Governor of Arkansas
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, Section 2|
|Assumed office:||January 9, 2007|
|Other Arkansas Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Commissioner of Education • Agriculture Secretary • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Exec. Director • Labor Director • Public Service Commission|
The 45th and current governor is Mike Beebe, a Democrat who was first elected in 2006 and took office on January 9, 2007. In November of 2010, he was elected to another term. As Arkansas governors are limited to two terms in office, Beebe's tenure will end when his current term expires on January 13, 2015.
Beebe was Attorney General of Arkansas from 2002 to 2007 and a member of the Arkansas Senate from 1982 to 2002. He was previously a partner for the firm of Lightle, Beebe, Raney, Bell, and Hudgins and served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1968 to 1974. Beebe received a B.A. in Political Science from Arkansas State University and his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He and his wife, Ginger, have three children.
The supreme executive power of this State shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled "the Governor of the State of Arkansas."
| 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010 |
Lists of candidates
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
Under Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, the governor may not hold any federal office, any civil or military commission, any office in another state, or any other office in Arkansas concurrently with his gubernatorial term. Per Article VI, Section 5, the governor must be at least 30 years old, an American citizen, and a resident of Arkansas for at least seven years on election day.
No member of Congress, or other person holding office under the authority of this State, or of the United States, shall exercise the office of Governor, except as herein provided.
No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor except a citizen of the United States, who shall have attained the age of thirty years, and shall have been seven years a resident of this State.
Arkansas elects governors during federal midterm election years (e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018). The gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the second Tuesday in January following the election. Thus, January 11, 2011 and January 13, 2015 are inaugural days. If two candidates are tied after the general election, then a joint session of the legislature will choose the winner by simple balloting when the General Assembly convenes.
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Arkansas governors are restricted to two terms in office during their lifetime.
|No elected officials of the Executive Department of this State may serve in the same office more than two such four year terms.|
- See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled
Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article 6, Sections 12 to 14.
If the elected governor resigns, dies, is removed, or is otherwise unable to discharge the office, the president of the Senate is the first to succeed, serving as the governor until an election is held. He also serves as acting governor if the incumbent is temporarily unable to exercise his office. The next in line is the speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Arkansas is unusual is that there is a constitutionally designated lieutenant governor, but he is not the first in the line of succession.
If the next scheduled general election is more than 12 months away when the acting governor assumes office, he must call a special election, with a minimum of 60 days notice, run according to the same rules that administer a regular election.
The governor is the commander-in-chief of all Arkansas' military and naval forces except when either force is already under United States command.
The governor must deliver periodic (traditionally annual) addresses to the legislature. These "State of the State" speeches concern the condition of the state and includes the governor's recommendation for specific policies and steps. He is required to deliver one such address at the end of his official term.
The governor has veto power over all legislative actions, including appropriation bills, concurrent orders and resolutions. In the case of orders and resolutions, the gubernatorial veto does not extend to an order to adjourn the legislature. Lawmakers may override a gubernatorial veto by a simple majority of both houses.
The Arkansas Constitution grants the governor, "power to grant reprieves, commutations of sentence, and pardons, after conviction; and to remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law." This power does not extend to cases of treason or impeachment. In cases of treason, the governor may grant reprieves with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governor must inform the legislature each time he grants a pardon, along with his reason for doing so.
Other duties and privileges of the office include:
- issuing and authorizing all commissions and grants made by the state
- calling extraordinary sessions of the legislature
- adjourning either regular or extraordinary sessions of the legislature when the two houses are unable to pass a concurrent resolution to adjourn
- filling vacancies in the offices of Treasurer of State, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, and Attorney General, as well as any other offices that become vacant without an explicit legal course for filling the vacancy
In 2010, the governor of Arkansas was paid $87,352, the 49th highest gubernatorial salary in America. The compensation of all state constitutional officers is set by Amendment 70 to the state constitution. Salaries are adjusted each year to conform with changes in inflation (Consumer Price Index).
The first Arkansas Constitution, ratified in 1836, established four-year terms for governors and the requirement that they be residents of the state for ten years before election. The fifth constitution in 1874, following the American Civil War and Reconstruction, limited the executive's power while , lowering gubernatorial terms to two years and changed the residency requirement to seven years. Amendment 63 to the Arkansas Constitution, passed in 1984, increased the terms of both governor and lieutenant governor to four years. A referendum in 1992 limited a governor to two consecutive four-year terms.
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 579 Democratic and 482 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992-2013.
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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
State Capitol Room 250
Little Rock, AR 72201
State of Arkansas
Little Rock (capital)
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Auditor of State | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture | Executive Director of Natural Resources Commission | Director of Labor | Public Service Commission|
Arkansas Freedom of Information Act | Transparency Checklist | Government corruption reports | Transparency Legislation | FOIA procedures | Transparency Advocates | State budget | Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations |
List of counties |
List of Cities |
List of School Board Districts |