LITTLE ROCK — A spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday the governor believes there is enough legislative support for proposed measures on teachers’ insurance and prison overcrowding to call a special session, but discussions on whether to include a third issue were continuing.
“Lottery is the holdup right now. There’s still disagreement between the House and Senate on whether the session should include an effort to prevent the state lottery from adding monitor games,” Beebe spokeswoman Stacey Hall said.
House and Senate leaders were polling members last week about proposals that seek to avoid large increases in public school teachers’ insurance premiums and make 600 additional prison beds available. They said the polling showed majorities supported both proposed measures in each chamber, but a third proposal that would ban the lottery from offering monitor games had strong support in the Senate only.
Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, authored the lottery proposal. Hickey opposes the lottery’s plan to boost sagging revenue by adding games in which drawings are held every few minutes and results are displayed on monitors at lottery retailers.
Beebe has voiced opposition to monitor games, saying he does not believe voters had them in mind in 2008 when they approved a constitutional amendment allowing the creation of a state lottery to fund college scholarships.
Rep. Harold Copenhaver, D-Jonesboro, vice chairman of a task force on teacher insurance, has said legislators are interested in convening next Sunday through Tuesday or Monday through Wednesday. Three days is the minimum amount of time in which the Legislature can approve a bill.
Gabe Holmstrom, chief of staff for the Arkansas House, said the House chamber at the state Capitol is under renovation, so plans call for the House to meet in the historic Old State House in downtown Little Rock during the expected special session.