Arkansas Senate

Last updated

Arkansas Senate
91st Arkansas General Assembly
Seal of Arkansas.svg
Type
Type
Term limits
16 years (both houses)
History
New session started
January 12, 2015
Leadership
Tim Griffin (R)
since January 13, 2015
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Jonathan Dismang (R)
since January 15, 2013
Majority Leader
Jim Hendren (R)
since January 15, 2013
Minority Leader
Keith Ingram (D)
since January 15, 2013
Structure
Seats35
Arkansas Sen 2019.png
Political groups
Majority

Minority

Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle 8, Section 2, Arkansas Constitution
Salary$39,399.84/year + per diem
Elections
Last election
November 8, 2016
(35 seats)
Next election
November 6, 2018
(17 seats)
Redistricting Arkansas Board of Apportionment and Arkansas General Assembly
Meeting place
Arkansas State Senate.png
State Senate Chamber
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, Arkansas
Website
Arkansas State Senate

The Arkansas Senate is the upper branch of the Arkansas General Assembly. The Senate consists of 35 members, each representing a district with about 83,000 people. Service in the state legislature is part-time, and many state senators have full-time jobs during the rest of the year. During the current term, the Senate contains twenty-six Republicans, and nine Democrats.

Arkansas General Assembly legislature of Arkansas

The Arkansas General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of the upper house Arkansas Senate with 35 members, and the lower Arkansas House of Representatives with 100 members. All 135 representatives and state senators represent an equal amount of constituent districts. The General Assembly convenes on the second Monday of every other year. A session lasts for 60 days unless the legislature votes to extend it. The Governor of Arkansas can issue a "call" for a special session during the interims between regular sessions. The General Assembly meets at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.

91st Arkansas General Assembly

The Ninety-First Arkansas General Assembly was the legislative body of the state of Arkansas in 2017 and 2018. In this General Assembly, the Arkansas Senate and Arkansas House of Representatives were both controlled by the Republicans. In the Senate, 23 senators were Republicans, 11 were Democrats, and one position was vacant until April. In the House, 69 representatives were Republicans, 30 were Democrats, and one was independent.

Contents

History

The Arkansas Senate was created and re-created by five separate constitutions, the first of which was ratified on January 30, 1836, and the fifth and current of which was adopted in 1874. [1] The reason for so many constitutions is in part because of the secession of Arkansas from the United States during the time of the American Civil War and the aftermath of the war. The constitution has also changed over time through numerous amendments. [1]

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

In 1947, the Arkansas Legislative Council committee was created to collect data for legislators and oversee the Bureau of Legislative Research, which is composed of professional, nonpartisan staff to aid in the legislative process. The committee consists of 36 legislators, 16 of which are state senators. [2]

In 1964, Dorathy M. Allen became the first woman elected to the Arkansas Senate. [3] During her time in office, she was the only female in the Arkansas Senate. [4]

Dorathy Allen was an American newspaper editor and publisher, and Democratic Party politician. Allen is most remembered as the first woman to be elected to the Arkansas State Senate. Allen represented District 26 which included Monroe, Lee, Arkansas, and Phillips counties. Her first election to the Senate was a special election in 1964 to replace the open seat left by the death of her husband, State Senator Tom Allen. She ran unopposed in 1966 and 1970. During her time in office, she was the only female in the Arkansas State Senate.

Originally, legislators met biennially. A 2008 ballot proposal approved by voters created annual legislative sessions. [2] In 1992, voters approved term limits, limiting state senators to two four-year terms. [2] In 2014, term limits were extended to 16 years cumulative in either house.

Powers and process

Arkansas state senators are responsible for making and amending the laws of Arkansas in collaboration with the Arkansas House of Representatives and the governor. Senators begin the legislative process by submitting bill requests to the staff of the Bureau of Legislative Research that drafts a bill to conform to the author's intent. Bills are then filed with the Secretary of the Arkansas Senate or an assistant secretary of the Arkansas Senate. [5] The legislative process during the legislative session mirrors that of other state legislatures in the United States. Bills are introduced on First Reading and assigned to a committee, vetted by the committee, undergo Second and Third Readings on the floor of the Senate, go to the opposite house of the legislature, and return or go directly to the governor. The governor has veto power, but two-thirds of the membership of both houses of the legislature can override that veto. [5]

Arkansas House of Representatives lower house of the Arkansas General Assembly

The Arkansas House of Representatives is the lower house of the Arkansas General Assembly, the state legislature of the US state of Arkansas. The House is composed of 100 members elected from an equal amount of constituencies across the state. Each district has an average population of 29,159 according to the 2010 federal census. Members are elected to two-year terms and, since the 2014 Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, limited to sixteen years cumulative in either house.

State senators are also responsible for approving the governor's appointments and 16 members of the Arkansas Senate serve on the Arkansas Legislative Council and the Joint Auditing Committee. [5] The Arkansas Legislative Council oversees the Bureau of Legislative Research, which provides professional support services for legislators. [2] It also acts as an organizing committee and members on the council exert a greater degree of influence over the legislative process and outcome. [2]

Terms and qualifications

The senators are usually elected for four-year terms. After the U.S. Census every ten years, all Senate districts are redrawn to ensure that they each have approximately the same number of constituents. After redistricting, every senate position appears on the ballot in the next election. Following this, senators draw lots, and 18 are allotted a two-year term while 17 receive a four-year term. This staggers elections so that only half the body is up for re-election every two years.

