The 89th General Assembly
It was an interesting start to the 89th General Assembly today. In fact, newly elected Speaker of the House Davy Carter (R-Cabot) put it best during his speech to the House when he said, “…every time we enact a law, we’re affecting the lives of 3 million people. This is serious business.” How very, very true Mr. Speaker. From the Medicaid shortfall to eliminating the capital gains tax, hard working Arkansans and free market lovers across the country are keying in on the direction this legislative session will take us. Will we further our progress towards being competitive with our surrounding states and the nation or will we continue in the same hum-drum fashion while floundering at or near the bottom of the barrel? Only time will tell.
The following is a short summary of the opening day of the 89th General Assembly from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
The Arkansas Legislature has convened at the state Capitol in Little Rock.
One hundred House members and 35 senators gathered and took the oath of office before electing Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot, as House Speaker and Sen. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville president pro tempore.
Carter, addressing the House shortly after being sworn in, said he’s confident the diverse group of lawmakers will “answer the call” to address important issues during the session.
“This won’t be a cakewalk,” he said. “We have serious issues ahead that will require vigorous debate. But that’s OK. That’s what we’re charged to do. Never forget every time you push that button, you’re pushing that button for 30,000 Arkansans. And every time we enact a law, we’re affecting the lives of 3 million people. This is serious business.”
For the first time since the 19th century, Republicans are in charge. They captured control of the House and Senate in November. Carter, in his address, noted that historic party achievement, but added that “today forward, history will be made because of what we do, not who we are.”
Members of the Senate were sworn in first Monday shortly after the legislative session’s noon start. Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hannah then swore in the House members before the speaker election.
Only one member was not present for the ceremonies. A House spokesman said Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs, is in the hospital under the care of a cardiologist.
There was no immediate word on his condition.