Difference between revisions of "Arkansas General Assembly"

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|Type = [[State legislature]]
 
|Type = [[State legislature]]
 
|Term limit = [[State legislatures with term limits|2 terms (8 years) in Senate, 3 terms (6 years) in House]]
 
|Term limit = [[State legislatures with term limits|2 terms (8 years) in Senate, 3 terms (6 years) in House]]
|Next session = [[Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions|January 10, 2011]]
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|Next session = [[Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions|January 14, 2013]]
|Website = [http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Pages/Home.aspx Official Legislature Page]
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|Website = [http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ Official Legislature Page]
 
<!--Level 3-->
 
<!--Level 3-->
|Senate president = [[Mark Darr]], (R)
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|Senate president = [[Paul Bookout]] (D)
 
|House speaker = [[Robert Moore]] (D)
 
|House speaker = [[Robert Moore]] (D)
 
|Majority leader = [[Robert Thompson]] (D) ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]]),<br>[[Johnnie Roebuck]] (D) ([[Arkansas House of Representatives|House]])
 
|Majority leader = [[Robert Thompson]] (D) ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]]),<br>[[Johnnie Roebuck]] (D) ([[Arkansas House of Representatives|House]])
 
|Minority leader = [[Ruth Whitaker]] (R) ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]]),<br>[[John Burris]] (R) ([[Arkansas House of Representatives|House]])
 
|Minority leader = [[Ruth Whitaker]] (R) ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]]),<br>[[John Burris]] (R) ([[Arkansas House of Representatives|House]])
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|Majority whip = [[Joyce Elliott]] (D) ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]])
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|Minority whip = [[Michael Lamoureux]] (R) (([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]])
 
<!-- Level 4-->
 
<!-- Level 4-->
|Members = 35 ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]]), 105 ([[Arkansas House of Representatives|House]])
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|Members = 35 ([[Arkansas State Senate|Senate]]), 100 ([[Arkansas House of Representatives|House]])
 
|Term length = [[Length of terms of state senators|4 years (Senate)]], [[Length of terms of state representatives|2 years (House)]]
 
|Term length = [[Length of terms of state senators|4 years (Senate)]], [[Length of terms of state representatives|2 years (House)]]
 
|Authority = [[Article 8, Arkansas Constitution#Section 3|Art 8, Section 3, Arkansas Constitution]]
 
|Authority = [[Article 8, Arkansas Constitution#Section 3|Art 8, Section 3, Arkansas Constitution]]
|Salary = [[Comparison of state legislative salaries|$15,362/year]]
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|Salary = [[Comparison of state legislative salaries|$15,362/year + $136/day]]
 
<!-- Level 5-->
 
<!-- Level 5-->
|Next election = November 6, 2012 <br>[[Arkansas State Senate elections, 2012|35 seats (Senate)]]<br> [[Arkansas House of Representatives elections, 2012|105 seats (House)]]
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|Next election = November 4, 2014
|Last election = November 2, 2010 <br>[[Arkansas State Senate elections, 2010|17 seats (Senate)]] <br>[[Arkansas House of Representatives elections, 2010|105 seats (House)]]
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|Last election = November 6, 2012 <br>[[Arkansas State Senate elections, 2012|35 seats (Senate)]]<br> [[Arkansas House of Representatives elections, 2012|100 seats (House)]]
 
|Redistricting = [[Redistricting in Arkansas |Arkansas Legislature controls Congressional Redistricting, Board of Apportionment controls state legislative redistricting]]
 
|Redistricting = [[Redistricting in Arkansas |Arkansas Legislature controls Congressional Redistricting, Board of Apportionment controls state legislative redistricting]]
}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''Arkansas General Assembly''' is the legislative branch of the Arkansas government. The General Assembly consists of an upper branch, the [[Arkansas State Senate]], and a lower branch, the [[Arkansas House of Representatives]]. There are 100 representatives and 35 senators. The General Assembly convenes on the second Monday of every other year. A session lasts for 60 days unless the legislature votes to extend it. The governor of Arkansas can issue a "call" for a special session during the interims between regular sessions. In 2010, the General Assembly convened for its Fiscal Session, and it was [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions| in session]] from February 8th to March 4th.<ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2009/2010F/Pages/Home.aspx Session dates for Arkansas legislature, 2010]</ref>
+
}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''Arkansas General Assembly''' is the legislative branch of the Arkansas government. The General Assembly consists of an upper branch, the [[Arkansas State Senate]], and a lower branch, the [[Arkansas House of Representatives]]. There are 100 representatives and 35 senators. The General Assembly convenes on the second Monday of every other year. A session lasts for 60 days unless the legislature votes to extend it. The [[Governor of Arkansas]] can issue a "call" for a special session during the interims between regular sessions.
  
