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Arkansas House of Representatives Update 7-3-2020

As the state began a new fiscal year this week, we received some good news about the state budget. The fiscal year for the state budget always ends on June 30 and begins on July 1. 

While general revenue for Fiscal Year 2020 was $168 million less than the year before, it was $369 million above what economic forecasters predicted in the wake of the health emergency. This means the budget outlined in the Revenue Stabilization Act for the previous year ended fully funded with $3.2 million in excess. The Department of Finance and Administration says the fiscal year ended above forecast as a result of the following:

1) Better than expected sales tax collections from retail activity and vehicle sales. 2) Individual income tax payments from filings ahead of the shifted July 15th due date

3) Reduced individual refund claims related to the shifted tax filing date

4) Continued gains in corporate income tax

However, the negative financial impact of COVID-19 was still evident in low annual growth from sales tax and payroll withholding tax. Continue Reading →

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DRUNK DRIVING VICTIMS SHARE HEARTBREAKING STORIES IN EFFORT TO STOP DRINKING AND DRIVING

TxDOT’s ‘Plan While You Can’ campaign features personal stories urging drivers to plan for a sober ride

AUSTIN — Sean Carter’s ability to speak was taken from him more than 15 years ago, when he was a college junior and went out drinking with friends. He knew he was in no condition to drive home – but neither was the buddy who gave him a ride. Without a plan for a sober ride, the drunk driver crashed the truck, leaving Sean with a traumatic brain injury and unable to walk or talk. Today, despite his inability to speak on his own, Sean’s voice via his story is saving lives. Sean has traveled the country sharing his experience through an iPad that speaks the words he types. In the current environment of social distancing, he’s still working to share the message virtually. Since his crash, he’s shared the story with more than 375,000 people of how a drunk driver forever changed his life. Continue Reading →

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U of A Hope-Texarkana Dean of Students Appointed to UA System Task Force on Racial Equity

University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt today announced appointments for a new system-wide task force that will consider issues around racial equity at the campuses, divisions, and units within the UA System. Among those appointed to the task force is Dr. Christopher Smith, Universtity of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Dean of Students. “I am greatly humbled to be appointed to the UA System Taskforce on Racial Equity by Dr. Bobbitt. Serving on this taskforce grants me the opportunity to work with the UA System’s unparalleled leadership in its continued effort to advance UAHT and this great state culturally,” Smith said. The UA System Task Force on Racial Equity is the result of a proposal made by John Goodson, chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas, at a special meeting of the board on June 17, when he announced plans to appoint a task force to address racial injustice and promote equitable practices within the System. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana – Bowie and Cass COVID-19 Update 7-1-2020

TEXARKANA, TX—Bowie County Emergency Operations Center reports a total of 286 positive COVID-19 cases, with 119 recoveries and 17 deaths. Cass County has a total of 47 cases with 38 recoveries and two deaths. 

The Bowie County/Texarkana, Texas Joint Operations Center is still conducting contact tracing on positive cases, so if you test positive for COVID-19, or are a healthcare provider that conducts COVID testing, please notify the Local Health Authority at (903) 255-5560. 

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Bowie County (as of 7/1/20)Total Cases in Bowie County286Ages (Bowie County Cases)0-191420-295130-395140-495050-593560-693870-792980+ 18Gender (Bowie County Cases)Male 126Female   160              Deaths  17  

Governor Greg Abbott announced on Friday that he has rolled back a portion of the Open Texas plan, citing “recent substantial increases” in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations. His order: 

Reduces dine-in restaurant capacities back to 50%Recloses bars, except for drive-thru, pickup or delivery optionsProhibits outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people unless approved by the mayor of a city or the county judge for an unincorporated areaCloses rafting and tubing services, including the rental of rafts or tubes

The executive order can be found here: https://lrl.texas.gov/scanned/govdocs/Greg%20Abbott/2020/GA-28.pdf?fbclid=IwAR304l1JQANgcRH1hFxsy4uZdOXP4Yzd4pr3bUOfnekzWbhJSIfudC3xERE

The Business Survey to gauge Economic Impact is still ongoing. All businesses in Bowie County are invited to submit a survey, to report positive or negative impacts to their business. The survey can be accessed at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeHFOIw9o16XOhE2_Ul4iKlW0K775q7zsWmjctRpovfhTWDzw/viewform?usp=sf_link

Residents in Bowie and Cass County are urged to continue following Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders and following CDC guidelines for social distancing, handwashing, and sanitizing. Continue Reading →

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Womack Statement on USMCA Implementation