Two-year terms drawn by a senator after reapportionment do not count against a senator's service under the term limits amendment, which limits Arkansas state senators to two terms of four years. A senator who draws a two-year term can serve for 10 or even 12 years, depending on when they were elected.

Arkansas Constitution – Article 5. Legislative Department. § 3. Senate.
The Senate shall consist of members to be chosen every four years, by the qualified electors of the several districts. At the first session of the Senate, 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.

They are also limited to serving no more than two four-year terms.

Arkansas Constitution – Amendment 73. Arkansas Term Limitation Amendment. § 2(b). Legislative Branch.
The Arkansas Senate shall consist of members to be chosen every four years by the qualified electors of the several districts. No member of the Arkansas Senate may serve more than two such four-year terms.

Current composition

Composition of the Arkansas State Senate after the 2016 elections
Democratic Party
Republican Party Arkansas Senate 2012.svg
Composition of the Arkansas State Senate after the 2016 elections
  Democratic Party
  Republican Party
923
DemocraticRepublican
AffiliationParty
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of 88th General Assembly (2012)2015350
Begin 89th General Assembly (2013)1421350
End of 89th General Assembly (2014)1322
Begin 90th General Assembly (2015)1124350
End of 90th General Assembly (2015)
Begin 91st General Assembly (2017)926350
November 15, 2017 [6] 25341
November 16, 2017 [7] 24332
February 9, 2018 [8] 23323
June 19, 2018 [9] 25321
Latest voting share28.13%78.13%

Organization

The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Arkansas Senate, but the President Pro Tempore is the presiding officer in the absence of the Senate president. [5] In practice, the President Pro Tempore generally serves as the presiding officer. Other Senate leadership positions include Majority leader, Whip and minority party positions. Committee assignments are determined by seniority, according to the rules of the Senate. [5]

Officers

OfficeOfficerPartyDistrict
President/Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin Republican
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Jonathan Dismang Republican28
Assistant Presidents pro tempore Missy Irvin Republican18
David Sanders Republican15
Cecile Bledsoe Republican3
Stephanie Flowers Democratic25

Floor Leaders

OfficeOfficerPartyDistrict
Majority Leader Jim Hendren Republican2
Majority Whip Bart Hester Republican1
Minority Leader Keith Ingram Democratic24
Minority Whip Will Bond Democratic32

Committees

Current committees include: [10]

Members of the 92nd Senate

DistrictName [11] PartyResidenceFirst electedSeat upTerm-limited
1 Bart Hester Rep Cave Springs 201220202028
2 Jim Hendren Rep Gravette 201220202028
3 Cecile Bledsoe Rep Rogers 200820202020
4 Greg Leding Dem Fayetteville 20182020
5 Bob Ballinger Rep Berryville 20182020
6 Gary Stubblefield Rep Branch 201220202028
7 Lance Eads Rep Springdale 201620202032
8 Mathew Pitsch Rep Fort Smith 20182020
9 Terry Rice Rep Waldron 201420202024
10 Larry Teague Dem Nashville 200820202020
11 Jimmy Hickey Jr. Rep Texarkana 201220202028
12 Bruce Maloch Dem Magnolia 201220202028
13 Alan Clark Rep Lonsdale 201220202028
14 Bill Sample Rep Hot Springs 201020202020
15 Mark Johnson Rep Little Rock 20182020
16 Breanne Davis Rep Russellville 2018 (special)2020
17 Scott Flippo Rep Mountain Home 201420202030
18 Missy Irvin Rep Mountain View 201020202026
19 James Sturch Rep Batesville 20182020
20 Blake Johnson Rep Corning 201420202030
21 John Cooper Rep Jonesboro 2014 (special)20202032
22 David Wallace Rep Leachville 201620202026
23 Ron Caldwell Rep Wynne 201220202028
24 Keith Ingram Dem West Memphis 201220202024
25 Stephanie Flowers Dem Pine Bluff 201020202020
26 Eddie Cheatham Dem Crossett 201220202022
27 Trent Garner Rep El Dorado 201620202032
28 Jonathan Dismang Rep Beebe 201020202024
29 Ricky Hill Rep Cabot 2018 (special)2020
30 Linda Chesterfield Dem Little Rock 201020202020
31 Joyce Elliott Dem Little Rock 200820202020
32 Will Bond Dem Little Rock 201620202020
33 Kim Hammer Rep Benton 20182020
34 Jane English Rep North Little Rock 201220202026
35 Jason Rapert Rep Conway 201020202026

Past composition of the Senate

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Arkansas General Assembly, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture (accessed April 28, 2013)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Arkansas Legislative Council, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture (accessed April 28, 2013)
  3. Smith, Lindsley Armstrong (October 29, 2009). "Dorathy N. McDonald Allen". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  4. Johnson, Ben (July 15, 2009). "Modern Era, 1968 through the Present". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 2013 Senate Rules, Arkansas Senate (accessed April 27, 2013)
  6. Peppas, Jeremy. "Cabot: Governor sets special election to fill Senate seat". Lonoke News. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  7. Lanning, Curt (November 17, 2017). "State Sen. Greg Standridge Dead at 50". ARKANSASMATTERS. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  8. State Sen. Jake Files resigned
  9. State's 2 newest senators sworn in
  10. "Arkansas Senate Committees". Open States. Sunlight Foundation. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  11. "Legislator Search Results". www.arkleg.state.ar.us. Retrieved October 16, 2017.

Coordinates: 34°44′48″N92°17′21″W / 34.7467387°N 92.2892220°W / 34.7467387; -92.2892220