Monday, 05 December 2016 09:42
LITTLE ROCK — Bills to create a college scholarship account for every child in Arkansas, delay implementation of the state’s medical-marijuana program and provide tax breaks were among the measures state legislators filed in the past week in advance of the session that begins Jan. 9.
Rep. Fred Love. D-Little Rock, filed House Bill 1020, which would create the General Assembly Promise Lottery Scholarship Program. Under the program, the state treasurer would create an account for every person born in Arkansas on and after Jan. 1, 2018, to be used for college tuition at an Arkansas institution.
Each year, the state treasurer would decide by Feb. 15 how much seed money to put into each account that was started in the past year, with the same amount going into each account.
Love said in an interview he plans to amend the bill to include a mechanism for conveying a portion of lottery proceeds into the accounts, which he said probably would involve creating a new lottery game. Some money also could come from private sources, he said.
An account holder would have to use his or her account for college tuition before reaching the age of 22 or forfeit it. Money from a forfeited account would become part of the funds available to the treasurer to deposit in new accounts.
Love said he filed the bill because the current academic requirements to qualify for a lottery-funded scholarship exclude many students.
“I think that every child should have the opportunity to go to college,” whether a four-year institution or a trade school, he said.