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Legislative Report

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at 11:37 AM

Babe Ruth once said that the way a team plays as a whole determines its success. He added that although you may have the greatest bunch of individual stars, they won't be worth a dime if they don't work together.

In this scenario, what holds true for baseball holds true for public service. Growth for Arkansas will not be by chance. It will come by working together.

The individual selected to be the next Speaker of the Arkansas House has pledged to do just that.

On Thursday, Nov. 15, members-elect of the 89th General Assembly voted Rep. Davy Carter (R-Cabot) to serve as Speaker-elect. Rep. Carter will preside over the House during the next Regular Session. Fifty-two votes were cast for Rep. Carter. Forty-five were cast for nominee Rep. Terry Rice.

Carter will be the first Republican to lead the House since 1874, the year Arkansas was admitted to the Union and adopted the state's constitution.

The Speaker of the Arkansas House presides over the body. The Speaker directs the daily order of business, recognizes members to speak, decides all questions of order and assigns committee leadership.

Our current Speaker Robert S. Moore, Jr. selected Carter to chair the House Revenue and Taxation Committee for the 88th General Assembly. Rep. Carter is a banker and attorney. He earned a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's William H. Bowen School of Law. He completed the LSU Graduate School of Banking, and he received an undergraduate degree in Corporate Finance from Arkansas State University. He and his wife, Cara, have three children.

The secret ballot vote took place shortly after members failed to affirm the vote Speaker-elect Darrin Williams. The vote to affirm Rep. Williams was 48 to 49.

The move to change the Speaker-elect came days after the election when it became clear the majority party had shifted in the House.

If you watched Rep. Williams address the assembly before the vote, then you also witnessed a moment of unison respect. After his address, every member of the body gave him a standing ovation.

And after Rep. Carter and Rep. Rice subsequently addressed members, we also witnessed the new members standing in unison. The votes may have been divided, but the respect for the work all three men have accomplished in the General Assembly was not.

If you did not see this historic process take place, you can still watch it on our website www.arkansashouse.org. Members of the 89th General Assembly will have to work together to pass a balanced budget. The Governor submitted his proposal this week which calls for a further reduction of the grocery tax and a 2 percent cost of living adjustment to state employees.

And the Department of Human Services told the Joint Budget Committee this week that after the Governor's recommendation there will still be a $138 million shortfall next year in Medicaid funding. DHS submitted a list of proposed cuts which could greatly impact services currently being offered.

The 89th General Assembly faces significant challenges. They officially get to work Jan.14. Your representatives will continue to keep you updated on the progress.

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