LITTLE ROCK — A bill that would set the mileage reimbursement rate for state officials and employees at 42 cents per mile cleared a House committee on Wednesday.
The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee gave a "do pass" recommendation to House Bill 1044 by Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena. The bill, titled the Mileage Reimbursement Fairness Act, advances to the House.
Danny James, executive director of the Arkansas State Employees Association, testified in support of the bill.
"We have received feedback over the years from state employees regarding a uniform rate of mileage reimbursement among state employees and state officials, and we support this legislation. It does promote effective and efficient government," James said.
Also Wednesday, the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs endorsed Senate Bill 3 by Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock. The bill would create a 14-member task force to look for ways to fund construction of a new veterans’ home to replace the one in Little Rock that was closed in November because of safety and financial problems. The task force also would help look for a location for the home.
The bill, which passed previously in the Senate, advances to the House.
The Senate on Wednesday honored the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football team for completing the 2012 season 10-2 and winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship.
Several members of the football team, along with former state Rep. Calvin Johnson, who is interim chancellor at UAPB, football coach Monte Coleman and UAPB athletic director Lonza Hardy Jr., were on the Senate floor when Sen. Stephanie Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, read the proclamation. Other members of the team were in the Senate gallery.
Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee endorsed HB 1110 by Rep. Mary Broadaway, D-Paragould, which would give authority to the deputy director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to enter and search a licensed premises, inspect records and seize contraband.
Testifying in support of the bill, ABC Director Michael Langley said the agency is short-handed and cannot afford to hire more agents, so it wants to give the deputy director law enforcement powers. The bill goes to the House.
The panel also endorsed HB 1034 by Rep. David Whitaker, D-Fayetteville, which would add members of advertising and promotions commissions to the list of state officials who must file statements of financial interest. The bill goes to the House.
In the House, members approved HB 1126 by Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Little Rock, in a 91-0 vote. The bill would change the Arkansas State Highway Employees Retirement System’s board of trustees from a six-member to a seven-member board, with the seventh member being the director of Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. The bill goes to the Senate.