First day of legislative filings brings resolutions to ban fiscal sessions, create ‘open primaries’

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 645 views 

It’s open season for Arkansas lawmakers to pre-file bills and resolutions for the 92nd General Assembly, which will begin in January 2019.

On the first day for pre-filing (Thursday, Nov. 15), 10 bills and resolutions were filed to deal with issues ranging from anti-bullying to internet sales taxes to abortion and veterans. Two measures, sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, would designate the Bowie knife as the official state knife and the shotgun as the official state firearm.

Resolutions, which are measures that could lead to referrals from the legislature to voters for changes to the state constitution, were also filed on day one.

One measure, HJR 1001 by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, would rework the state’s primary elections. The proposal, if referred to voters, would allow the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to advance to the general election. In other states where this is utilized, they are referred to as “open primaries.”

HJR 1002, also sponsored by Rep. Douglas, would eliminate the fiscal session of the Arkansas General Assembly. The fiscal session is held in even-numbered years and is restricted to budgetary and fiscal matters, not policy-related legislation. If it were approved by voters, the state legislature would only meet every two years in odd-numbered years.

To access all of the bills that are filed, click here.