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Two proposals to set guidelines for crypto mining locations in Arkansas move forward in state legislature

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Two Resolutions Aiming To Regulate Crypto Mining Sites In Arkansas Advance In State Legislature

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As week one of the fiscal session wraps up at the state capitol, Arkansas lawmakers have their sights set on more than just the budget.

Changing the current crypto mining law is proving to be a focus for many legislators, one way or another.

The two resolutions KARK 4 News first reported on Wednesday passed in the Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee on Thursday.

While some in the Thursday meeting told KARK 4 News they were for one bill and against the other, the sponsors of the two told committee members they had merged a lot of the language in their legislation, making them more similar than once thought.

Crypto mining is a complex subject that’s new to many in Arkansas, but it all centers around digital assets.

It is essentially a virtual reality for money and people can use the assets as monetary objects for currency. The loud noise stems from the echoes from the high-power computers they use along with the massive generators it takes to run these things.

Current state law, first sponsored by Sen. Joshua Bryant (R-Rogers), allows local governments to have control over them while they’re going up and put a stop to it if they want , but the bills passed Thursday in committee would also give local city and county governments control over them once they’re already up.

The new bills, one sponsored by Bryant and the other by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View), also address the noise issue with various techniques to reduce it.

KARK 4 News talked with a resident in Dewitt, where one crypto mining site is currently going up.

Kenneth Graves is the Chairman of Arkansas Rice Growers Association and has been vocal about his concerns over the site underway in his town.

He said his concerns stem from the noise and the possible foreign ownership, which Attorney General Tim Griffin is investigating, trying to determine for certain if any sites in Arkansas are owned by foreign adversary companies.

Graves and other locals are currently in the process of trying to put a stop to the site before it’s complete.

Irvin acknowledged these residents, along with Arkansans in other areas dealing with similar situations as sites are underway.

“On behalf of those citizens in Bono and Dewitt and other places is what’s motivated us to bring this bill before you,” she told the committee Thursday.

Both Bryant’s and Irvin’s bills would ensure foreign adversaries have 0% ownership over sites in Arkansas, rather than the 15% Bryant initially said in our interview a few weeks ago.

Irvin’s bill also adds more state regulation over crypto sites in Arkansas, requiring the sites to get a permit through the state.

Additionally, the bills give facilities 90 days to comply with state noise regulations, assuming changes are made to state law, or sooner if local governments request it. The pieces of legislation also give the sites 365 days to divest of any and all foreign ownership, to meet the 0% requirement Irvin and Bryant support.

The Senate City County and Local Affairs Committee will hear more public comment on Tuesday to ensure no other changes need to be made before moving forward with the bills for votes, starting with the Senate.

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