 +
{{State trifecta status|state=Arkansas|control=None|= 13 states that is under divided government and do not have state trifectas}}
 
==Sessions==
 
==Sessions==
[[Article 5, Arkansas Constitution| Article V of the Arkansas Constitution]] establishes when the General Assembly 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. <ref>[http://www.arkansashouse.org/about-the-house Arkansas House website]</ref>  
+
[[Article 5, Arkansas Constitution| Article V of the Arkansas Constitution]] establishes when the General Assembly 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. <ref>[http://www.arkansashouse.org/about-the-house Arkansas House website]</ref>  
  
 
Section 17 of Article V limits the length of sessions to sixty days, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of each legislative house.
 
Section 17 of Article V limits the length of sessions to sixty days, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of each legislative house.
 +
 +
===2013===
 +
::''See also: [[Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions]]''
 +
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through May 17.
 +
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====Major issues====
 +
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.<ref>[http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/92525/arkansas-lawmakers-to-formally-adjourn-session?page=all ''arkansasbusiness.com'', "Sine Die: Arkansas Lawmakers Formally End Legislative Session," May 17, 2013]</ref> During the first budget negotiations of the year, the Joint Budget Committee rejected a pay increase for elected officials.<ref>[http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2013/jan/16/state-lawmakers-look-officials-pay/ ''Arkansas online,'' " Legislative panel rejects pay rise for elected officials,"  January 16, 2013]</ref>
 +
 +
===2012===
 +
::''See also: [[Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions]]''
 +
In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from February 13 to March 13.
  
 
===2011===
 
===2011===
 
::''See also: [[Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions]]''
 
::''See also: [[Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions]]''
In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 to March 10. The 45 calendar days that the [[Arkansas Legislature]] was in session during 2011 is tied with [[Utah State Legislature|Utah]], [[Wyoming State Legislature|Wyoming]], and [[New Mexico State Legislature|New Mexico]] for the shortest legislative session in the country.<ref>[http://www.scpolicycouncil.com/map/ ''South Carolina Policy Council'' "50 State Legislative Session Interactive Map," February 2011]</ref>
+
In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 to April 27.
  
 
===2010===
 
===2010===
 
::''See also: [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions]]''
 
::''See also: [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions]]''
 
In 2010, the General Assembly convened for its Fiscal Session, meeting from February 8th to March 4th.
 
In 2010, the General Assembly convened for its Fiscal Session, meeting from February 8th to March 4th.
 +
 +
==Ethics and transparency==
 +
===Open States Transparency===
 +
{{Transparency card|State=Arkansas|Grade=A}}
  
 
==Role in State Budget==
 
==Role in State Budget==
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:: ''Main article: [[sunshinereview:Arkansas state budget|Arkansas state budget]]''
 
:: ''Main article: [[sunshinereview:Arkansas state budget|Arkansas state budget]]''
  
By the end of November of every other year, the General Assembly of Arkansas receives an biennial budget proposal from the Governor. The biennial budget proposal is for the next two fiscal years, which begin July 1st.   The General Assembly then revises this budget over the course of the next couple of months. Sometime between January and April, the General Assembly votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, three-fourths of legislatures must vote in support of it <ref> [http://www.nasbo.org/Publications/PDFs/2008%20Budget%20Processes%20in%20the%20States.pdf ''National Association of State Budget Offices'', 2008 Budget Processes in the States, Pages 4-5] </ref>
+
By the end of November of every other year, the General Assembly of Arkansas receives an biennial budget proposal from the [[Governor of Arkansas|Governor]]. The biennial budget proposal is for the next two fiscal years, which begin July 1st. The General Assembly then revises this budget over the course of the next couple of months. Sometime between January and April, the General Assembly votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, three-fourths of legislators must vote in support of it <ref> [http://www.nasbo.org/Publications/PDFs/2008%20Budget%20Processes%20in%20the%20States.pdf ''National Association of State Budget Offices'', 2008 Budget Processes in the States, Pages 4-5] </ref>
  
