Last week I talked about strategic legislation and promised to share more this week. One area of strategic legislation is working to grow our economy.

Employing 100,000 Arkansans and producing $5.6 billion in revenue, tourism is the second largest industry in our state. One way to grow Arkansas tourism is attracting out-of-state visitors to appreciate history, talent, and resources. That is why we have worked to pass strategic legislation directed in areas that will afford such growth.

With economic growth in mind, the assembly has enacted laws aimed at promoting tourism. For example, Act 292 will designate certain routes in Southeast and Central Arkansas as “Camden Expedition Scenic Highway.”

The Camden Expedition Scenic Highway is designed to guide Civil War tourists through these areas of the state connecting five Civil War historic battleground sites.

We will also highlight the Arkansas rodeo with Act 601, “National Day of the Cowboy.” This act will commemorate a portion of American cowboy heritage and history. Arkansas rodeos are meant to capture and reflect the vaquero spirit of competition among ranch cowgirls and cowboys. These events contribute to economic tourism.

Also meant to grow tourism is Act 546. Every year before Sept. 1, the governor will issue a proclamation making Sept. 1 Arkansas Music Appreciation Day. The proclamation is expected to include wording stating that “The General Assembly finds that Arkansas has a proud history of contributing music and musicians to the nation including Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Glen Campbell, Charlie Rich, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Al Green, Conway Twitty, and Floyd Cramer.” Additional arts tourism legislation is Act 1066. This act creates the Arkansas Delta Music Commission within the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Such a commission will develop, implement, and administer tourism-based arts projects.

Further legislation includes Act 812. This act is an effort to further increase revenue laws to allow alcoholic beverages outside establishments in wet counties inside entertainment districts. Some might disagree because this involves alcohol sales and use, but the premise is to enhance existing legislation that will benefit Arkansans as a whole. In today’s political climate, compromise makes progress actionable.

Considering progress, the Legislature also provided Act 671. The act creates the ATV Tourism and Trail Expansion study. The expansion study will highlight recommendations to the General Assembly regarding creation, development, and implementation of a statewide all-terrain vehicle trail system that will use existing state roads, all-terrain trails, and forest roads to increase economic growth and road tourism in Arkansas.

Further economic tourism growth includes Act 886 which authorizes a $5 increase for special permits for lifetime trout stamps and fishing. The state will use these additional revenues for flood damage renovations to the trout hatcheries. As a frame of reference, the trout industry generates $180 million in revenue every year. I chose to share this legislation because I wanted to frame a strategy for the way the Assembly has approached the law-making process benefiting Arkansans.

Finally, if you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me at my House of Representatives email at don.glover@arkansashouse.org or by phone at 501-682- 6211. Follow me on Facebook @GloverForAR.

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