Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – The number of violent incidents in Arkansas prison units was above normal this past summer, causing the Department of Correction to initiate a three-part strategy to improve safety inside prison walls.
            The department will upgrade security equipment in entrance buildings, as well as in recreation areas. Two incidents at the Tucker unit occurred after inmates escaped through the fencing around their recreation cages and went into other areas of the prison unit.
In one incident, a group of inmates overpowered two security officers and took keys and a Taser. They held the officers for three hours.
In the other incident, a guard fired three warning shots in the air to disrupt a fight in which two guards and an inmate were assaulted.
In all four of the state’s maximum security units, the department will tighten security by building controlled access points at the entrances to barracks. Many inmates are housed in open barracks. A few guards in a securely closed room keep the barracks under observation. This past summer, several violent incidents occurred in the open barracks.
The four maximum security units are at Tucker, Cummins, Varner and Brickeys, in Lee County.
The third part of the department’s plan is to convert about 400 cells now connected to open areas, to make them more secure so they can be used for unruly inmates. Department officials have told the legislature that more space for isolation is needed, to protect inmates from being attacked by the unruly prisoners and to preserve overall security inside the prison units.
The governor supports the plan. He requested that prison officials develop improved safety measures in late September, after three guards were hurt in two separate incidents at two different prison units. 
A guard was assaulted in the maximum security unit at Tucker, and later on the same day a group of inmates assaulted two guards at the Varner unit. All three guards suffered injuries.
A legislative committee has approved the department’s proposal to increase hazard pay at its most dangerous units, in an attempt to fill their staffing vacancies. The Correction Department director told a legislative committee that about 300 positions are vacant, of a total of about 4,700. Part of the challenge of filling the vacancies is that most prison units are in isolated, rural areas.
The legislature appropriated about $350 million for state prison operations this year. The state has jurisdiction over 18,180 inmates, but not all of them are housed in prison units. On any given day, more than 1,000 are likely to be held in county jails, waiting until space is available in a prison unit. About 300 inmates are assigned to work duties in county jails or local State Police headquarters.
Also this past summer, a 25-year-old inmate in the Tucker unit died after he was assaulted by another inmate. Numerous fights occurred throughout the prison system. The director of prisons told the state Board of Correction Department that the number of fights tends to increase in summer, but the increase was sharper this year.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Correction Department houses 18,180 inmates. If it were a city, it would be the 24th largest in Arkansas, but the system is spread across the state in 19 prison units and several other secure facilities.
            About 1,450 will be in the jails of the 75 counties in Arkansas, waiting until space is available in a prison unit. Arkansas has contracted with Texas to house 333 inmates in Bowie County, across the state line from Texarkana. 
About 250 inmates are in county jails under the 309 program. It’s named for Act 309 of 1983, which authorizes state inmates to work clerical and maintenance jobs for counties. Another 61 inmates work at State Police headquarters throughout the state.
            A large component of the prison population, 3,477 inmates, is assigned to the Agriculture Division of the state Correction Department. That is a modern, bureaucratic name for prison farms. 
            Like those in several other southern states, the oldest existing prison units in Arkansas began as farms. The state purchased 10,000 acres for the Cummins unit in 1902. Inmates had been housed on a 15-acre site in Little Rock. The first death chamber was built at Cummins and in 1913 the first inmate was executed there. He was a 21-year-old from Prairie County convicted of rape.
            In 1916 the state bought 4,400 acres for the Tucker prison farm. In 1933 the prison in Little Rock, known as “The Walls,” was closed and all inmates were transferred to the Cummins unit or the Tucker unit.
            For the past 100 years the Correction Department has been accumulating farm property and now has more than 20,000 acres in production. Of those, 14,000 acres are for row crops and 5,200 are pasture for livestock. The prisons have 30 acres of orchard and 650 acres of vegetable garden.
            Arkansas prison farms own 2,400 swine and 462 dairy cows. In an average month, 150 hogs are slaughtered for inmate consumption. Milk production averages 500 to 800 gallons a day. 