Despite a nationwide economic downtown, the General Assembly of Arkansas has managed to pass a nearly balanced budget. Fiscal year 2010’s $4.6 billion budget estimated a $75 million deficit. This deficit will be filled by Arkansas’ recently established “rainy day” fund. <ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bureau/fiscal/Publications/2009%20Fiscal%20Summary.pdf ''Arkansas State Legislature'', “Summary of Fiscal Legislation 2009,May 6, 2009]</ref>  
+
Despite a nationwide economic downtown, the General Assembly of Arkansas managed to pass a nearly balanced budget in 2010. Fiscal year 2010’s $4.6 billion budget estimated a $75 million deficit. This deficit was filled by Arkansas’ "rainy day" fund. <ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bureau/fiscal/Publications/2009%20Fiscal%20Summary.pdf ''Arkansas State Legislature'', "Summary of Fiscal Legislation 2009," May 6, 2009]</ref>  
  
 
==Legislators==
 
==Legislators==
 
 
===Salaries===
 
===Salaries===
 
 
:: ''See also: [[Comparison of state legislative salaries]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Comparison of state legislative salaries]]''
  
As of 2010, members of the Arkansas legislature are paid $15,362 per year. They are also given per diem of $136 per day (in voucher form) plus mileage tied to the federal rate.<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=20117 ''National Conference of State Legislatures'', "2010 Legislator Compensation Data"]</ref>
+
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.<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/legisdata/2012-ncsl-legislator-compensation-data.aspx ''NCSL.org'', "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013]</ref>
  
The $3,958/month that Arkansas legislators are paid as of 2010 is an increase over the $14,765/year that they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007. The per diem has also increased from 2007 levels of $130 per day.<ref>[http://www.empirecenter.org/html/legislative_salaries.cfm ''Empire Center'', "Legislative Salaries Per State as of 2007"]</ref>
+
The $15,869/year that Arkansas legislators are paid as of 2011 is an increase over the $14,765/year that they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007. The per diem has also increased from 2007 levels of $130 per day.<ref>[http://www.empirecenter.org/html/legislative_salaries.cfm ''Empire Center'', "Legislative Salaries Per State as of 2007"]</ref>
  
 
===When sworn in===
 
===When sworn in===
 
 
:: ''See also: [[When state legislators assume office after a general election]]
 
:: ''See also: [[When state legislators assume office after a general election]]
  
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:: ''See also: [[Partisan composition of state senates]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Partisan composition of state senates]]''
  
The [[Arkansas State Senate]] is the upper branch of the Arkansas General Assembly. The Senate consists of 35 members, each representing a district with about 76,383 people.<ref>[http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Population_represented_by_state_legislators Population represented by state legislators]</ref> Service in the state legislature is part-time, and most state senators have full-time jobs during the rest of the year. The 35-member Senate consists of eight Republicans and 27 Democrats. There are six women and four African-Americans.
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The [[Arkansas State Senate]] is the upper branch of the Arkansas General Assembly. The Senate consists of 35 members. Each member represents an average of [[Population represented by state legislators|83,312 residents]], as of the 2010 Census.<ref>[http://2010.census.gov/news/pdf/apport2010_table4.pdf Population in 2010 of the American states]</ref> After the 2000 Census, each member represented [[Population represented by state legislators|76,383]].<ref>[http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t2/tables/tab01.pdf Population in 2000 of the American states]</ref> Service in the state legislature is part-time, and most state senators have full-time jobs during the rest of the year. The 35-member Senate consists of eight Republicans and 27 Democrats. There are six women and four African-Americans.
  
The senators are elected for a four-years term, the Senate being renewed by half every two years. Therefore a Senate lasts two years with the same composition.
+
The senators are elected to four-years term, the Senate being renewed by half every two years. Therefore a Senate lasts two years with the same composition.
  
 
{{Arsenatepartisan}}
 
{{Arsenatepartisan}}
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The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Arkansas State Senate from 1992-2013.<br>
 +
[[File:Partisan composition of the Arkansas State Senate.PNG]]
  
 
==House of Representatives==
 
==House of Representatives==
  
The [[Arkansas House of Representatives]] is the [[lower house]] of the Arkansas General Assembly. The House is composed of 100 members elected from an equal amount of constituencies across the state. Each district has an average population of 26,734 according to the 2000 federal census.<ref>[http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Population_represented_by_state_legislators Population represented by state legislators]</ref> Members are elected to two-year terms and, since the 1993 Amendment 73 to the [[Arkansas Constitution]], [[term limits|limited to]] three terms (six years).  There are 11 African American Representatives.
+
The [[Arkansas House of Representatives]] is the [[lower house]] of the Arkansas General Assembly. The House is composed of 100 members elected from an equal amount of constituencies across the state. Each member represents an average of [[Population represented by state legislators|29,159 residents]], as of the 2010 Census.<ref>[http://2010.census.gov/news/pdf/apport2010_table4.pdf Population in 2010 of the American states]</ref> After the 2000 Census, each member represented [[Population represented by state legislators|26,734]].<ref>[http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t2/tables/tab01.pdf Population in 2000 of the American states]</ref> Members are elected to two-year terms and, since the 1993 Amendment 73 to the [[Arkansas Constitution]], [[term limits|limited to]] three terms (six years).  
  
