On June 5, 2015, the Arkansas Society of Professional Surveyors Board of Directors met with Rett Hatcher, Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff for Governor Asa Hutchinson, and Shelby Johnson, Geographic Information Officer of the Arkansas GIS Office to discuss concerns with HB 1001. The bill, which was passed in special session with very little opportunity for ASPS to comment, moves the Division of Land Surveys from the Department of Agriculture to the Geographic Information System Office.
While such a move may not appear to be of concern on the surface, ASPS Board members, as well as NSPS Executive Director Curt Sumner, expressed to Hatcher and Johnson the concern that the language in the Bill could set a dangerous precedent, especially with regard to Section 143 (a) which states that "the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board may employ a State Surveyor to be the head of the Division of Land Surveys." Prior to passage of HB1001, Section 143 required that the State Surveyor supervise the activities of the Division of Land Surveys. The qualifications for a State Surveyor include that the person be "a registered professional surveyor." The option provided by HB 1001 (Section 143) allows the Arkansas GIS Board not to employ a State Surveyor, opening the door for an individual who is not a registered professional surveyor to undertake the activities currently designated to the State Surveyor.
ASPS President Tom Jacobs appointed a committee to work with Shelby Johnson (AGIO) and the Governor's office to address surveyors' concerns with the Bill as passed. NSPS will continue to participate as may be desired by ASPS.