ANDY DAVIS: "This first step gives Arkansans an opportunity to review and comment on each proposal." Brian Chilson


Rep. Andy Davis
and Sen. Bart Hester are filing the first in a series of bills to implement the governor’s proposed plan to reorganize state government, reducing the number of cabinet-level state agencies from 42 to 15.

The governor announced his “transformation” plan in October; here’s a breakdown with some commentary from Max. Will shuffling these deck chairs save money and improve efficiency without harming services? We’ll see. Somehow, some way, there will likely still be room for patronage jobs for failed Republican politicians and former legislators eager to stay on the public teet. The governor, after all, has recently managed to find $300,000 in lobbying jobs for two former lawmakers and a longtime aide at the state’s Department of Human Services (a department mostly left alone in the transformation).

In a press release, Davis and Hester announced that they will be pre-filing 16 separate pieces of legislation, beginning today with HB1070, which addresses general provisions, HB1071 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and HB1072 for the Department of Health. The proposed alterations are sure to generate comment and controversy. Davis said that the purpose of pre-filing was to be transparent about the process as they aim to implement dramatic changes to the operation of state government; eventually, a single bill will be filed during the session implementing the plan in its entirety.

Davis and Hester said that their bills “mirror Governor Asa Hutchinson’s proposal” and that the reduction in the number of cabinet-level agencies would not sacrifice any services.

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From the press release:

“From education to public health, our agencies and commissions impact day to day life for millions of Arkansans. That is why we want to be transparent about this process,” said Rep. Davis. “Although we will be pre-filing the proposals in separate pieces of legislation, our intention is to ultimately file and run one cohesive transformation bill this session. This first step gives Arkansans an opportunity to review and comment on each proposal thoroughly before any vote is taken.”

“I’m delighted to have this legislative support for my transformation initiative,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “As we move closer to the 2019 session, my office, in conjunction with members of the legislature, will roll out all 16 pieces of transformation legislation. Their support is key, and I appreciate their willingness to work with me on this historic effort.”