It’s all but official that the legislature will convene next week for a special session, June 17-19. 

Here’s what we expect to be in the Governor’s call. 

  1. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission: at the end of the fiscal session, the House failed to pass an appropriation bill for the Game and Fish Commission. There were concerns over the director’s salary. Lawmakers seem to have decided on a $170,000 cap for the salary, and any increase to that number over 5% will require approval from the Arkansas Legislative Council. As a reminder, if this bill doesn’t go through, it would be disastrous for Arkansas; the Arkansas Advocate has an excellent breakdown of the stakes.  
  1. Tax cuts: we haven’t seen an official draft of any legislation, but the rumor is that both income and corporate taxes will be slashed by about 0.5% respectively, and will be retroactive to January 1 of this year. Taxes in Arkansas are already quite low, and while paying taxes sucks, they fund important programs across the state. There’s already questions about the accuracy of the state’s claimed surplus, so cutting taxes is a risky move at best. 
  1. The homestead tax exemption looks like it’ll get another bump, up to $500 from $425. 
  1. The Governor may ask the Senate to confirm more governmental appointments. We don’t have a list of any proposed names just yet, but as a reminder, Governor Sanders likes to use her appointments to play political games at our expense, and so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a few names in the mix that either don’t make sense or are guaranteed to cause controversy. 

If you don’t remember the rules for a special session, we have a longer breakdown here, but in general the rules are pretty simple. Governor Sanders will put out a call detailing what she wants lawmakers to consider. Mischievous lawmakers could try to cause trouble if the call is worded loosely, but the current expectation is for pretty smooth sailing. If she keeps the wording tight, then we’ll definitely be in and out.

Special sessions are always a wild ride, but we’ll do our best to cover as much of it as we can! If the session actually ends on Wednesday as expected, lawmakers will have to stick around for the Arkansas Legislative Council meeting on Friday and the preparatory meetings that accompany the main event. 

Buckle up, Arkansas! Follow us for your #arleg content next week.