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Guns On Campus, Drug Reimbursement Bills Face Hurdles Just To Be Heard In Fiscal Session

Arkansas state Capitol
Chris Hickey
Arkansas state Capitol

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This week lawmakers came to the capitol for a special session to discuss the budget. To vote on anything outside of the budget during a fiscal session, a two-thirds majority must agree, but that bar hasn’t stopped some lawmakers.


State Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville)’s bill ends the rule that all concealed-carry trainers must offer classes on the state’s new enhanced concealed carry permits for places like college campuses.


“Some people don’t want to have to go take the course and get the additional certification to teach that, and so if they don’t want to, they shouldn’t have to,” he said.  


State Rep. Michael John Gray (D-Augusta) says he agrees with the change, along with a bill by Democrats Greg Leding and Will Bond to ban guns in dorm rooms.


He says the enhanced carry law has some confusing rules for students who want to bring guns to their rooms, and it’s better to ban them from residences all together.


“So now you’re saying if a student lays it by his bed while he is laying there, it's OK, but if he gets up and goes to the restroom down the hall and he doesn’t take his gun with him he is breaking the law,” he said.


“Greg and Will are basically saying, ‘Look, we got them on campus, we don’t like it, we fought against it, we lost, but let’s be more responsible about guns in dorms.’”


State Rep. Michelle Gray (R-Melbourne) is co-sponsor of a bill to create new restrictions for pharmacy benefits managers who are a go-between between insurance companies and pharmacists. Pharmacists have been complaining that their reimbursement rates are too low.

“If we wait another year, we’ve already had some districts across the state that have lost pharmacists over the last couple of months. I have some in my district that are looking at losing their business, bankruptcy in the next two months. We can’t wait another year,” said Gray.

Legislation on anything other than the budget has to get a two-thirds approval before it can come up for a vote. Lawmakers say they don’t yet know when during this roughly month-long session they will decide whether to include these bills.

This story is produced by Arkansas Public Media. What's that? APM is a nonprofit journalism project for all of Arkansas and a collaboration among public media in the state. We're funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the support of partner stations KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK. And, we hope, from you! You can learn more and support Arkansas Public Media's reporting at arkansaspublicmedia.org. Arkansas Public Media is Natural State news with context.

Copyright 2018 Arkansas Public Media

Sarah Whites-Koditschek is a Little Rock-based reporter for Arkansas Public Media covering education, healthcare, state politics, and criminal justice issues. Formerly she worked as a reporter and producer for WHYY in Philadelphia, and was an intern and editorial assistant for Morning Edition at National Public Radio in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
Sarah Whites-Koditschek
Sarah Whites-Koditschek is a reporter and anchor for KUAR 89.1.
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