Arkansas House of Representatives
|Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Term limits:||3 terms (6 years)|
|2015 session start:||January 12, 2015|
|Website:||Official House Page|
|House Speaker:||Jeremy Gillam (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Ken Bragg (R)|
|Minority leader:||Eddie Armstrong, III (D)|
Democratic Party (36)
Republican Party (64)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art 5, Arkansas Constitution|
|Salary:||$15,362/year + $136/day|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (100 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (100 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Arkansas Board of Apportionment and Arkansas Legislature|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Representatives
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
In Arkansas, representatives serve two-year terms with a three term limit.
As of January 2015, Arkansas is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
Article V of the Arkansas Constitution establishes when the Arkansas General Assembly, of which the House is a part, is to convene. Section 5 of Article V establishes the beginning date for regular sessions, but this date has been changed by law (as Section 5 allows). Under the law, the Arkansas legislature convenes its regular session on the second Monday in January of every odd numbered year. The fiscal session is convened on the second Monday in February of every even numbered year.
Section 17 of Article V limits the length of sessions to sixty days, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of each legislative house.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature is in session from January 12 through March 12.
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include Medicaid expansion, tax cuts, prisons, abortion, same-sex marriage and education reforms.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 10 to March 20.
Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included private option Medicaid expansion and a $5 billion proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The legislature also established an entrepreneurship program for college seniors called the Arkansas Fellowship. Due to a 2008 constitutional amendment, sessions held in even-numbered years may only address financial matters.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through May 17.
Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included an agreement on expanding the Medicaid program by providing private insurance for low-income residents, a two percent increase in per-student funding for public schools and a bill that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. During the first budget negotiations of the year, the Joint Budget Committee rejected a pay increase for elected officials.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the House of Representatives was in session from February 13 to March 13.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the House of Representatives was in session from January 10 to April 27.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the House of Representatives convened for its Fiscal Session, meeting from February 8th to March 4th.
Role in state budget
- See also: Arkansas state budget
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in May of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
- State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in July.
- Agency hearings are held from August through October.
- Public hearings are held from October through December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in November.
- The state legislature debates the budget from January through April. The budget must be passed by a three-fourths majority.
- The fiscal year begins July 1.
The governor is required by statute to submit a balanced budget. The legislature is not legally required to pass a balanced budget, but the governor is required by statute to sign a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Arkansas was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Arkansas received a grade of B- and a numerical score of 82, indicating that Arkansas was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Arkansas was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Elections for the office of Alaska House of Representatives took place in 2014. A primary election took place on August 19, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 2, 2014.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 52||John Hutchison||0.4%||10,073||L.J. Bryant|
|District 69||Betty Overbey||1.6%||9,387||Dwight Hoyle|
|District 13||David Hillman||2.1%||9,591||Garland Derden, Jr.|
|District 61||Scott Baltz||2.9%||10,552||Lori Benedict|
|District 41||Jim Nickels||3.9%||12,892||Alan L. Pogue|
|District 73||John Catlett||4.3%||7,838||Mary Bentley|
|District 39||Mark Lowery||4.8%||12,758||Kelly Halstead|
|District 60||James Ratliff||5.5%||9,761||Ronald Cavenaugh|
|District 18||Richard Womack||5.6%||11,112||Fred W. Harris|
|District 58||Harold Copenhaver||6%||10,719||Jon Hubbard|
The signature-filing deadline for candidates who wished to run in these elections was March 8, 2010, and the primary Election Day was May 18, 2010.
In 2010, candidates running for the House raised a total of $5,568,912 in campaign contributions. Their top 10 contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Arkansas Healthcare Associations||$177,750|
|Arkansas Realtors Association||$85,350|
|Arkansas Republican Party||$79,473|
|Arkansas Democratic Party||$75,250|
|Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association||$73,000|
|Bryant, L J||$53,045|
|Arkansas Medical Society||$51,950|
Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on May 20, 2008 and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $5,071,811. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Arkansas Healthcare Association||$182,920|
|Arkansas Realtors Association||$89,675|
|Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association||$83,504|
|Smith, Scott A||$82,508|
|Southwestern Energy Co||$67,500|
|Arkansas Democratic Party||$52,500|
Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on May 5, 2006 and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $4,666,062. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Arkansas Healthcare Association||$155,050|
|Southwestern Energy Co||$116,450|
|Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association||$89,100|
|Arkansas Realtors Association||$74,125|
|Arkansas Democratic Party||$63,250|
|Arkansas Medical Society||$63,225|
|Arkansas Republican Party||$47,500|
Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on May 18, 2004 and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $3,956,366. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Arkansas Healthcare Association||$76,750|
|Arkansas Republican Party||$64,050|
|Sample, Betty Ann||$52,000|
|Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association||$49,350|
|Wilkes & Mchugh||$47,000|
|Arkansas Realtors Association||$45,750|
Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on May 21, 2002 and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $2,775,317. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Arkansas Healthcare Association||$58,450|
|Arkansas Realtors Association||$56,650|
|Arkansas Republican Party||$48,650|
|Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association||$32,250|
Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on May 23, 2000 and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $2,748,032. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Arkansas Republican Party||$80,417|
|Conservative Leadership for Arkansas||$39,000|
|Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association||$37,000|
|Arkansas Democratic Party||$35,350|
|Arkansas Medical Society||$29,352|
|Arkansas Realtors Association||$28,500|
|Arkansas Education Association||$26,049|
Article 5, Section 4 of the Arkansas Constitution states: No person shall be a Senator or Representative who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of the United States, nor any one who has not been for two years next preceding his election, a resident of this State, and for one year next preceding his election, a resident of the county or district whence he may be chosen. Senators shall be at least twenty-five years of age, and Representatives at least twenty-one years of age.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the Governor must call for a special election in order to fill the vacancy. The election must be called by the Governor without delay. For all special elections in the Senate, the county that first established the district is responsible for conducting the election.
