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Arkansas General Assembly Ramps Up for 92nd Regular Session
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 7:00 AM

While bill filing began on Nov. 15, 2018, the 92nd General Assembly – Regular Session convenes on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Following are the latest updates from both chambers.

The Arkansas Senate

After completing their orientation meeting earlier in the week, the Arkansas Senate had their organization session on Friday, Nov. 30, at which time they made committee assignments and selected the chairmanship and co-chair.

The Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee members are:

  • Chair Jason Rapert (R-District 35)
  • Vice Chair Cecile Bledsoe (R-District 3)
  • Linda Chesterfield (D-District 30)
  • Joyce Elliott (D-District 31)
  • Larry Teague (D-District 10)
  • Missy Irvin (R-District 18)
  • Jane English (R-District 34)
  • Mark Johnson (R-District 15)

Sen. Jim Hendren (R-District 2) leads the senators. He had been chosen in March to be the Senate President Pro Tempore. The senators approved changes to their ethic rules. Also, the Senate will video stream their committee meetings starting Jan. 14, 2019. (The House has been video streaming their committees for years.)

To view specific Senate Committee assignments, click on the links below:

  • Senate Standing committees: Public Health, Welfare, and Labor; Revenue and Taxation; Education; Judiciary; Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development; Insurance and Commerce; City, County, and Local Affairs; State Agencies and Governmental Affairs; and Transportation, Technology, and Legislative Affairs.
  • Senate Select committees: Rules and Efficiency
  • Senate Joint committees: Energy; Joint Performance Review; Public Retirement and Social Security Systems; and Children and Youth.

Note that committees dealing with public funds will be under Insurance and Commerce and committees dealing with PACE bills will be under Joint Energy.

The Arkansas House of Representatives

The Arkansas House orientation is Dec. 3–5. During the House meeting of Nov. 9, members voted in favor of allowing the speaker of the House to select membership of all the committees, not just the chair person. Therefore, House Speaker Matthew Shepherd will announce committee appointments on the first day of the 92nd General Assembly regular session, Jan. 14, 2019.

The House has 10 standing committees, where members meet to review and discuss bills, resolutions, and interim studies before members decide whether to send the measures to the full body for consideration. The ten House committees will be split evenly into A and B categories. All House members serve on one A committee and one B committee. The speaker will appoint a chairperson and vice chairperson to each standing committee.

Important Dates and Deadlines in 2019

Jan. 14:        House committee appointments

Jan. 16:         Arkansas Credit Union Association Legislative Luncheon

Jan. 28:        Deadline to file retirement and certain health care legislation

Feb. 13:        Deadline to file constitutional amendments

March 4:      Deadline to file appropriations bills

March 11:    Deadline to file any legislation. Joint rules state: “and, no bill shall be filed for introduction in either Senate or the House of Representatives later than the 55th day of each regular session(*) except upon consent of 2/3 of the members of each house;…” The deadline is extended past the 55th day because the rule provides that if the deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline will be the following Monday. The rule is derived from Arkansas Constitution, Art. 5, §34, which prohibits bills from being filed during the last three days of a session.

Learn more about the Arkansas General Assembly.

If you have any questions about the above information, please contact Arkansas Credit Union Association Lobbyist Ron Harrod at rharrod@sbcglobal.net or 501-944-3068.