Seven House members failed to pass a single piece of legislation in the 88th General Assembly, while two chamber leaders achieved runaway success.
Yesterday, Talk Business examined the Arkansas State Senate’s efficiency in passing legislation. Today, we take a look at the Arkansas House of Representatives.
In line with the caveats we noted yesterday, simply assessing the effectiveness of a legislator on bills filed and passed isn’t a complete picture. However, it does allow for member comparisons and it does show degrees of influence that some members do and don’t have.
State Representatives Kathy Webb (D-Little Rock) and Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) both carried an extraordinary amount of legislation through the House chamber – 46 and 47 bills respectively.
Webb, the House chair of the Joint Budget Committee, was the lead sponsor on a number of budget bills. In this year’s contentious session, passing them was a major achievement. Leaving those measures aside, Webb was still one of the most prolific and successful legislators in terms of getting her bills signed into law. Webb saw 82.6% of her bills pass – a high percentage when you consider she was the lead sponsor on several controversial environmental bills that never cleared a House committee.
Williams, the Judiciary chair and a potential House Speaker candidate, successfully guided the Governor’s prison reform bill through the chamber. However, that wasn’t even a bill Williams got credit for as he was only a co-sponsor. Williams handled a lot of technical corrections bills, but he also navigated tricky political waters with controversial legal bills that required expertise and knowledge. His success rate of 74.5% was only 12th best in the House, but he certainly carried a heavy load.
Three members – Reps. Brad Cozart (R-Hot Springs), Betty Overbey (D-Lamar) and Tommy Wren (D-Melbourne) passed 100% of their bills. In total, that amounted to 12 new laws, none of which were controversial. Cozart was elected to the session after it started, thus putting him at a disadvantage.
There were 7 members who were unsuccessful in passing a single piece of legislation. Rep. Charolette Wagner (D-Manilla) was never the lead sponsor on a bill, in effect leaving her 0 for 0. She did, however, co-sponsor 37 bills, all of which became law. Talk Business did not take co-sponsorships into consideration as they are often added to secure votes.
The other 6 House members who passed no bills were: Reps. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro), Stephanie Malone (R-Fort Smith), David Meeks (R-Conway), Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier), Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch), and John Walker (D-Little Rock).
You can view the complete bill passage list of all 100 members here.