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Arkansas legislature’s 7th fiscal session adjourns after 30 days, making it second-longest

by Michael R. Wickline | March 16, 2022 at 4:01 a.m.
A tulip magnolia tree begins to bloom outside the state Capitol building on Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

LITTLE ROCK -- The state's seventh fiscal session that adjourned Tuesday lasted 30 days.

That's eight days short of the longest fiscal session, which was 38 days in 2014.

It's 13 days longer than the shortest fiscal session, which was 17 days in 2020 at the outset of the covid-19 pandemic with the House of Representatives meeting at the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Most lawmakers wore masks and spread out to maintain the recommended distance between them.

House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, and Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, issued a proclamation Thursday directing the adjournment of the fiscal session at noon Tuesday.

The first fiscal session, in 2010, lasted 25 days. The second, in 2012, was 26 days. The third, in 2014, was 38 days. Democrat Mike Beebe was governor during the state's three fiscal sessions.

Since Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson took office in 2015, the fiscal sessions were 27 days in 2016, 29 days in 2018, 17 days in 2020 and 30 days in 2022.

Voters in 2008 -- to the amazement of some lawmakers and others -- adopted what is Amendment 86 to the Arkansas Constitution to authorize fiscal sessions.

Referred to the people from the Legislature, the amendment authorized budget-enacting sessions in even-numbered years and called them "fiscal" sessions. The fiscal session are limited to 30 days, with one possible extension of no more than 15 days.

Prior to the first-ever fiscal session in 2010, the Legislature had regular legislative sessions in odd-numbered years, and every such session within memory had been a fiscal session in the sense that it enacted the state budget, usually for the next two years.

Print Headline: 7th state fiscal session adjourns after 30 days, is second-longest


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