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Senate Members Choose Assignments

From Senator Larry Teague

November 18, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – The 35 members of the state Senate chose their committee assignments for the 2017 regular session.

The chairmen of the Senate’s standing committees will be: Senator Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers – Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee; Senator Jake Files of Fort Smith – Revenue and Taxation Committee; Senator Jane English of North Little Rock – Education Committee; Senator Jeremy Hutchinson of Benton – Judiciary Committee;

Senator Ronald Caldwell of Wynne – Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee; Senator Jason Rapert of Bigelow – Insurance and Commerce Committee; Senator Alan Clark of Lonsdale –  City, County and Local Committee; Senator Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot  – State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senator Bill Sample of Hot Springs – Transportation Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee.

Senator Bill Sample of Hot Springs also will be Senate co-chairman of the Legislative Council. It meets in the interim between sessions to monitor state government operations such as important changes in personnel, signing of large contracts with private vendors and transfers of public funds within agencies.

The Senate chairmen of Joint Committees will be: Senator Larry Teague of Nashville – Joint Budget Committee; Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr. of Texarkana – Legislative Joint Auditing Committee; Senator Bart Hester of Cave Springs – Public Retirement and Social Security Programs Committee; Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View – Joint Performance Review Committee; Senator Bryan King of Green Forest – Joint Energy and Senator Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff – Senate Interim Committee on Children and Youth.

There are two Senate select committees. Senator Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock will chair the Efficiency Committee and Senator Bruce Maloch of Magnolia will chair the Rules, Resolutions and Memorials Committee.

Senator Jim Hendren of Gravette will be the Majority Leader and Senator Keith Ingram of West Memphis will be the Minority Leader. There are 26 Republicans and nine Democrats in the Senate. Three senators are African-Americans and seven are women.

Senator Jonathan Dismang of Beebe will be the President Pro Tem of the 91st General Assembly. He was elected by the Senate and his term as President becomes official on January 9, the first day of the 2017 regular session.

Dismang was first elected President Pro Tem during the closing days of the 89th General Assembly after his predecessor resigned from office. He was also elected Pro Tem for the 90th General Assembly, which began with the convening of the 2015 session.

Dismang is the first senator to repeat as President Pro Tem since 1935, when Senator William Norrell of Monticello was re-elected to a second term as President of the Senate. Norrell represented Desha and Drew Counties in the state Senate and in 1938 was elected to Congress, where he served until he died in 1961.

In the 1800s, several senators served multiple terms as President Pro Tem.

The Senate has four new members who drew for seniority. In the order of seniority they are: Senators-elect Trent Garner of El Dorado, District 27; Lance Eads of Springdale, District 7; Dave Wallace of Leachville, District 22 and Will Bond of Little Rock, District 32. They are scheduled to take their oaths of office on January 9, day one of the 2017 session.

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