Difference between revisions of "Arkansas State Senate"

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|Members = 35
|Members = 35
|Political groups = [[Democratic Party]] (20) <br>[[Republican Party]] (15)
|Political groups = [[Democratic Party]] ({{Party counter DPL|House=Arkansas State Senate|State=Arkansas|Party=Democratic}}) <br>[[Republican Party]] ({{Party counter DPL|House=Arkansas State Senate|State=Arkansas|Party=Republican}})
|Term length = [[Length of terms of state senators|4 years]]
|Term length = [[Length of terms of state senators|4 years]]
|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]]

Revision as of 02:55, 22 December 2011

Arkansas State Senate

Seal of Arkansas.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   February 13, 2012
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Paul Bookout, (D)
Majority Leader:   Robert Thompson (D)
Minority Leader:   Ruth Whitaker, (R)
Members:  35
   Democratic Party (11)
Republican Party (24)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art 8, Section 3, Arkansas Constitution
Salary:   $15,362/year
Last Election:  November 2, 2010 (17 seats)
Next election:  November 6, 2012 (35 seats)
Redistricting:  Arkansas Board of Apportionment
Meeting place:
Arkansas State Senate Chamber.jpg
The Arkansas State Senate is the upper house of the Arkansas General Assembly. There are 35 state senators; each represents an average of 83,312 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 76,383 residents.[2] Service in the state legislature is part-time.

The 87th General Assembly convened on January 12, 2009.

In 2010, the Senate convened for its Fiscal Session, and it was in session from February 8th to March 4th.[3]


Article V of the Arkansas Constitution establishes when the Arkansas General Assembly, of which the Senate 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. [4]

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 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate will be in session from February 13 to March 13.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

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


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

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



See also: Arkansas State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Arkansas State Senate will be held in Arkansas on November 6, 2012. A total of 35 seats will be up for election. Although Arkansas senators typically serve four-year terms, they are elected to a two-year term during the first election of the decade. Thus, rather than only half of all senators being up for election, all sitting members will be on the ballot in November. The signature filing deadline is March 1, 2012, and the primary election will be held on May 22, 2012.

Arkansas State Senators are subject to term limits and may serve no more than 2 four-year terms. In 2012, 10 Arkansas State Senators will be termed-out.


See also: Arkansas State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Arkansas State Senator were held in Arkansas on November 2, 2010. State senate seats in 17 of the 35 districts were on the ballot in 2010. The 17 districts where electoral contests took place in 2010 are: 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 34 and 35.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 8, 2010, and the primary election day was May 18, 2010.

According to Article 5 of the Arkansas Constitution, Arkansas state senators are each elected to four-year terms with term limits.[5] However, in the first election after the census, all 35 seats will be up for election. The Senators "shall divide themselves into two classes, by lot, and the first class shall hold their places for two years only, after which all shall be elected for four years."

In 2010, candidates running for senate raised a total of $3,771,126 in campaign funds. Their top 10 contributors were: [6]

Donor Amount
Greenberg, Daniel $185,638
Cowling, Ken $133,512
Arkansas Health Care Association $113,000
Medley, Jim $55,800
Stephens Group $51,250
Arkansas State Farm Insurance $39,500
Arkansas Realtors Association $38,500
Harrison, Barrett E $34,500
Morton, Michael S $29,000
Harrelson, Steve $28,500


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.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

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[7]. For all special elections in the Senate, the county that first established the district is responsible for conducting the election[8].

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[9].

Term limits

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 senators are subject to term limits of no more than two four-year terms.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1992 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2000.[10]


Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 11
     Republican Party 24
Total 35


The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate but only casts a vote in the case of a tie. In the absence of the Lieutenant Governor, the President Pro Tempore presides over the daily session who is elected by full senate caucus and is also the chief leadership position in the majority caucus.[11]

Current leadership

Office Representative Party
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Paul Bookout Electiondot.png Democratic
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 1st District David Wyatt Electiondot.png Democratic
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 2nd District Linda Pondexter Chesterfield Electiondot.png Democratic
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 3rd District Kim Hendren Electiondot.png Democratic
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 4th District Jerry Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader Robert Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Joyce Elliott Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader Ruth Whitaker Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Whip Michael Lamoureux Ends.png Republican


As of 2011, members of the Arkansas State Senate 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.[12]

The $4,088/month that Arkansas senators 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.[13]

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.

List of current members

District Senator Party
1st Johnny Key Ends.png Republican
2nd Randy Laverty Electiondot.png Democratic
3rd Ruth Whitaker Ends.png Republican
4th Michael Lamoureux Ends.png Republican
5th Stephanie Flowers Electiondot.png Democratic
6th Bruce Holland Ends.png Republican
7th Sue Madison Electiondot.png Democratic
8th Cecile Bledsoe Ends.png Republican
9th Kim Hendren Ends.png Republican
10th Missy Thomas Irvin Ends.png Republican
11th Robert Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic
12th David Wyatt Electiondot.png Democratic
13th Jake C. Files Ends.png Republican
14th Paul Bookout Electiondot.png Democratic
15th David Burnett Electiondot.png Democratic
16th Jack Crumbly Electiondot.png Democratic
17th Jim Luker Electiondot.png Democratic
18th Jason Rapert Ends.png Republican
19th Bill Sample Ends.png Republican
20th Larry Teague Electiondot.png Democratic
21st Steve Harrelson Electiondot.png Democratic
22nd Jeremy Hutchinson Ends.png Republican
23rd Jerry Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic
24th Jimmy Jeffress Electiondot.png Democratic
25th Harmon Jeffress Electiondot.png Democratic
26th Percy Malone Electiondot.png Democratic
27th Mike Fletcher Electiondot.png Democratic
28th Eddie Joe Williams Ends.png Republican
29th Jonathan Dismang Ends.png Republican
30th Gilbert Baker Ends.png Republican
31st Mary Salmon Electiondot.png Democratic
32nd David Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic
33rd Joyce Elliott Electiondot.png Democratic
34th Linda Pondexter Chesterfield Electiondot.png Democratic
35th Bill Pritchard Ends.png Republican

Senate committees

The Arkansas Senate has the following nine standing committees:

It also has two select committees:

There is one senate interim committee as well.


Women in the Senate

Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas was the first woman to be elected to the Senate. She was appointed in 1931 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her husband, Senator Thaddeus Caraway. She was then elected in 1932, and again in 1938 and served until 1945. Since then, 38 women have served in the U.S. Senate.[14][15]

External links