Panel nixes proposed amendments to campus carry bill

LITTLE ROCK — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday rejected two proposed amendments to a bill that would allow some people to carry concealed handguns on state college campuses.

The amendments were offered for House Bill 1249 by Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, which has been approved in the House but has stalled in the Senate.

A 2013 law that was sponsored by Collins lets colleges decide whether to allow faculty and staff who have concealed-carry permits to carry guns on campus; since the law was passed, all colleges have chosen not to. As originally filed, HB 1249 sought to take away the ability of colleges to opt out.

The Senate amended the bill to allow any person age 25 or older who has a concealed-carry permit to receive up to 16 hours of additional training and qualify for an endorsement allowing him or her to carry a handgun on a college campus. The Senate sent the measure back to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had endorsed the bill in its original form.

Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, offered an amendment in the committee Tuesday to allow anyone with a concealed-carry permit to carry a concealed handgun on a college campus with no training necessary beyond what is currently required to obtain a permit. The proposed amendment failed to win adoption.

Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, then offered an amendment to allow a person age 21 or older to receive eight hours of training to qualify to carry a handgun on a college campus or several other places where guns currently are not allowed, including the Capitol. That amendment also failed. The panel did not vote on the bill itself.

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Lawmakers OK making some Capitol police records secret

LITTLE ROCK — The House voted 73-5 Tuesday to approve and send to the governor a bill that would allow the state Capitol Police to keep information about security personnel at the Capitol secret.

Senate Bill 131 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, would create an exemption from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act for any Capitol Police records that upon disclosure could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to public safety and any personal information about security personnel.

The bill passed previously in the Senate.

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House approves bill to make some school records secret

LITTLE ROCK — The House voted 52-7 Tuesday to approve a bill that would allow public school districts to keep information about their security personnel secret.

Senate Bill 12 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, would create an exemption from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act for any public school records that upon disclosure could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to public safety and any personal information about security personnel.

The bill passed previously in the Senate and now goes back to that chamber for concurrence in a House amendment that added a co-sponsor.

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Lawmakers OK making some Governor’s Mansion records secret

LITTLE ROCK — The Senate voted 20-7 Tuesday to approve and send to the governor a bill to make records kept by the Arkansas State Police concerning the Governor’s Mansion exempt from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

In a 20-7 vote, the Senate approved House Bill 1590 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio. The bill passed previously in the House.

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Bill to require monthly reports on DHS finances advances

LITTLE ROCK — The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday endorsed a bill to require the state Department of Human Services to submit a monthly report on its finances to the state Legislative Council.

In a voice vote with no audible dissent, the committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to Senate Bill 252 by Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest. King said the bill would increase transparency at the agency and give legislators more opportunities to catch runaway spending. The agency currently submits quarterly financial reports to the Legislative Council.

The bill goes to the Senate.