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Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 6:30 a.m.
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House panel OKs lieutenant governor bill

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published February 26, 2014 at 7:07 a.m. Updated February 26, 2014 at 11:20 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas House committee has approved a Senate bill aimed at keeping the lieutenant governor's office open until November after the last officeholder resigned over ethics violations.

House lawmakers cleared the way Wednesday for a Senate bill that would allow Gov. Mike Beebe to not call a special election for the state's second-in-command post within 10 months of the November election.

Senators passed that bill unanimously last week. The bill's sponsor, Republican Senate Majority Leader Eddie Joe Williams, says a special election would cost at least $1 million.

The committee's chairman, state Rep. Andrea Lea, said the measure is expected to head to the full House for a vote Thursday.

Former Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr resigned Feb. 1 after the state Ethics Commission fined him $11,000 over ethics violations.

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