Arkansas State Senate

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Arkansas State Senate

Seal of Arkansas.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Michael Lamoureux, (R)
Majority Leader:   Eddie Joe Williams, (R)
Minority Leader:   Keith Ingram, (D)
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 6, 2012 (35 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (17 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.


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. [3]

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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through March 21.

Major issues

New Speaker of the House Davy Carter (R) said the biggest issue facing lawmakers in 2013 is the Medicaid funding shortfall. Other major issues include tax cuts, education, voter ID, lottery scholarships, and abortion.[4][5] During the first budget negotiations of the year, the Joint Budget Committee rejected a pay increase for elected officials.[6]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was 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 were held in Arkansas on November 6, 2012. A total of 35 seats were 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 were on the ballot in November. The signature filing deadline was March 1, 2012, and the primary election was 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 were termed-out.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


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.[7] However, in the first election after the census, all 35 seats were 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: [8]


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[9]. For all special elections in the Senate, the county that first established the district is responsible for conducting the election[10].

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[11].

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.[12]


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.

2010 census

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.[13] On July 29, 2011, the Board of Apportionment approved new state legislative maps by a 2-1 vote along party lines. Notably, the town of Alpena (pop. 392) was split up among three Senate districts.


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.[14]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Arkansas State Senate
Office Representative Party
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Michael Lamoureux Ends.png Republican
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 1st District Missy Irvin Ends.png Republican
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 2nd District Jeremy Hutchinson Ends.png Republican
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 3rd District Bruce Holland Ends.png Republican
Assistant President Pro Tempore - 4th District Stephanie Flowers Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Eddie Joe Williams Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Jonathan Dismang Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Bobby Pierce Electiondot.png Democratic


As of 2012, 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.[15]

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.[16]

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.

Current members

Current members, Arkansas State Senate
District Senator Party First assumed office
1 Bart Hester Ends.png Republican 2013
2 Jim Hendren Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
3 Cecile Bledsoe Ends.png Republican 2009
4 Uvalde Lindsey Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
5 Bryan King Ends.png Republican 2013
6 Gary Stubblefield Ends.png Republican 2013
7 Jon Woods Ends.png Republican 2013
8 Jake C. Files Ends.png Republican 2011
9 Bruce Holland Ends.png Republican 2011
10 Larry Teague Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
11 Jimmy Hickey, Jr. Ends.png Republican 2013
12 Bruce Maloch Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
13 Alan Clark Ends.png Republican 2013
14 Bill Sample Ends.png Republican 2011
15 David J. Sanders Ends.png Republican 2013
16 Michael Lamoureux Ends.png Republican 2013
17 Johnny Key Ends.png Republican 2009
18 Missy Irvin Ends.png Republican 2011
19 David Wyatt Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
20 Robert Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
21 Paul Bookout Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
22 David Burnett Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
23 Ronald Caldwell Ends.png Republican 2013
24 Keith Ingram Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
25 Stephanie Flowers Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
26 Eddie Cheatham Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
27 Bobby Pierce Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
28 Jonathan Dismang Ends.png Republican 2011
29 Eddie Joe Williams Ends.png Republican 2011
30 Linda Chesterfield Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
31 Joyce Elliott Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
32 David Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
33 Jeremy Hutchinson Ends.png Republican 2011
34 Jane English Ends.png Republican 2013
35 Jason Rapert Ends.png Republican 2011

Senate committees

The Arkansas Senate has the following ten standing committees:

It also has two select committees:


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.[17][18]

External links