            The department hires private contractors for crop dusting and it leases heavy equipment like combines.
            A legislative audit determined that yields in 2015 for wheat, soybeans, corn and sorghum were below average yields in the private sector. However, the yield for rice was higher. Correction officials attributed the lower than average production levels to the lack of wells.
On privately-owned farms there is usually a well for irrigating every 80 to 100 acres, the official told legislative auditors. However, at Cummins there is a well for every 190 acres and at Tucker for every 140 acres. The East Arkansas unit near Brickeys, in Lee County, has row crops and it too has a well every 140 acres.
Legislators pay close attention to the Correction Department’s operations because they account for about $350 million a year in state general revenue. The department has about 4,500 employees, with 64 being paid from farm income to work with inmates assigned to prison farms.
The prison farms are a $20 million operation. In 2015, the year of the legislative audit, inmates consumed $8.7 million of food from prison farms. The farms sold $9.5 million in products. 
According to auditors, the agriculture division would have generated $1.8 million in income that year above expenses. However, it transferred capital assets to other divisions within the Correction Department.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – Several Arkansas universities reported record enrollments this fall, while the size of the freshmen class at other institutions has gone down since last year.
            Each campus compiles official enrollment figures on its 11th day of the fall semester. Different universities begin their fall semester on different dates, so not every campus submitted its enrollment report to the Department of Higher Education on the same day.
            The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville enrolled its largest freshman class, of 5,065 new students. This year is the first time the number of freshmen at the Fayetteville campus has exceeded 5,000.
            About 49 percent of the freshmen at Fayetteville are from Arkansas, which matches the rate of last year. The university’s student population has grown remarkably in the past several years, in large part because of an influx of out-of-state students. Total enrollment at Fayetteville is now 27,558. That is a growth of 364 students over last year.
            Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia has also been growing in the past few years, and this fall’s enrollment reflected a couple of records. The freshman class of 870 is the largest ever at SAU and total undergraduate enrollment is a record 3,450.
            Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech at Russellville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock all reported declines in the size of their freshman class. 
ASU enrolled 1,644 new students last year and 1,427 this year. Arkansas Tech enrolled 1,591 freshmen last year and 1,561 this year. UALR enrolled 1,564 last year and 1,325 this year.
The reasons for a decline in enrollment vary, but a major factor is the decision by campuses to raise admission standards and focus on retention of students. 
Arkansas must increase the number of college graduates if we intend to be competitive in the global economy, according to elected officials and leaders in business and higher education.
ASU did report a record number of graduate students, 4,336, and a record number of doctoral candidates, 291. Also, a record number of 663 high school students are taking classes for college credit through the university.
Freshman enrollment at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway grew slightly, from 1,880 to 1,937. University officials were pleased that the incoming class was the strongest academically in university history, in terms of test scores and grade point averages. This year’s freshman class at UCA has an average ACT composite score of 24.3 and an average 3.5 grade point average.
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith saw an increase of 3 percent in the number of new students enrolling this fall. UAFS now has 1,105 first-time students.
Recruiting more international students and expanding the size of online classes are two methods that have potential for increasing enrollment at several Arkansas universities.
Financial stress is a reason that many students fail to complete their higher education. Academic Challenge Scholarships, which are funded by the lottery, are the state’s most popular program. More than 31,000 students have earned the scholarships since the lottery began in 2009.
Lottery sales in August set a record, because of interest in a very large Powerball jackpot. The Arkansas lottery had total revenue of $49.3 million in August. Of that amount, $8.9 million will go for scholarships.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas has made progress in placing foster children with relatives, bringing the state’s rate for family placements to the national average.
            Nationwide, 29 percent of foster children are placed with family members and in Arkansas the rate is 28.8 percent. Two years ago the rate in Arkansas was 14 percent.
            Increasing the number of family placements has been a goal of the Children and Family Services Division. The improvement was commended by the governor and legislators who focus on foster care issues, although everyone involved noted that the state needs to continue making progress.
            Last year division officials said that the child welfare system was in crisis. High caseloads were causing unacceptably high turnover rates among family services workers. 
