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Lottery’s proceeds are likely to fall short

Last week Governor Beebe issued a call to bring the Arkansas General Assembly into a special session to provide funding that will open more inmate beds and improve the viability of the Public School Employee Life and Health Insurance Program. The special session began on Monday at 4p.m. The call included bills that, if approved, will provide ongoing revenue to open about 600 additional beds in Department of Correction facilities and the Pulaski County Jail. Another bill would eliminate part time employees from eligibility to participate in the Public School Employee Life and Health Insurance Program and adjust the composition of the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board and it subcommittees, modify the definition of and require verification of dependents. It would require that some participants establish health savings accounts, require the Board to identify FICA savings within districts for potential employee premium assistant, and limit coverage for the treatment of morbid obesity and bariatric surgeries. These changes to the health insurance program resulted from a study and analysis undertaken by a legislative task force created for this specific purpose last year. The hope is that the session will last only three days.

The state lottery’s proceeds for the fiscal year that ended Monday June 30th are likely to fall short of already lowered projections. Now it appears that the proceeds for the year will be about $80.5 million. The director of the lottery said that new types of games being planned are expected to boost revenue. Several House members are supporting taking action to restrict the state lottery during the special session. The Governor is considering whether to add the lottery issue to the session’s agenda. The lottery proposal is to bar the lottery from adding monitor games. The State’s new fiscal year will start July 1st.

The Arkansas State Police and other state and local law enforcement agencies will join forces in a crackdown that targets speeding violations and drunk drivers from June 28-July 14. The Fourth of July has been one of the deadliest holidays on Arkansas Highways. Law enforcement agencies will increase sobriety checkpoints and speeding patrols as part of the two week operation. The crackdown is funded by federal traffic safety funds through the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office.

Friday is July 4th, also known as Independence Day. The delegation to the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration Of Independence on July 4th, 1776. From then we have celebrated the 4th as the birth of American Independence. We thank all military service personnel and their families for continuing our freedoms and independence. I wish each of you a very fun fill and safe holiday.

If you would like to contact me, please email me at bruce.holland@senate.ar.gov or call my office at 650-1884 or write me at P.O. Box 2387 Greenwood, AR 72936

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