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Arkansas House of Representatives briefing

by Arkansas House of Represenatives | January 19, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.
Rep. Lane Jean, R-Magnolia, explains HB1085, the general appropriation act for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, during the House of Representatives meeting Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 at the State Capitol. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Briefing from the Arkansas House of Representatives:

House members are now ready to begin the second week of the 2021 Regular Session.

Nearly 200 bills have been filed so far in the House and more than 135 have been filed in the Senate.

House members elected to serve in the 93rd General Assembly took the oath of office in the House Chamber on Jan. 11. Upon swearing-in, members then voted to name Rep. Matthew J. Shepherd of El Dorado as the Speaker of the Arkansas House. This will be his second full term to serve as Speaker.

Speaker Shepherd announced the chairs for all House committees. A complete list of committee assignments can be found at www.arkansashouse.org.

Two House Members represent Columbia County within their Districts.

Rep. David Fielding of District 5 serves on the Arkansas Legislative Council, the Joint Performance Review Committee, House Insurance and Commerce Committee, and the House Public Transportation Committee.

Rep. Lane Jean of District 2, serves as Co-Chairperson of the Joint Budget Committee. He also serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, the House State Agencies and Govt’l Affairs Committee, and the House Rules Committee.

On the second day of the Regular Session, Governor Asa Hutchinson addressed the General Assembly and outlined his legislative goals for this session.

He said he will be asking the General Assembly to affirm the current health emergency order and direct federal COVID-19 relief funds for vaccine distribution.

The Governor’s legislative agenda also includes the following:

Increase teacher pay by $2,000 over the next 2 years

Reduce the used car sales tax

Reduce income tax for new Arkansas residents

Appropriate $30 million for increased broadband in rural areas

Implement a computer science requirement for high school graduation

Increase sentencing for hate crimes

On Thursday, the House passed resolutions outlining new rules and changes to procedure due to COVID-19. These include mask requirements, changes to committee agendas and remote voting options for members.

The House did not meet on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and will not meet on Wednesday during the Presidential Inauguration. The House is scheduled to meet today and Thursday.

The House live streams all of its meetings on its website. The House also posted the guidelines for members of the public who wish to participate in the process at the Capitol.

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