New workers needed time to learn the details of individual cases, which slowed the processing of placement and caused more children to remain in the system for longer periods of time. 
The number of children under state care grew to more than 5,000 and showed little sign of slowing down. Last year, estimates were that the number of children in foster care would quickly grow to 5,800. However, the reforms put in over the past year have slowed growth and the number of foster children in Arkansas is a little more than 5,000.
The legislature approved the governor’s proposals to add staff, recruit more foster families and streamline the regulatory process. Family services workers have received raises. The division plans to add 228 new employees over the current fiscal biennium.
Average caseloads have gone down, from 28 per worker to 22. A national standard for child welfare caseloads is 15.
The number of cases in which investigations are behind schedule has also dropped, from 721 to 51. Overdue investigations prevent children from leaving the system and getting placed with a family. Moving children from one home to another can be emotionally traumatic, and judges with jurisdiction over placements require certainty that case workers have done all they can to further the children’s best interests.
Another major factor in the state’s improved child welfare system is that religious and faith-based organizations have made it a goal to recruit new foster parents. Since 2016 the number of foster homes has grown from 1,549 to 1,821. Division officials attributed much of that success specifically to The Call and Christians 4 Kids.
In the legislative session earlier this year, lawmakers did more than increase funding for child services. They also approved Act 1116, which requires case workers to conduct an immediate assessment when they take custody of a child, in order to locate a non-custodial parent or a relative.
The list includes parents of half-brothers and half-sisters of the child in state custody. It also includes “fictive kin,” which is defined as a person whom the child identifies as having played a significant and positive role in the child’s upbringing.
The division will work toward more goals, such as finding homes for foster children who are traditionally harder to place, such as teenagers and children with special needs. Also, even though the number of placements is better on a statewide average, there are particular counties that still need a great deal of improvement.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – The ACT is the most important standardized test for high school students in Arkansas, and every year parents and educators anticipate the releasing of test scores to see how our students are performing.
            In the past decade Arkansas students have shown steady improvement because more of them are taking college preparatory courses. However, their average scores have usually been slightly below the national average and on par with neighboring states.
            This year marks a dramatic shift in how Arkansas administers the ACT tests and interprets the composite scores. For the first time, every student in the eleventh grade took the test, rather than merely those students who had plans to go to college.
As recently as 2013 a third of high school juniors in the state did not take the ACT, but now Arkansas is one of 17 states nationwide in which all eleventh graders take it.
Earlier this year, 34,451 high school juniors took the ACT. They are now seniors. In 2013 the number of Arkansas juniors who took the test was 25,875.
As a result of dramatically expanding the number of test takers, the average score went down from 20.2 last year to 19.4 this year. The best possible score is 36.
The ACT has four subject areas – English, reading, math and science. Nationwide and in Arkansas, students performed best on the reading section. Our average score was 19.7, down from 20.7 in 2016.
In math Arkansas students’ average score was 19 this year, compared to 19.6 last year. In English it was 18.9 this year and 19.8 last year. In science the average score in Arkansas fell from 20.2 in 2016 to 19.5 in 2017.
In spite of the declines in average test scores, the state’s top education officials were encouraged by the results. First of all, a large number of new students was added to the cohort, which is the official terminology for the group taking the test.
The total number of test takers grew by 35 percent over the past four years, so the slight decline in average scores is not a cause for great concern. Those new test takers are the students who never planned to go to college or pursue academics, and they generally take the ACT only once.
Students planning for college often take the test more than once in order to bring up their score. The average score of students who took the test only once was 16.5, and for students who took it multiple times the average score was 21.1.
The state Department of Career Education offers evening and weekend classes for students who score below a 19 and want to improve their scores on a second attempt at the ACT.
Students who score below 19 must take remedial course work in college. Those classes bring their academics up to college level, and the student does not earn college credits for passing them. 
Arkansas students must score a 19 to qualify for Academic Challenge Scholarships, which are funded by the state lottery.
