BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE NATE BELL –
The 2015 Regular Session is still a month away, but several members have already filed bills.
Arkansas is one of 37 states that allows for bills to be pre-filed.
The pre-filing process allows bills to be prepared and introduced before the Regular Session convenes. It helps to increase the efficiency of the legislative process in several ways. Legislative staff has more time to assist with drafting legislation now vs once the session begins. In addition, the paperwork that is necessary for a bill’s official introduction such as sponsor signatures can be completed more easily.
Pre-filing began on November 17. As of this week, 6 bills have been filed in the House and 2 bills have been filed in the Senate. One of the bills filed is HB1006 that I filed last week. You can see it here: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2015/2015R/Pages/BillInformation.aspx?measureno=HB1006
Newly elected members as well as returning members are allowed to pre-file. The Speaker will assign the pre-filed bills to a committee on the first day of session.
In the Arkansas House of Representatives, the filing process is simple and efficient. To minimize the possibility of error, the sponsoring member hand-delivers the legislation to the clerk. The legislation has a barcode that is scanned, assigning the bill a number. The House begins its bill-numbering system with 1001; the Senate begins with 1. Upon scanning, the legislation is automatically posted to the General Assembly’s website www.arkleg.state.ar.us .
The website also contains a feature to allow you to easily track a bill’s progress throughout the session. At arkleg.state.ar.us there is a link for bill tracking. There is no cost to sign up. It allows you to select bills you would like to follow. The program will then send you emails with updates on the bill during the session. I’d also like to remind you that on our website www.arkansashouse.org you can watch the bill’s introduction and debate on the House floor in our video library.
During the last Regular Session, 1300 bills were filed by House members. Over the next few weeks you will start seeing dozens of bills filed on a daily basis. During the session, which begins on January 12, I will update you daily on local radio and social media about the day’s committee and floor proceedings.
I appreciate the privilege of representing you at the state capitol. Please contact me as soon as possible if you have ideas for legislation that will benefit HD20.