So it begins.
The 94th General Assembly begins today (Monday). Here’s what you should expect this week.
Like to listen instead of read? Here you go.
Today (Monday, Jan. 9)
Not much happens the first day of session, at least from a public perspective. Bills are filed and assigned to committee, folks are sworn in, etc. But it’s kind of like the first day of school. You never really do much in your classes, but there’s a lot going on socially and behind the scenes. Same thing here.
We expect a somewhat slow start to the session. There will be a lot of new faces in the Capitol halls this week, getting acclimated and getting to know the process. We also have a new governor who has never served in an elected role before. All of that inexperience will either lead to a slow ramp up or early shenanigans. We expect the former.
Later in the week
Things to watch for this week:
Governor Sanders will give an address to both houses at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday laying out her legislative agenda and priorities for the session.
There’s already a Senate Education Committee scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. Remember, we’ve pointed out that education will be major focus this session, so that’s one to watch.
We’re keeping an eye out for procedural and rule changes. They sound boring, but they are incredibly impactful. Each chamber adopts its own rules for the session, as well as joint rules, and those rules can shift power around significantly.
Reading / watching list
Here’s a round-up of our favorite articles by others that will get you prepped for the session:
Talk Business & Politics: Governor Sanders (finally) lifted the veil a bit to state media. Talk Business and Politics had a great interview on her agenda, which focuses on education and public safety. Good bit in here about Donald Trump as well.
If you’re looking for more on Gov. Sanders’ agenda, here you go. Wickline is always a reliable source on Arkansas politics.
Another Wickline article, this time a take on the upcoming session from House leader Matthew Shepherd and political observers from across the spectrum.
KNWA had a piece on a letter signed by 47 members of the House of Representatives asking Speaker Shepherd to lock Democrats out of chair or vice chair positions in committees.
It baffles me how people who are so insistent on guarding their personal autonomy seem so insistent on invading that of others.