The Speaker of the House presides over the body and is elected by the membership every two years. His or her duties include the supervision and directing the daily order of business, recognizing members to speak, preserving order in the House, deciding all questions of order and germaneness, certifying all measures passed, assigning committee leadership, and naming members to select committees. In the Speaker's absence, the Speaker Pro Tempore presides.
+
The [[Speaker of the House]] presides over the body and is elected by the membership every two years. His or her duties include the supervision and directing the daily order of business, recognizing members to speak, preserving order in the House, deciding all questions of order and germaneness, certifying all measures passed, assigning committee leadership, and naming members to select committees. In the Speaker's absence, the Speaker Pro Tempore presides.
  
 
The Arkansas House of Representatives meets regularly every two years at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.
 
The Arkansas House of Representatives meets regularly every two years at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.
 
{{arhousepartisan}}
 
{{arhousepartisan}}
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The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Arkansas State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.<br>
 +
[[File:Partisan composition of the Arkansas State House.PNG]]
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==History==
 +
===Partisan balance 1992-2013===
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{{who runs badge|align=left}}
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::''See also: [[Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States]] and [[Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Arkansas]]''
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[[File:Arkansas legislature pie chart 1992-2013.png|thumb|Partisan breakdown of the Arkansas legislature from 1992-2013]]
 +
'''Arkansas State Senate:'''
 +
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State Senate for 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for one year. The Arkansas State Senate is one of 16 state senates 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 senate which changed to Republican control.
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Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
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'''Arkansas State House of Representatives:'''
 +
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.
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 +
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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
 +
 +
The chart below shows the partisan composition of the [[Governor of Arkansas|Office of the Governor of Arkansas]], the [[Arkansas State Senate]] and the [[Arkansas House of Representatives]] from 1992-2013.
 +
[[File:Partisan composition of Arkansas state government(1992-2013).PNG]]
  
 
==Joint legislative committees==
 
==Joint legislative committees==
* [[Legislative Council, Arkansas Assembly]]
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There are 24 joint legislative committees in the General Assembly.
* [[ALC-JBC Budget Hearings Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
+
* [[Legislative Council, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Academic Facilities Oversight Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[ALC-JBC Budget Hearings Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Advanced Communications and Information Technology Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Academic Facilities Oversight Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Advanced Communications and Information Technology Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Game and Fish Commission Oversight Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Alzheimer's Advisory Council, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Boys State Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Game and Fish Commission Oversight Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Code Revision Commission, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Boys State Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Community Services Oversight and Planning Council, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Code Revision Commission, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Economic and Tax Policy Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Community Services Oversight and Planning Council, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Electronic Records Study Commission, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Economic and Tax Policy Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Joint Energy Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Electronic Records Study Commission, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Girls State Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Joint Energy Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Governor's Emergency Fund Review Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Girls State Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Joint Budget Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Governor's Emergency Fund Review Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Joint Committee on Educational Facilities, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Joint Budget Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Joint Performance Review Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Joint Committee on Educational Facilities, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Legislative Facilities Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Joint Performance Review Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Legislative Joint Auditing Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Legislative Facilities Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Legislative Printing Requirements and Specifications Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Legislative Joint Auditing Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Public Retirement and Social Security Programs Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
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* [[Legislative Printing Requirements and Specifications Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Public School and School Motor Vehicle Insurance Advisory Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
+
* [[Public Retirement and Social Security Programs Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
* [[Rural Fire Departments Study Committee, Arkansas Assembly]]
+
* [[Public School and School Motor Vehicle Insurance Advisory Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
 +
* [[Rural Fire Departments Study Committee, Arkansas General Assembly]]
 +
 
 +
==External links==
 +
* [http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ Arkansas General Assembly]
 +
* [http://www.govtrack.us/states/ar Legislation tracking at GovTrack]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist|2}}
 
{{reflist|2}}
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas_General_Assembly Wikipedia: Arkansas General Assembly]
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas_Senate Wikipedia: Arkansas Senate]
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas_House_of_Representatives Wikipedia: Arkansas House of Representatives]
 
 
==External links==
 
* [http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ Arkansas 86th General Assembly] Official Site
 
  
 
