Panel OKs bill on education savings accounts


LITTLE ROCK — The House Education Committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would allow parents’ income tax payments to be directed into “education savings accounts” managed by nonprofit organizations that could be used to send students to non-public schools.


House Bill 1222 by Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, goes to the House.


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Panel advances highway bond bill


LITTLE ROCK — The House Transportation Committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would ask voters to approve allowing the state Highway Commission to issue bonds for 20 years for highway projects.


House Bill 1726 by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, goes to the House.


The committee did not advance a companion bill by Douglas, HB 1727, which would ask voters to approve a 6.5 percent sales tax on the wholesale price of gasoline and diesel, to become effective only if voters approve HB 1726.


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House declare Bible official state book


LITTLE ROCK — The House on Thursday adopted a resolution designating the Bible as the state book of Arkansas.


In a voice vote, House members adopted House Resolution 1047 by Rep. Dwight Tosh, R-Jonesboro.


The resolution states that “the system of law contained within the Bible forms the basis upon which our modern civilization is structured.”


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Senate OKs bill on workforce development centers


LITTLE ROCK — The Senate voted 32-0 Thursday to concur in a House amendment to a bill to allow public school districts to join with colleges, cities and counties to create regional workforce development authorities that could obtain land and borrow money to create workforce development centers that would provide job training for high school students and adults.


Senate Bill 288 by Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, passed previously in the Senate and House and now goes to the governor.


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Senate approves bill to create new lottery scholarships


LITTLE ROCK — The Senate voted 32-0 Thursday to approve a bill to use surplus state lottery proceeds to create a program that would provide scholarships to students not receiving Academic Challenge Scholarships to attend institutions where they could become qualified to work in high-demand fields.


Senate Bill 528 by Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, would create the Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship. To qualify for a scholarship under the proposed program, a student would have to have a high school diploma or GED and be accepted into a program of study at an institution of higher education in one of the following fields: Industry, health care or information technology.


The bill goes to the House.