Arkansas Senate won’t meet today

The Arkansas Senate will not meet today

The Arkansas Senate does not plan to meet today due to inclement weather, but the Arkansas House of Representatives plans to meet, though that decision could change, House and Senate officials said late Wednesday afternoon.

Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said in a text message to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “I’m afraid our people will be surrounded by South Ark.”

House Speaker Cecillea Pond-Mayo said in a text message to the Democrat-Gazette late Wednesday afternoon: “The current schedule is for the House of Representatives to meet on Thursday morning.

“However, the leadership is monitoring the weather and any changes to the schedule will be posted on the website,” she added.

– Michael R. Wickline

Age Verification Bill passes Senate

The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would require a commercial entity to conduct appropriate age verification before allowing access to a website that contains a significant amount of material that could be harmful to minors.

The Senate voted 32-0 to send Sen. Tyler Dees, R-Siloam Springs, Senate Bill 66 to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Under the bill, the General Assembly notes that pornography is causing a public health crisis and has a corrosive impact on minors, that advances in technology and the widespread availability of the Internet mean that minors have early and limited exposure to pornography due to age verification requirements, and pornography contributes to hypersexualization by minors.

Reasonable age verification methods include providing a digitized ID card, government-issued identification card, or other commercially reasonable age verification method in accordance with SB66.

The measure would not apply to news or public interest programmes, website videos, reports or events, or affect the rights of any news gathering organization.

A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally publishes or distributes material that may be harmful to minors on the Internet from a website that contains a significant portion of material that may be harmful to minors will be liable under SB66 if the commercial entity does not conduct appropriate age verification to verify the age of the person attempting to access the material.

– Michael R. Wickline

Bill for the amusement area sent to the governor

The Arkansas Senate sent the governor a bill Wednesday that would no longer require a city, county, or incorporated city to levy a gross receipts tax on prepared meals or hotel and motel lodging in a county with established facilities served by Alcoholic Beverage Control Division were authorized to sell alcoholic beverages to create a designated entertainment district by ordinance.

With four senators not voting and two more in attendance, the Senate voted 24-2 to pass House Bill 1024 from Rep. David Ray, R-Maumelle.

Sen. Matt McKee, R-Pearce, said he wanted local decision-makers to make those decisions. He described his bill as “an anti-tax bill.”

He acknowledged that the family council opposes the bill.

Afterwards, Family Council President Jerry Cox said the council opposed the bill because it was generally opposed to any potential expansion of alcohol availability.

– Michael R. Wickline

Bill extends the concealed carry right

The Senate on Wednesday voted to submit a bill to the governor that would allow a person who uses voluntary mental health services to receive a concealed carry permit two years after their treatment is completed.

The Senate voted 32-0 to pass House Bill 1123 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio. Vaught said she filed House Bill 1123 after hearing from a constituent who requested psychiatric services and was then unable to carry a concealed firearm.

Under current law, only veterans who have sought mental health services can apply to county courts for a concealed carry permit two years after their treatment is completed.

– Michael R. Wickline

Senate secretary undergoing surgery

Senate Director and Secretary Ann Cornwell underwent hip surgery Tuesday after slipping on the Senate floor and is able to walk, Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, told the Senate on Wednesday.

“She’s doing great,” Irvin said.

– Michael R. Wickline


The calendar of public events of the 94th General Assembly for today, Day 25, the 2023 ordinary session. For the legislative calendar, go to


10:00 a.m. Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor, Room 130

10:00 Education Committee House, Room 138

10 a.m. House of the Judiciary Committee, Room 149

10 a.m. Finance and Wheelhouse, Room 151

10 a.m. Public Transport House, Room B, MAC

After adjournment of both chambers House and Senate-Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development, Room A, MAC


11.00 a.m. House meets, Chamber of Houses

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