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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Legislative Reports

Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012, at 10:25 AM

Election night is just the beginning for those who will be elected to serve in the 89th General Assembly. Just days after the election, newly elected members will gather for the first time on the House floor to make some very important decisions that could shape how laws are passed in 2013.

On Friday, Nov. 9, a House Caucus of the members-elect will convene. The purpose will be two-fold. First to determine seniority and seating of members, and second to determine who will serve in standing committees.

Starting at 9 a.m., the Speaker of the House will declare all House Chamber seats vacant. Representatives-elect will select, in the order of their seniority, any seat not occupied.

Because of term limits, often times seniority of incoming members must be determined by lot. The Speaker and the Speaker-designate will conduct the drawing. After a member makes his or her seat selection, they will be provided with a voting machine and desk keys.

After seniority is determined and seats are selected, members will begin the process of committee selection for standing committees.

Bills begin and often end their lives in committees. Hearings from interest groups, state agencies, and the general public are held at the committee level. Committee members play key roles in floor debate about the bills that they foster.

Committees help to organize the most important work of the General Assembly.

Standing committees maybe the most important type of committee because they consider and shape the vast majority of proposed laws.

The Arkansas House of Representatives has ten standing committees. The ten committees are split evenly into A and B categories. All House Members serve on one "A" committee and one "B" committee.

The class A standing committees are:

*Education

*Judiciary

*Public Health, Welfare, and Labor

*Public Transportation

*Revenue and Taxation

The class B standing committees are:

*Aging, Children & Youth, Legislative & Military Affairs

*Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development

*City, County, and Local Affairs

*Insurance and Commerce

*State Agencies and Governmental Affairs

Each House District Caucus selects five members for each "A" committee and five members for each "B" committee. The Speaker of the House appoints a chairperson and vice-chairperson from the selected membership of each standing committee at a later date.

Each House District Caucus will also select six members and two alternates to serve on the House Budget Committee. In addition, each Caucus will select five members to serve on Legislative Council and the Joint Auditing Committee.

The Arkansas House has worked diligently in recent years to make our entire process, from beginning to end, as transparent as possible. To that end, we will be broadcasting Friday's proceedings on the House Floor live at www.arkansashouse.org. We encourage everyone to continue their civic duty long after election day by staying engaged to the proceedings.

The following Monday state offices will be closed to observe Veteran's Day. More than 250,000 veterans call Arkansas home. Seventeen of those veterans are currently serving in the House in the 88th General Assembly.

This Veteran's Day and every day, we want to thank our veterans for their service. Please take time to personally show your gratitude to those back home.



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Legislative reports
By Rep. Homer Lenderman and Rep. Wes Wagner
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