Short day at the legislature | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 31, 2008

Short day at the legislature

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 3:27 PM

It's Opening Day, both for baseball and for the state's special legislative session. Baseball has six months ahead of it. The session has about three days. If today's activities are any indication, they will be about as leisurely as a mid-summer nightcap. All issues under consideration breezed through committee with hardly any questions or objections.

The severance tax -- a 1.5 percent tax on shale gas for the first 3-4 years of a well, and 5 percent thereafter -- made it through both House and Senate Committees. The tax is expected to pass the full legislature without issue.

In other business, the House Judiciary Committee approved a correction of a botched bill from the 2007 Session that inadvertently allowed a child of any age to marry with the agreement of their parents. The new age would be 16 for a girl and 17 for a boy, assuming parental consent. Without consent marriage would be barred to both sexes until 18. (If you're 14 and itching to get hitched, act now: Marriages conducted under the previous provisions will be valid unless slapped down by a judge.)

The House Education Committee approved a bill that would extend the deadline for for school districts to be declared unitary from June 14 to the end of the year

The bills will undergo further committee vetting tomorrow. They should come up for a vote before the full legislature by the end of the week.

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