencies: $8.8 million

6. Explore the efficacy of outsourcing more in-house programs at AHTD:

Possible savings or efficiencies: $1.8 million

7. Integrate AHTD's stand-alone retirement system into the existing State Public Employees Retirement system. 

Possible savings or efficiencies: $2.1 million

8. Discontinue redundant AHTD auditing of motor fuel suppliers. (Department of Finance and Administration audits them)

Possible savings or efficiencies: $150,000 to $200,000

9. Exempt AHTD (and other state agencies as well) from paying state and local sales taxes.

Possible savings or efficiencies: $4.3 million

10. Miscellaneous Recommendations:

Sell AHTD 'twin engine aircraft:

Projected Savings: $160,000 per year and $2.6 million from the sale of the aircraft.

Reduce by 400 the number of state-owned vehicles assigned to department employees.

Projected Savings: $1 million per year

End funding to the Good Roads Council, $20,000 per year in savings

Summary of total savings:
Annual Savings:
$39,160,000 to $42,160,000
One-time Savings:
Total Projected Savings:
$53,460,000 to $56,460,000

As always, I am open to other ideas and solutions to any of the other issues we have here in Arkansas.  Feel free to send me an email:

Here to Serve,
David Meeks

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Letter to Governor Beebe on Healthcare Exchanges in Arkansas

As you may already know, Commissioner Jay Bradford has asked State Legislators to contact Governor Beebe and ask them to support additional funding to continue planning the Healthcare Exchanges under Obamacare.

Below you will find the email I sent to Governor Beebe in opposition to additional funding.  I ask my colleagues to do the same.

Dear Governor Beebe,

I am writing to you in opposition of moving forward with any additional spending as it relates to implementation of the Healthcare Insurance Exchange. 

As you are aware, there are still lawsuits challenging the PPACA working there way to the Supreme Court.  Although Arkansas has chosen not to participate in these lawsuits, we do not wish to undermine them through aggressive policies that implement key components of the PPACA.

More importantly, as I have talked to people in my district, one common message I have heard is that they are against implementation of the PPACA here in Arkansas to include the HIE.

The many unanswered questions regarding HIE, as well as the overall future of the PPACA and the timelines and policies it imposes compels me to believe that not spending any additional taxpayer money on the HIE is the wisest course of action at this time.

Thank you for your consideration on this issue.

Respectfully submitted,

David Meeks
State Representative- District 46

Monday, August 29, 2011

Promises Made, Promises Kept

One of the most important, if not most important thing a person can and should do is keep promises they have made.  In a day and age when people are disgruntled at those they have elected because of those officials not keeping their campaign promises, I looked back at the promises I made.  These promises are posted were posted on my previous website found here:

Below is just a summary of the promises I made and kept.  As we go along, I will post more on my record.  If you have any questions about anything in particular, feel free to contact me:

Create Jobs by Cutting Taxes

  Co-sponsored the Capital Gains Tax Reduction, the Grocery Tax Cut, and the Back to School Sales Tax Holiday.  Also supported the reduction in the Used Car Sales Tax.

  Fought against an increase in the severance tax which threatened to cost jobs in the natural gas industry.

□ Voted against every tax or fee increase.

Curb Spending and the Growth in Government

  Voted against the state budget, which increased state spending by over $80 million.

  Supported the Online Checkbook Bill, which will bring greater transparency to state spending.

Protecting State’s Rights

  Sponsored HB1053- Healthcare Freedom Act (To protect Arkansans from being forced to purchase health insurance)

  Co-Sponsored HCR1010- Claiming State’s Rights Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution


  Co-sponsored SB113, An Act To Prohibit Health Insurance Exchange Policies From Offering Coverage For Abortions Except Thru a Separate Rider.

Gun Rights

  Supported several Pro-Gun bills such as the Arkansas Firearms Freedom Act.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Healthcare Exchanges Dead in Arkansas? Nope...

Yesterday, I read a blog post written by Jason Tolbert which you can review here:

In the article he quotes Governor Beebe's spokesman Matt DeCample as saying:
“As far as any other federal grants to help the state set up their own health-insurance exchanges, the Legislature made it clear that they wanted the federal government and not the state government to control the establishment of our health-care exchange. The governor has said before that he will not act unilaterally against those wishes, and he does not plan to change that stance,” 

I found this statement quite interesting as just last week at the Healthcare exchange meeting I attended the steering committee was still moving full steam ahead on implementing the exchanges to include requesting additional grant money.