In several neighboring states all high school juniors now take the ACT. In Louisiana the average score was 19.5, in Mississippi it was 18.6, in Missouri it was 20.4 and in Tennessee it was 19.8.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – The state Correction Department has obtained the drugs needed for lethal injection, preparing the way for the governor to set an execution date for an inmate on death row who was sentenced to death for capital murder in Johnson County in 1992.
            Sidney Burnett, a pastor who was 69 years old, was killed in 1991 by Jack Greene, who is now 62. Greene’s attorneys argue that he is mentally ill. The state attorney general said in a letter to the governor that Greene had exhausted his legal appeals and that no court has a stay of execution in place.
            Arkansas executed four inmates earlier this year, in April. Eight men were originally scheduled to die by lethal injection, but the lives of four inmates were spared by last minute court rulings. Greene was not among the eight men scheduled for execution in April. A spokesman for the governor’s office said that he would schedule an execution date for Greene.
            Adding to the controversy over Arkansas executions was the fact that one of the three drugs used for lethal injection was due to expire. The state scheduled the April executions before the drug’s expiration date. The new supply of midazolam, a sedative used in lethal injections, was obtained on August 4 and will be good until January of 2019.
            State law prohibits prison officials from releasing the identity of the pharmaceutical supplier who sold the lethal drugs to the state. News organizations filed Freedom of Information requests and learned that the state paid $250 for the drugs.
            One remaining legal issue is a challenge by the pharmaceutical supplier that sold another of the lethal injection drugs to the Arkansas Department of Correction. It is vecuronium bromide. The company contends in court that state officials bought the drug under false pretenses.
The company argues that Correction officials said the drug would be used for medical purposes in prison health units, in order to circumvent the company’s policy against allowing its drugs to be used in executions. A circuit judge ruled in favor of the pharmaceutical company in a preliminary action, but the state Supreme Court overturned the lower court. More litigation is on the way.
The Correction Department’s supply of vecuronium bromide expires on March 1 of 2018 and its supply of the third drug, potassium chloride, expires on August 31 of next year.
Industrial Recruitment
            According to national news reports, Toyota and Mazda are planning a joint venture to build a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant that would employ 4,000 people and produce 300,000 vehicles a year. Arkansas is one of more than a dozen states bidding to be the location of the project.
            The corporations as being secretive about their plans, but they did recently announce that they intend to join forces to increase their presence in the United States.
            A spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission told USA Today that the state certainly is interested in pursuing the plant. The publication listed the variety of incentives Arkansas has to offer, including the authority to issue bonds to pay for infrastructure that would lure a superproject. Arkansas can provide job training, sales tax exemptions and tax credits.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – The state is in the process of contracting with private sector firms to operate the juvenile detention centers in Arkansas that are now being staffed by state employees.
            The centers have space for about 200 young people. Since the beginning of this year they have been run by the state Department of Youth Services (DYS). However, for about 20 years prior to this year the department had contracts with private non-profits to operate them. Those contracts were not renewed and the state took over the administration of the facilities.
            During the period in which DYS operated the facilities, its officials assessed the juvenile detention system’s strengths and liabilities. The new contracts that DYS will sign with private firms will reflect the changes that DYS wants to introduce, based on the assessments that have been made this year.
            The juvenile detention centers are in Colt (St. Francis County), Dermott (Chicot County), Harrisburg (Poinsett County, Lewisville (Lafayette County) and Mansfield (Sebastian County). Another facility, at Alexander in Saline County, is already being operated under a separate contract with a private firm.
            The governor and DYS officials outlined the changes they have made this year, and which they expect to continue after private firms take over the centers in July of 2018. Youths receive treatment for mental health problems and substance abuse more consistently, and it is provided by trained professionals.
            Education is better tailored to the individual needs of students, so that they can maintain their academics at grade level or reach their grade level.
In the middle of the past school year, when DYS took over the detention centers, 92 percent of the 193 youths were not at grade level in reading and 86 percent were not at grade level in math. Also, 22 percent needed special education services.
