Coalition Report Card
Arkansas Senate # 31
Candidate Sen. Joyce Elliott, incumbent
Possible: 70 pts. – Scored: 70 pts. – Grade: 100 percent in Agreement
Would you support tax incentives for economic development to create a Digital Overlay District in our neighborhoods, enabling a person to stay at home, and sell what was created on the Internet, globally? See Bill Asti discussion, posted Mar. 10 at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LRNeighborhoods
Yes. In fact I sponsored SB812 to do just that among other efforts. The bill is in interim study for consideration that will inform how to proceed in the 2013 General Assembly. Although the bill centers heavily on underserved and rural areas, please notice item (E) below, which makes it expansive to apply to other purposes. Without economic-oriented access to the Internet, the notion of living and operating in a global economic amounts to half-witted policy.
The language below is directly from SB812:
(a) The purpose of this act is to create a study to:
(1) Explore how to maximize the use of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, rural services, economic development districts, other public agencies and organizations, and the private sector in addressing:
(C) Capacity-building issues across traditional lines of 19 race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, age, geography, and other boundaries, including without limitation:
(i) Leadership building;
(ii) Deliberate and sustained power-sharing;
(iii) Planning; and
(iv) Capitalism literacy;
(D) Internet marketing; and
(E) Other opportunities for exploration, including without limitation:
(i) Implementation of differentiated diagnosis and response to discover and support economic opportunity;
Further, after attending a Joint Advance Technology Committee meeting in late 2011 (I am not a member of the committee), I was taken aback, to say the least, to find out there is no comprehensive plan to ensure high performing broadband access throughout the state. As a result, I introduced and passed Senate Resolution 3 described below. I will pursue this issue in the 2013 General Session.
Do you support amending the law creating the LR Technology Park to require Park Board members to file annual financial disclosures, as do other major city officials?
Yes, I do. The LR Technology Park is a major undertaking of enormous public interest. The enormity of that interest demands financial disclosure.
Do you support establishment of a state Housing Trust Fund, to promote affordable housing?
Yes. In fact, I sponsored Act 661 of 2009 that established the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund after failed attempts by others prior to 2009.
In 2011, I sponsored Act 769, which provided $50,000 start up for the Trust Fund in a climate where there was “no money.” Much more funding is needed, and I will continue to pursue funding.
15-5-1701. Title. [Act 661 of 2009]
This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Arkansas
Housing Trust Fund Act of 2009”.
[Act 661 of 2011] SECTION 1. APPROPRIATION - ARKANSAS HOUSING TRUST FUND ADVISORY COMMITTEE. There is hereby appropriated, to the Arkansas Development Finance 25 Authority, to be payable from the Housing Trust Fund, for personal services 26 and operating expenses of the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee 27 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, the sum of $50,000
10 pts Plus 5 bonus pts for work to date funding this Housing Trust
Do you support tightening reporting by scrap dealers on copper purchases, to enable police to arrest and prosecute copper thieves more successfully?
Yes. This is a serious problem, no doubt exacerbated by a challenging economy.
Should we give prison inmates skills testing as part of rehabilitation, to determine eligibility for release?
No. While having such skills is preferable, it seems too onerous since as free citizens, none of us is required to have any particular skills to enjoy the benefits of full citizenship. Arguably, it would be good if everyone had great skills, but there is no requirement for us to do so. On the other hand, acquiring marketable, high demand skills could, perhaps, be considered as “good time” for earlier release, all other means of restitution are satisfactorily being met. Of note to this issue of skills attainment is Act 1151, which I sponsored and passed. Following is language from that act:
Training for inmates.
- As provided for in § 12-28-101, the Department of Correction shall provide education as well as training for inmates who want to acquire skills for employment upon release.
(b)(1) The department shall identify high-demand vocations and careers and shall accordingly create training and skills programs to prepare inmates for gainful employment upon release.
(2) The programs under this section shall be available to all inmates except for inmates who disqualify themselves from participation due to disciplinary violations or because of other circumstances that may 26 preclude the inmates' access to these programs.
(3) Programs under this section shall include without limitation training in the following fields:
(A) Professional careers and vocations;
(B) Service careers and vocations;
(C) Information and computer technology;
(D) Medical technology; and
(E) Office administration
0 pts. Plus 5 bonus pts. for previous legislation providing job-skills training to inmates, which will require a major investment to be effective, even though no achievement tests are supported.
For certain law-enforcement jobs, should we add the requirement of proficiency in a second language?
We should if the market will support such a requirement and if the second language is clearly relevant to local needs and to the demand of the position. I worry about market support, so in the interest of sound policy, perhaps it might make sense to offer incentives, such as tuition, higher pay and time to learn a needed language. I suspect such incentives will help meet the growing demand for bilingual law enforcement officers, especially in Spanish.
0 pts. Since police and others already observe a shortage of Spanish-speaking officers hinders investigations, and the interests of justice, plus 5 bonus pts for proposing incentives to gain that proficiency, once it becomes policy.
Would you support progressive municipal income-tax statutes as an alternative to ever-higher regressive sales taxes to fund cities?
Yes, with key word being progressive, which to me suggests we will consider statutes that take into account the fair burden of paying according to income, dependents, etc. Clearly, the sales tax is antithetical to such fairness.
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