In the first week of the 2018 Fiscal Session, the House passed more than 30 appropriation bills.
The appropriations passed are for various boards and commissions and do not include any increases in funding.
The Governor presented his State of the State address in the House Chamber on the first day of the session. He outlined many of his requests for the upcoming fiscal year which include increases in funding for the Department of Correction, Department of Community Correction, and Department of Human Services. We will be addressing funding for those agencies in the weeks ahead.
The Governor anticipates a surplus of $64 million. He is requesting that $16 million be used to match federal grants for highways and the remaining be set aside in a reserve fund to be used only in the event of an economic downturn.
The House also spent time this week honoring a man who became a legend in our Capitol. Tim Massanelli served as our House parliamentarian from 1975-2012. He passed away early this week.
During his nearly four decades of service, he worked with 1,000 legislators, 7 governors, and 19 speakers.
He oversaw the evolution and growth of the House of Representatives from a body with no paid staff to a full staff offering wide-ranging services.
Mr. Massanelli weathered the dramatic change in the legislature when term limits were adopted, taking Arkansas from a state with no term limits to one with stringent term limits. Though that change offered him an unprecedented opportunity to make his role and knowledge even more indispensable, he opposed shorter limits and used the opportunity to encourage members to learn even more about the legislative process and rely on him less.
Mr. Massanelli, affectionately known as "Boss" by everyone, was a walking encyclopedia of parliamentary process and procedure, with complete mastery of the rules, rendering him ". . . as important to the legislative process as the Capitol dome itself”, according to former Governor and Senator David Pryor.
Nine former Speakers of the Arkansas House gathered with members in the chamber as we presented HMR1001, a resolution in respectful memory of Tim Massanelli. Every Speaker shared their personal stories of their time with Mr. Massanelli.
You can watch that tribute and every House session from the first week by visiting the Video Library on our website arkansashouse.org. The House also streams every House floor proceeding live on the site.
We will continue to update you throughout the Fiscal Session.