            DYS partnered with Virtual Arkansas to provide online courses. The virtual school already offers curriculum for about 50,000 students in 270 Arkansas schools. The partnership will provide consistency in educational offerings throughout the juvenile detention centers, and will make it easier for youths to transition back into their hometown schools when they leave the DYS facilities.
            DYS will support Virtual Arkansas by providing education coaches in each classroom, and by providing special education, GED classes and vocational training on site.
            The division has hired a consultant with expertise in Medicaid funding, to identify services that are offered in juvenile detention centers that Medicaid will fund. Currently about 84 percent of the division’s budget is paid for by state general revenues. Most Medicaid dollars come from the federal government. If Medicaid paid for some of the costs of operating detention centers, it would free up state general revenue funds for expansion of community programs for troubled youths.
            DYS is dedicating $2 million to set up new community programs, in conjunction with local agencies and judges who hear juvenile cases. Many juvenile judges have voiced concerns about their lack of options when sentencing young people, and have said that they prefer to keep the youths at home rather than committing them to a detention center in another county.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – Tourism continues to be an important part of the Arkansas economy, and tourism officials continue to adapt their marketing strategies to meet the changes and challenges of promoting the state in national markets.
            In the past, Arkansas tourism relied heavily on promoting the availability of outdoor activities such as boating, hunting and fishing.
In order to make Arkansas more appealing to women and families, in recent years the state’s marketing campaigns have expanded and now include opportunities to shop, to enjoy fine dining and to experience cultural and artistic exhibits.
            Now the challenge is to reach people through new forms of media, not only younger consumers but people of all ages. Research commissioned by the state Parks and Tourism Department indicates that 65 percent of all Americans use social media.
When the survey was limited to people over the age of 65, it found that 35 percent used social media. In the age group of 18 to 29 years, 90 percent use social media. In all age groups the percentage of Americans who use social media is growing.
            Because of the ready availability of so much instant information on the Internet and on smart phones, Arkansas tourism officials now consider American travelers as “hyper-informed.” They also realize that the online landscape is constantly changing.
            Last year more than 3.6 million people “visited” the state’s main web page that promotes tourism – Arkansas.com. The challenge for tourism officials is to encourage those online visitors to plan a trip to Arkansas and book a room. Their term for this process is turning “appeal into action.”
            State tourism officials also know that they must overcome a perceived barrier of remoteness and expense that many people have. Many people want to travel to a convenient location. The rivers and mountains of Arkansas make beautiful scenery for travel brochures, but their beauty can also make them seem remote and difficult to access. Online tourism promotions use maps and videos, to guide and reassure potential visitors.
            In general, Americans are traveling on vacation and therefore the national tourism industry is growing. However, there are areas in the country where the economy relies heavily on the sale of commodities and prices have stagnated. Specifically, state tourism officials mention in their annual report a significant slowing in markets that rely on iron ore, oil, corn and sugar.
            Considering the regional variations in economic strength, Arkansas tourism officials try to avoid a “shotgun” approach to marketing and advertising. Instead, they have focused on niche groups, for example mountain bikers, golfers, bird watchers, history buffs and motorcycle clubs.
            Arkansas reached out to followers of “mommy bloggers” and promoted the pleasant visits to the state of the Sippy Cup Mom from St. Louis, the Cubicle Chick from Nashville and the Traveling Mom from Austin.
            Arkansas tourism is a different industry than it was in 1980, when travel added $1.4 billion to the state’s economy. Now it contributes $7.7 billion. According to the hospitality industry, last October 116,700 Arkansas residents worked in the travel and tourism industry.
            Arkansas levies a 2 percent sales tax on tourism-related items. In 2016 collections were up 4.36 percent, to $15.46 million.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – Many of the bills passed earlier this year took effect at the beginning of August, 90 days after the legislature officially ended the regular session on May 1.
            Of the new laws that affect public education, one of the most important is Act 930 of 2017. It makes broad changes in how the state Education Department holds local school districts accountable, and how the state helps districts when they fail to adequately educate students.
            The 60-page law deletes much of the old system, including designations of schools as being in academic distress when certain numbers of students fail to score highly enough on standardized tests. 
