Members of the House take a load off just minutes before the big vote.
HB 1026 got through the House today after failing earlier this week. Rep. Garry Smith simply waited until more of his like-minded colleagues were present (the bill failed by a vote of 41-47, today's vote was 62-30). The bill would require a majority, or five members, of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission to have experience in the development, production "or" transportation of oil and gas. Current law requires four members to have such experience. When the commission was created there were seven members. This bill seeks to keep those with oil and gas "experience" in the majority, but why now? The commission has had nine members for years, so why the sudden rush? Also, "experience" is never clearly defined. Smith has agreed to let the bill be amended to read experience in the "development, production or transportation." An earlier version used the word "and," almost assuring that those appointed would be industry insiders. This will just make it easier for oil and gas companies to get the rules and regs they want.