Washington, DC—July 1, 2020….Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) released the following statement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) entry into force today. This critical trade deal, which Womack continually advocated for and voted to pass last year, modernizes U.S. trade policies with Canada and Mexico – two of Arkansas’s top trading partners. The agreement provides a strong framework that will support economic growth, enhance market access, create jobs, and unleash new sources of opportunity:

“The USMCA’s entry into force marks a new chapter of opportunity for Arkansas and America. This long-term investment ushers in a 21st century trade framework that will expand market access and support the Natural State’s hardworking farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and workers. By rebalancing trade with critical partners, we will deliver more jobs and greater prosperity across the nation. Continue Reading →

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Caddo Area Boy Scouts Board Sells Camp Pioneer

On December 12, 2017, the Caddo Area Council Board of Directors unanimously approved a recommendation to suspend resident camp operations at Camp Pioneer after a Camping Taskforce and a Financial Operations Taskforce thoroughly studied the council’s two camping properties. The council also engaged a Boy Scouts of America engineer specializing in camping properties who conducted an in-depth study of the council’s two camp properties. The engineer’s report concluded the council could not afford to operate two camps after a seven-year cumulative loss in camping operations at Camp Pioneer. The engineer’s recommendations included, “Permanently close Camp Pioneer and invest all future resources in Camp Preston Hunt, with a vision of creating an outdoor experience of excellence.”

Following three years of continuous study and discussion, with consistent low usage at Camp Pioneer and high usage at Camp Preston Hunt, the council received an offer to purchase Camp Pioneer. After review by legal counsel and Vice-President of Properties, on June 18, 2020 the Executive Committee voted unanimously to send the offer to the full board for consideration. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana, Bowie, Cass COVID-19 Update 6-29-2020

TEXARKANA, TX—Bowie County Emergency Operations Center reports 21 new cases from the weekend, for a total of 268 positive COVID-19 cases, with 119 recoveries and 16 related deaths. Cass County has a total 44 cases with 36 recoveries and two deaths.  

Of Bowie County’s new cases, there is no concentration around one facility or business, but rather the cases are widespread and sources are varied. Please stay home when possible, and wear a face covering when leaving your home is necessary. Use social distancing at all times. 

The Bowie County/Texarkana, Texas Joint Operations Center is still conducting contact tracing on positive cases, so if you test positive for COVID-19, or are a healthcare provider that conducts COVID testing, please notify the Local Health Authority at (903) 255-5560. 

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Bowie County (as of 6/29/20)Total Cases in Bowie County268Ages (Bowie County Cases)0-191220-294630-394940-494950-593360-693470-792880+ 17Gender (Bowie County Cases)Male 116Female   152              Deaths  16  

Governor Greg Abbott announced on Friday that he has rolled back a portion of the Open Texas plan, citing “recent substantial increases” in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations. His order:

Reduces dine-in restaurant capacities back to 50% beginning Monday, June 29Recloses bars, except for drive-thru, pickup or delivery optionsProhibits outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people unless approved by the mayor of a city or the county judge for an unincorporated areaCloses rafting and tubing services, including the rental of rafts or tubes

The executive order can be found here: https://lrl.texas.gov/scanned/govdocs/Greg%20Abbott/2020/GA-28.pdf?fbclid=IwAR304l1JQANgcRH1hFxsy4uZdOXP4Yzd4pr3bUOfnekzWbhJSIfudC3xERE

The Business Survey to gauge Economic Impact is still ongoing. Continue Reading →

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Arkansas House of Representatives Update 6-29-2020

To date, only 56.5% of Arkansans have responded to the 2020 United States Census. Nationally, the response rate is 61.7%. It is not too late to respond. Arkansans are encouraged to respond online at 2020census.gov.

If you have not responded, you may soon be receiving a reminder in the mail. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of census taker visits from mid-May to mid-August, giving the Census Bureau the opportunity to send one more reminder to households encouraging them to respond online, by phone or by mail. Continue Reading →

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Weekly Roadwork Report –TxDOT Atlanta District For June 28 – July 4, 2020

Construction work and lane closures will be reduced to a minimum on July 3-5 to allow traffic to move more efficiently for the Independence Day holiday. Bowie County

SH 8 – At Sulphur River, replacing bridges. SH 93– Between Meadow Lane and Kennedy Lane, installing sidewalks. Camp County

None

Cass County

SH 8 – At Sulphur River, replacing bridges. Harrison County

US 59 – From FM 1997 to Marion County Line, repairing and resurfacing highway. Continue Reading →

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