Act 930 instead designates levels of support that the state will provide to troubled schools. The act allows for more types of evaluating schools than solely test scores.
            The state Education Department will continue to set and enforce academic standards. It will consider ideas from local educators and members of the community, as well as concepts promoted by national education groups.
            This year’s ninth graders will be the first high school class required to take a personal financial course in order to graduate. Act 480 of 2017 outlines the basics that a finance class should offer, such as how to manage a checking account, how to live within a household budget, the risks and returns of investing and what goes into retirement planning.
            Act 1105 of 2017 limits the amounts of fund balances that school districts may accumulate. If at the close of a fiscal year a district’s net balance exceeds 20 percent of that year’s net revenue, the district must take steps to bring the balance below 20 percent within five years. The district can use the excess money for construction, for example.
            In order to graduate from high school, students will have to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test taken by people seeking citizenship in the United States. Students must correctly answer 60 percent of the questions. The new graduation requirement is in Act 478.
            Act 148 affects institutions of higher education that receive state aid. It changes the funding formula to encourage campuses to graduate more students, or to award them a degree that will help them get well paying jobs. The previous funding formula placed more emphasis on student enrollment.
            Act 316 creates the Arkansas Future Grant Program. It helps college students avoid having to borrow money if they seek degrees in high demand fields such as nursing, welding and computer science.  
The program will pay their tuition and fees for two years at technical and community colleges. There is a community service requirement of 15 hours a semester, and recipients must agree to talk with a mentor at least once a month.
            There is no new cost to taxpayers because funding for Arkansas Future Grants was transferred from other scholarship programs.
            Some bills passed earlier this year had an emergency clause, which meant that they took effect on the day the governor signed them. Other bills were appropriations that authorize state agency spending. They took effect at the beginning of the current fiscal year, which was July 1.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review
            LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas will hold its annual sales tax holiday on Saturday, August 5, and Sunday, August 6.
Clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item will qualify for the exemption. However, if you buy an item that costs more than $100 you must pay the state and local sales taxes on the entire amount.
Accessories costing less than $50 qualify for the exemption.  Examples include wallets, watches, jewelry, sun glasses, handbags, cosmetics, briefcases, hair notions, wigs and hair pieces.
Here’s an example provided by the Department of Finance and Administration: a person buys two shirts for $50 each, a pair of jeans for $75 and a pair of shoes for $125.  The sales tax will only be collected on the shoes.  Even though the total price of the shirts and the jeans added up to $175, no sales tax will be collected on them because each individual item cost less than $100.
School supplies also qualify, including binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders and glue.
Textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks will be exempt from sales taxes.  Also exempt from the sales tax will be art supplies needed for art class, such as clay and glazes, paint, brushes and drawing pads.
Bathing suits and beach wear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 per item. Diapers and disposable diapers will not be taxed.  Boots, including steel-toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals will be exempt from the sales tax as well.
Not exempt from the sales tax are sporting goods, such as cleats and spikes worn by baseball, soccer and football players.  Recreational items such as skates, shoulder pads, shin guards and ski boots will be taxed.  
Computers, software and computer equipment are not exempt and you will have to pay sales taxes if you purchase those items on the holiday.
Act 757 provides that the sales tax holiday will be the first weekend of August every year.  All retail stores are required to participate and may not legally collect any state or local sales taxes on qualified items during the tax holiday.
The legislature created the sales tax holiday by approving Act 757 of 2011.  One of the goals of the act is to help families with children in school, which is why it is commonly known as the “Back to School” sales tax holiday.  
However, everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children in school.
Highway Construction
            State highway officials opened bids for 57 projects that totaled $139.4 million. Contracts will be awarded only after each bid is carefully reviewed.
            One project accounts for almost half of the total. A low bid of $67.7 million was submitted for rebuilding the Pine Bluff bypass, which is a 10.4 mile section of Interstate 530 that makes an arc on the south side of the city.
            Another major project is to resurface 61 miles of Highway 64 in White, Woodruff and Cross Counties. The low bid was for $19.1 million.