So I sent an email to Cynthia Crone, who is leading the effort to implement the healthcare exhanges asking her:

What grants were turned down and/or sent back?
Will the planning meetings that we have been having continue as scheduled?
Are there any other plans to request any grants in the future?

Her reply:
We did NOT send back any money We are continuing our planning. The workgroup meetings will continue as scheduled.  We are now getting the results from our background research efforts.  Four of our workgroups have met this week--two yesterday and two today.

We do plan to apply for Level One Establishment funding in September--this is the next funding opportunity for States that have made progress with their initial planning grant--which we have.  More than half the states now have exchange authority or are otherwise planning their exchange.  Sixteen states have now received the Level One grants that we plan to apply for in September.   Please don't hesitate to let me know of additional questions/concerns.

So based on this reply nothing has really changed.  The planning on the exchange will continue and the grants for planning will still be requested.

Governor Beebe is already trying to frame the debate.  Look for a battle during the fiscal session over whether we will give the insurance department permission to start implementation of the healthcare exchange at the state level.  This, of course, all hinges on if the Supreme Court decides the constitutionality of the law by then.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Effects of Efairness on Arkansas

I posted a couple of months back on how I thought that SB738, the efairness bill aka the Amazon Tax, would hurt the average Arkansan.  You can review that post here:

As expected, dozens of online affiliate programs have been canceled as a result of the law.  The real question is how many Arkansans will this effect and what is the cost?

I recently contacted the Performance Marketing Association to get what information they had on Arkansas.  This is the reply I received:

Representative Meeks, 
Great speaking with you today. Here are the stats on Arkansas affiliates:
  • There are 2,000 affiliate marketers in Arkansas (or there were before the law passed).
  • Affiliates, by the way, are simply website publishers who earn revenue from running ads on their sites.
  • They earned $157 million in 2010, and paid $11 million in state income tax.
  • By our estimates, affiliates lost 25-35% of their income when this law passed in Arkansas. Losing 1/4 or 1/3 of an income is a devastating event for a person or a business. 

By doing the math, you come out that each affiliate earned on average $78,500.  This seemed a little high so I wrote back asking if I had calculated something wrong.  This is the response I received:

There is a tremendous range of income levels by affiliates. They can be part time, or they can be millionaires, or they can be a company with employees. We estimate that 25%
are full time (quite a few in the 6-7 figure income level) and 5% have four or more employees. We also believe about 90% of that revenue comes from about 10% of the population, sort of an extreme Pareto principal. So that would skew the individual income average up a bit.

I have filed Interim Study Proposal 2011-177 to study more in detail the effects that this law will have.  You can view the ISP here:

For more on the Amazon Tax please check out this post on the Arkansas Project:

So at this point based on the data, the Amazon Tax bill will cost Arkansas jobs, approximately 11 million dollars in state revenue, and most online retailers will still NOT have to collect ANY state sales tax.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ways to Help Vilonia: Thanks!

Thanks to the many folks who stepped up to help with the Vilonia Recovery. You gave of your time, money, and materials to help those people in need. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

E-Fairness is killing Arkansas Business...

Recently the legislature passed SB738, the "E-fairness" bill. This bill would require "Internet retailers to collect sales tax if they accept referrals from affiliate web sites and do more than $10,000 a year in sales in Arkansas."

To get an idea of what an affiliate program is here is a link to Overstocks Affiliate program:

Basically what the affiliate program does is allow everyday hard-working Arkansans to make a few extra dollars or in some cases a living by putting a link or a banner on their website. Every time someone clicks on that link/banner and then buys a product, the person gets a commission from it.

Here is a letter I received from one of my constituents:

To: Meeks, David
Subject: Act 1001 has already negatively affected my business

Dear Mr. Meeks,

First, I want to thank you for voting against SB738 regarding the sales tax
and online merchants.
I am an affiliate marketer and I made my concerns known when the bill was
still in the House committee (taxation).

The bill passed and I was immediately terminated by the online merchants who
follow this silly tax nexus bill around the country.

Every few hours I get another termination letter regretfully informing me
that I can no longer be a part of their advertising program because I live
in Arkansas. Each letter says that if I can demonstrate that I have moved
my business out of the state of Arkansas before the effective date of the
bill, I can reapply.

Here's a partial list - I say partial because I figure there are a few more
in my mailbox by now.

Overstock - I made most of my income last year from this merchant
Scrubs and Beyond - this relationship was the mainstay of 3 of my web sites.
CSN stores - more than 200 stores networked together - I just lost all of
Nurses Station - another important one to my business
Dr. Leonard's / Carol Wright mail order catalogs.

There are dozens of others I expect because they have terminated ther web
site link affiliates in every other state that passed these laws.

