Proposal filed to avoid special election for lieutenant governor


LITTLE ROCK — A pair of identical House and Senate resolutions to avoid a special session to replace former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr has strong backing, House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, said Monday.

Carter said he has seen some other non-budget bills measures filed, but “I don’t “think any of those things have the support.”

Consideration of a non-appropriations bill during a fiscal session requires a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.

Under a proposal in Senate Resolution 6 and matching House Resolution 1009, both filed Monday, a special election would not be held to fill a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office if the vacancy occurs within 10 months of a general election in which the office would be filled, if the governor determines that holding a special election is impractical because of the timing of the vacancy.

Darr resigned Feb. 1 after being fined $11,000 by the state Ethics Commission for misuse of campaign funds and taxpayer money.

Other non-budget measures include HR 1006 by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, and HR 1007 by Rep. Randy Alexander, R-Fayetteville, both of which Carter directed be sent to the House Rules Committee for consideration. The committee, whose members are hand-picked by the House speaker, met after the House adjourned and tabled both measures.

Westerman’s resolution would ask lawmakers to consider giving Arkansas businesses that are subjected to fines under the Affordable Care Act an equivalent state income tax credit.

Westerman told reporters that if the private option is not renewed during the session he hopes the committee will take his proposal off the table. He estimated the cost at between $30 million and $40 million.

“If the statement’s been made by the governor’s office that if we stop the private option it’s going to hurt small businesses, I think it’s my duty as a legislator to come up with solutions to try to counter that negative effect,” he said.

Alexander’s resolution would ask lawmakers to consider halting funding for implementation of the Common Core academic standards.

Also Monday, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, filed a resolution asking lawmakers to consider allowing the director of the Arkansas State Police to issue security guard licenses to school employees and allow them to serve as armed security for their schools. The licenses could not be issued to classroom teachers.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said in an advisory opinion in August that the state Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies could not authorize school districts to use school employees as armed security guards. The board responded by saying it would not accept any new applications but that 13 districts that had already received authorization could continue to have armed employees for two years.

Hutchinson’s proposal would abolish the board and transfer its powers to the state police.

The issue received widespread attention after the Clarksville School District said last year it was arming about two dozen employees, including some teachers.