Three key House chairmen were selected on Tuesday (Dec. 9) and the independent citizens commission to set elected officials’ salaries scheduled its first meeting date.
Rep. Lane Jean, R-Magnolia, was chosen by House members on the Joint Budget Committee to serve as co-chair on the powerful spending panel. Jean’s Senate co-chair is Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville.
Rep. Mary Broadaway, D-Paragould, was selected to co-chair the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, which can investigate and review practices in state agencies, offices and commissions. Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, is the co-chair.
Rep. David Branscum, R-Marshall, will serve as co-chair of the influential Arkansas Legislative Council, which shares power with the State Senate. Sen. Bill Sample, R-Hot Springs, is the other co-chair. The council functions as an oversight committee for the General Assembly during the interim period between legislative sessions.
Although Republicans control 64 members in the Arkansas House to the Democrats 36, Broadaway, a Democrat, was selected for the post. Speaker-elect Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, reiterated in an interview last week his interest in seeing Democrats with talent and experience steer committees as chairs and vice-chairs.
In other legislative-related news, the independent citizens commission created by the passage of Issue No. 3 last month will meet at the state capitol on Thursday, Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 272. That room is on the Senate side of the capitol, which does not have live-stream access.
The recently-named commission will eventually set salaries for elected officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branch of state government.