Is there any chance of repeal when your fellow representatives see that it
isn't going to add to the tax revenues and is hurting Arkansas businesses?

I am already trying to figure out where I should relocate.

So the effect this law is having is actually taking money out of the pockets of hard-working Arkansans and as is the case of the person above, it is causing them to move their business out of Arkansas.

And here is the kicker...From the way I understand the law to be written, if the person above moves out of the state and I as an Arkansan order from that person's site, I pay no state sales tax on the item.

I say let's repeal this bad law, and take a different approach. Let's give those that have a physical store here a break via the corporate income tax or find some way to do away with them having to charge state sales tax on items they ship directly to the customer on items purchased via the internet.

Here is a good talking points bulletin from Overstock about the effects of this law:

Have a similar story? Please feel free to send me an email at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week in Review at the Capitol- April 1st

The legislative session is like a roller coaster, lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, and just when you think you’d rather be gliding along on a merry-go-round, you hop on for another ride.

The final week of the 88th General Assembly took House members on a fast and furious flight through a thunderstorm of debate on the federal healthcare law, state-owned vehicles, congressional redistricting and even monkeys.

To get the coaster rolling, a bill requiring out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax from Arkansas buyers passed the House and will soon be signed into law. I opposed this measure because it amounts to taking more money out of the pockets of hard-working Arkansans.

The Legislature is not your ordinary rodeo. Midweek, House members wrangled over a $72.6 million state Insurance Department appropriation bill which included $1 million in funding for the federal healthcare overhaul. Concerned about tying the federal healthcare law to a bill that funds an essential state agency, House Republicans made several attempts to remove the $1 million from the budget bill.

Meanwhile, legislation to establish federally mandated insurance exchanges necessary to the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was en route to the House floor. As a result, a deadlock on passing the Insurance Department appropriation surfaced, with a majority refusing to strip the budget bill of $1 million in federal healthcare funding. Fortunately, House members lassoed a compromise on Thursday, agreeing to pull down the bill to implement the insurance exchanges and send the legislation to interim study. Consequently, the Insurance Department appropriation garnered the 75 votes needed to pass the House.

I believe the compromise helps ensure a slow and deliberate process for examining a federal law that will drastically alter our healthcare system. We now have a year to study the impact of the federal healthcare law, giving legislators sufficient time to act responsibly in the upcoming fiscal or general session. Until the Supreme Court rules on the law’s constitutionality or Congress acts, our state should not spend money implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

A congressional redistricting gerrymander slithered its way out of the Arkansas House, despite overwhelming opposition from concerned citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike. The “Pig Trail Gerrymander” or “Fayetteville Finger,” does not respect our state’s regional communities of interest and will devastate the continuity of Northwest and Southern Arkansas. I opposed this partisan power grab by the State Democratic Party and hope our colleagues in the Senate will take a principled stand for the people of Arkansas, reject this unfair and illogical proposal and look at reasonable alternatives.

Members took up some monkey business on Thursday when a bill to restrict Arkansans from owning primates failed in the House Public Health Committee. Proponents say citizens have a right to own a monkey, and noted that some individuals use primates as service animals. As a result, the bill was pulled from consideration and sent to interim study.

The personal use of state-owned vehicles by elected officials and state employees dominated newspaper headlines and coffee shop talk last year. In an effort to assure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, the House passed a bill to allow state agencies to furnish state vehicles with GPS devices to collect data for tracking purposes.

A $4.6 billion balanced budget for the 2012 fiscal year cleared the full House this week. The budget bill, known as the Revenue Stabilization Act, deals specifically with general revenue and prioritizes spending for public schools and prisons. I voted against this budget because it increases state spending too much.

We also approved a General Improvement Fund bill that sets aside surplus funds for special projects. The Governor controls $40 million, while the House and Senate each control $5 million. If you can recall, last month House members voted to use their share of the surplus for statewide projects, rather than funding lawmakers’ pet projects.

Over the course of the session and under the shining dome of Capitol Hill, we worked vigorously to cut your taxes, increase government transparency, hold the line on spending and move our state forward economically. As of Thursday, 903 out of 2,234 House and Senate bills had been signed into law.

The 88th General Assembly held the shortest session in two decades. However, because congressional redistricting is not complete, the House and Senate will reconvene on Monday to complete the process. Members will still return for a “sine die” on April 27, which is the final adjournment of the legislative session.

While we have recessed until next year’s fiscal session, I will continue my work to serve as your voice in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Please contact me with any issues, questions or concerns you may have. My email is