{{State legislatures}}
 
{{State legislatures}}

Revision as of 12:07, 9 July 2013

Arkansas General Assembly

Seal of Arkansas.svg.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years) in Senate, 3 terms (6 years) in House
2014 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Leadership
Senate President:   Paul Bookout (D)
House Speaker:  Robert Moore (D)
Majority Leader:   Robert Thompson (D) (Senate),
Johnnie Roebuck (D) (House)
Minority leader:   Ruth Whitaker (R) (Senate),
John Burris (R) (House)
Structure
Members:  35 (Senate), 100 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art 8, Section 3, Arkansas Constitution
Salary:   $15,362/year + $136/day
Elections
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
35 seats (Senate)
100 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Arkansas Legislature controls Congressional Redistricting, Board of Apportionment controls state legislative redistricting
The Arkansas General Assembly is the legislative branch of the Arkansas government. The General Assembly consists of an upper branch, the Arkansas State Senate, and a lower branch, the Arkansas House of Representatives. There are 100 representatives and 35 senators. The General Assembly convenes on the second Monday of every other year. A session lasts for 60 days unless the legislature votes to extend it. The Governor of Arkansas can issue a "call" for a special session during the interims between regular sessions.

As of August 2014, Arkansas is one of 14 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

Sessions

Article V of the Arkansas Constitution establishes when the General Assembly 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. [1]

Section 17 of Article V limits the length of sessions to sixty days, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of each legislative house.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through May 17.

Major issues

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.[2] During the first budget negotiations of the year, the Joint Budget Committee rejected a pay increase for elected officials.[3]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from February 13 to March 13.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 to April 27.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly convened for its Fiscal Session, meeting from February 8th to March 4th.

Ethics and transparency

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

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.[4]

Role in State Budget

Main article: Arkansas state budget

By the end of November of every other year, the General Assembly of Arkansas receives an biennial budget proposal from the Governor. The biennial budget proposal is for the next two fiscal years, which begin July 1st. The General Assembly then revises this budget over the course of the next couple of months. Sometime between January and April, the General Assembly votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, three-fourths of legislators must vote in support of it [5]

Despite a nationwide economic downtown, the General Assembly of Arkansas managed to pass a nearly balanced budget in 2010. Fiscal year 2010’s $4.6 billion budget estimated a $75 million deficit. This deficit was filled by Arkansas’ "rainy day" fund. [6]

Legislators

Salaries

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.[7]

The $15,869/year that Arkansas legislators are paid as of 2011 is an increase over the $14,765/year that they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007. The per diem has also increased from 2007 levels of $130 per day.[8]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Arkansas legislators assume office on the first day of session. This is on the second Monday of January.

Senate

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

The Arkansas State Senate is the upper branch of the Arkansas General Assembly. The Senate consists of 35 members. Each member represents an average of 83,312 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[9] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 76,383.[10] Service in the state legislature is part-time, and most state senators have full-time jobs during the rest of the year. The 35-member Senate consists of eight Republicans and 27 Democrats. There are six women and four African-Americans.

The senators are elected to four-years term, the Senate being renewed by half every two years. Therefore a Senate lasts two years with the same composition.


Party As of August 2014
     Democratic Party 13
     Republican Party 21
     Vacancy 1
Total 35


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Arkansas State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Arkansas State Senate.PNG

House of Representatives

The Arkansas House of Representatives is the lower house of the Arkansas General Assembly. The House is composed of 100 members elected from an equal amount of constituencies across the state. Each member represents an average of 29,159 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[11] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 26,734.[12] Members are elected to two-year terms and, since the 1993 Amendment 73 to the Arkansas Constitution, limited to three terms (six years).

The Speaker of the House presides over the body and is elected by the membership every two years. His or her duties include the supervision and directing the daily order of business, recognizing members to speak, preserving order in the House, deciding all questions of order and germaneness, certifying all measures passed, assigning committee leadership, and naming members to select committees. In the Speaker's absence, the Speaker Pro Tempore presides.

The Arkansas House of Representatives meets regularly every two years at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.

Party As of August 2014
     Democratic Party 48
     Republican Party 51
     Green Party 1
Total 100


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Arkansas State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Arkansas State House.PNG

History

Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Arkansas
Partisan breakdown of the Arkansas legislature from 1992-2013

Arkansas State Senate: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State Senate for 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for one year. The Arkansas State Senate is one of 16 state senates 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 senate which changed to Republican control.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Arkansas State House of Representatives: 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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Arkansas, the Arkansas State Senate and the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Arkansas state government(1992-2013).PNG

Joint legislative committees

There are 24 joint legislative committees in the General Assembly.

External links

References