Senate cuts off Democratic committee influence with new rule | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Senate cuts off Democratic committee influence with new rule

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 2:04 PM

The Arkansas Senate is drawing committee assignments today and the Republican majority took steps to make sure there'd be no committee packing by Democrats as occurred in the House.

A rule was adopted limiting minority membership on standing committees to three. The standing committees — the important ones — have eight members. Democrats had an eye on the Education Committee. Three members can still be influential, if the Democrats can find a reasonable Republican..........

In the House, Democrats used existing rules to put 11 members on the 20-member House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Democrats hold 9 of 35 Senate seats and 26 of 100 House seats (not 11 and 24 as I wrote originally). It should be noted that rules allow super majority votes to pull bills from problem committees (this is not always a matter of partisanship), but the power is rarely exercised because it trifles with the committee system.

I'll pass along committee memberships when I have them.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who's only meaningful job is to preside over the Senate should he choose to do so, was irate at the House action. This is a one-party state now and he means to be sure there's no way around that.

Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott, an education stalwart, commented on Twitter after the rule change:

AR folks, you had better wake up to what's in store for education in AR. The rules weren't changed to pass progressive legislation.
What will get passed? Ask the Waltons.

Elliott, Linda Chesterfield and Uvalde Lindsey will be on the Education Committee.

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