|Rep. Mayberry addresses members of the House from the "well" of the chamber.
At 100 days, the 89th General Assembly experienced the longest legislative session
on record in Arkansas since 1931. "It wasn’t always easy and not everything turned out exactly as I would have
preferred, but in the end, I believe we accomplished some good things for our state," said Rep. Mayberry.
There were 2,492 bills filed, and 1,520 passed, or 61 percent. That’s an average of 18.4 bills filed per legislator.
"Personally, I filed seven bills and passed six of them (86 percent). I am a firm believer that 'more' is not always
'better' – especially with regards to laws," Rep. Mayberry said." And sometimes it’s even more important
– and harder work – to defeat bad legislation."
The Arkansas Legislature passed some
of the strongest laws in the nation to protect babies in the womb, though two of the laws required the General Assembly to
override a governor’s veto. Rep. Mayberry was primary sponsor of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which
prevents most abortions past 20 weeks, which is the stage scientific research shows a child in the womb feels pain. Rep. Mayberry
then led the override of the governor's veto. With an emergency clause in place, the bill became law effective Feb. 28, the
date the veto override was completed in the state Senate. With a third veto override, the Legislature passed a voter ID law,
requiring those who vote to show a valid photo ID. There were also 15 bills that supported the Second Amendment right
to bear arms that passed. Rep. Mayberry was happy to support each of these measures.
The Legislature enacted
a new “school choice” law and other education initiatives to help give greater flexibility to parents and their
As the session progressed, a unique health care reform measure called "the private
option" passed with an appropriation vote of 77-23 in the House and 28-7 in the Senate. Rep. Mayberry voted
for the appropriation. The bill minimizes some of the more harmful effects that the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act will have on Arkansas beginning in January 2014. Those negative effects for our state caused by the Federal law include
$500 million in Medicare cuts, $600 million in Federal tax increases, and up to $38 million in employer fines for those small
businesses that don’t (or can’t) comply with the new Federal insurance mandate. Arkansas’ “private
option” legislation will provide private insurance options to more Arkansans while simultaneously helping shore up our
state budget, and keep our local economy from suffering a major set-back. Rep. Mayberry also supported a package of bills
to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the current Medicaid system.
The Legislature passed an economic
incentive bill that will bring our state’s first “Super Project” – Big River Steel – creating
more than 500 jobs that pay $75,000 per year. The company will make a $1.1 billion investment in Arkansas, and 2,000
people will be employed during construction of the facility. Thousands of “secondary” jobs are expected to be
created by vendors, suppliers and other Arkansas merchants as well. Rep. Mayberry was a co-sponsor of this job-creating bill.
This was a long time in the making. In 2004, Rep. Mayberry was a member of the committee that helped pass what is now
Amendment 82 to the Arkansas Constitution with 64 percent of the vote. Amendment 82 is the economic development tool
that was used to attract Big River Steel and its many high-paying jobs to Arkansas.
The 89th General
Assembly closed out the session by passing a tax-reduction package in excess of $100 million, which is one of the largest
in state history. Rep. Mayberry said he wishes more of the tax cuts had been available during the first year following passage,
but he supported each of the measures to reduce the tax burden on Arkansans. The tax-cut package includes reducing the state
income tax, increasing the standard deduction, reducing the tax on capital gains, reducing the sales tax on energy for manufacturing,
and reducing the sales tax on groceries if budget conditions allow.