Arkansas LEARNS Act and Cryptocurrencies Top Issues in 2024 Fiscal Session

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Arkansas lawmakers will return to the state Capitol for the 2024 fiscal session.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders will send her first budget to Arkansas representatives and senators for a vote. She is asking those lawmakers to approve her $6.3 billion budget proposal.

“All we do is take a look at the state budget and see if any changes need to be made,” said State Senator Greg Leding, District 30.

According to Leding, a major topic of discussion will be the LEARNS Act. Sanders has proposed spending growth of $109 million over last year.

“About 100 million of them are due to the LEARNS Act. The important education reform that lawmakers passed last year,” Leding said.

Republican State Senator Bryan King says the finances of the LEARNS Act have been one of his main concerns.

“If there’s not a big rebound in the economy across the state of Arkansas, I think it’s very concerning that we’re not going to meet our promised financial obligations,” King said.

Leding says parents across the state are concerned about the Educational Freedom Accounts Program. She says through the LEARNS Act, the state is taking money away from public schools and sending it to private schools.

“The state’s priority has to be strong public education and access to public education for students across the state,” Leding said.

Lawmakers can also propose non-budget bills during this session. Lawmakers may have a chance to repeal a law dealing with cryptocurrency mining. Cryptocurrency mines are data centers that require large amounts of computing power and electricity.

“By putting those cryptocurrencies in rural areas here, they are sucking more water out of Beaver Lake than they need to know which will be detrimental to them in the long run. “They’re not creating jobs, they’re actually destroying them,” King said.

According to King, the backlash is due to the inability of local governments to regulate cryptocurrency mines. He says he wants to implement things that will let the state know exactly what cryptocurrency mines in Arkansas are doing.

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