Both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature have voted to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a provision of an appropriation bill exempting sand used in oil and gas wells from the state's sales tax.
On Wednesday, the House voted 55-41 and the Senate voted 26-7 to override the governor's veto. A simple majority in each chamber can override a veto.
Beebe had called the provision unconstitutional, saying it shouldn't have been considered under the fiscal session and should require a two-thirds vote from both chambers because it is a "substantive change to Arkansas code."
The provision's sponsor, Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, has the legislature's passage was appropriate because it clarified the legislative intent of state law.
Rep. Stephen Meeks, R-Greenbrier, spoke on the House floor in favor of the override, saying the sand was never supposed to be taxed and the provision assured that that would be understood. He said the courts have provided "judicial precedence" in siding with that view and that overriding the veto negated the need for an appeal of that decision.
There was no discussion in the Senate before the vote. Dismang offered to answer questions, but none was asked.
The state Department of Finance and Administration estimates the provision amounts to about a $5 million tax exemption.