Lawmakers Recess With Budget Work Completed

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 25 views 

$4.7 billion and not much more.

State lawmakers approved a budget for FY 2013 that mostly mirrored Gov. Mike Beebe’s recommendations.

The Governor had proposed a balanced budget that provided $114 million in additional spending for Medicaid and $56 million for public schools.

Several non-budget bills were debated publicly and privately, but never materialized into consensus votes. The two main measures that lawmakers never gelled on concerned tightening up a sex offender parole provision and undoing a tax repeal for the trucking industry slated to kick in on July 1, 2012.

With Friday’s passage of remaining budget bills and a Revenue Stabilization Act that prioritizes state spending, lawmakers recessed until next Friday.

Then, they’ll return to the capitol to make any technical corrections and “sine die,” or officially adjourn. They could also veto any gubernatorial vetoes, although Beebe had not vetoed any legislation and wasn’t expected to.

Next Friday, House members will also reconvene to pick a designated leader for that chamber in the 2013 regular session.

Reps. Terry Rice (R-Waldron) and Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) are vying for the House’s top post. If the vote goes along party lines, Williams would be expected to win the Speaker-designate race 54-46.

The vote is private, but it has also opened speculation on what happens if party control in the House flips between now and next election.

Talk Business bloggers Jason Tolbert and Michael Cook profile Rice and Williams respectively. For their takes, you can read the Tolbert Report here and Cook’s Outlook here.

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