All special elections must be held on the Second Tuesday of each month. The only other dates an election can be held if the second Tuesday of the month falls on a legal holiday or is in June during an even-numbered year.
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
The Arkansas legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Arkansas Term Limits Initiative in 1992. That initiative said that Arkansas representatives are subject to term limits of no more than three two-year terms.
- See also: Redistricting in Arkansas
The Arkansas Board of Apportionment is responsible for redistricting at the state legislative level. This is one of 11 commissions nationwide that are responsible for redistricting.
The Census Bureau releases population data to Arkansas the week of February 7, 2011. Arkansas' population increased by 9.1 percent to 2,926,229 between 2000 and 2010. On July 29, 2011, the Board of Apportionment approved new state legislative maps by a 2-1 vote along party lines. The number of majority-minority districts in the House was reduced from 13 to 11.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of January 2015|
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body and is elected every two years by the membership. Duties on the Speaker include preserving order and decorum, deciding all questions of order, assigning committee leadership, and naming Members to select committees. The Speaker also appoints a Speaker Pro Tempore and may appoint Assistant Speakers Pro Tempore to assist in leadership duties.
|Current Leadership, Arkansas House of Representatives|
|State Speaker of the House||Jeremy Gillam||Republican|
|State House Speaker Pro Tempore||Jon S. Eubanks||Republican|
|State House Majority Leader||Ken Bragg||Republican|
|State House Majority Whip||Jim Dotson||Republican|
|State House Minority Leader||Eddie Armstrong, III||Democratic|
|State House Minority Whip||Joe Jett||Democratic|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Arkansas legislature are paid $15,869 per year. They are also given per diem of $136 per day (in voucher form) plus mileage tied to the federal rate.
When sworn in
Arkansas legislators assume office on the first day of session. This is on the second Monday of January.
The Arkansas House of Representatives has eleven standing committees:
- Advanced Communications and Information Technology
- Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- City, County and Local Affairs Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Education Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Insurance and Commerce Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Judiciary Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Public Transportation Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Revenue and Taxation Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
It also has two select committees:
- Management Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
- Rules Committee, Arkansas House of Representatives
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State House of Representatives for the first 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last year. The Arkansas State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final year of the study depicted a shift in the Arkansas House of Representatives which changed to Republican control for the first time.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Arkansas state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Arkansas has never had a Republican trifecta, but did have two Democratic trifectas, between 1992 and 1996 and also between 2007 and 2011. Arkansas has ranked in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking for each year of the study. Its highest ranking (41st) occurred in the early 1990s under a Democratic trifecta, while its worst ranking (47th) occurred in 1999 and 2000 under divided government. 2013 was the first year in which Arkansas’s divided government included a Democratic governor and Republican legislature. In all other years of divided government, Arkansas had a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 43.18
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 45.30
- Official Website of the Arkansas House of Representatives
- Official list of the current members of the Arkansas House of Representatives (dead link)
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed January 6, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Arkansas State Constitution, pg. 16, accessed December 16, 2013
- Arkansas House website
- Houston Chronicle, "Things to watch in 2015 Arkansas legislative session," January 10, 2015
- The Arkansas Traveler, "Arkansas State Legislature Creates Entrepreneurship Program for College Seniors," accessed May 9, 2014
- akrnasasbusiness.com, "Fiscal Session 2014: A User's Guide to the Arkansas Legislature," February 10, 2014
- arkansasbusiness.com, "Sine Die: Arkansas Lawmakers Formally End Legislative Session," May 17, 2013 (dead link)
- Arkansas online, " Legislative panel rejects pay rise for elected officials," January 16, 2013
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Arkansas House 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money, "Arkansas 2008 Candidates," accessed May 28, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Arkansas 2006 Candidates," accessed May 28, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Arkansas 2004 Candidates," accessed May 28, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Arkansas 2002 Candidates," accessed May 28, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Arkansas 2000 Candidates," accessed May 28, 2013
- Arkansas Legislature, "Arkansas Code - Unannotated," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statutes, 10-2-118 and 10-2-119)
- Arkansas Legislature, "Arkansas Code - Unannotated," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statutes, 10-2-120(a)(1))
- Arkansas Legislature, "Arkansas Code - Unannotated," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statutes, 7-11-105 1 (a)-(c))
- The City Wire, "Census: Arkansas population up 9.1%," December 21, 2010
- About the Arkansas House of Representatives
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
State of Arkansas
Little Rock (capital)
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