Friday, November 5, 2010

Week In Review

State Capitol Week in Review

LITTLE ROCK –The Arkansas Senate got 13 new members after the general election last week.

They will take their oaths of office on January 10, the first day of the 2011 regular session and the 88th General Assembly.

The new members and the returning veterans of the 35-member Senate held an organizational meeting two days after the election to choose committee assignments and decide who would serve as chairmen.

The senators had already elected Senator Paul Bookout of Jonesboro as President Pro Tem of the 88th General Assembly. The current Pro Tem, Senator Bob Johnson of Bigelow, passed the gavel of leadership to Bookout at the meeting.

Senator Gilbert Baker of Conway will chair the Joint Budget Committee. Senator Percy Malone of Arkadelphia will chair the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee and Senator Jimmy Jeffress of Crossett will chair the Education Committee.

Senator Sue Madison of Fayetteville will chair the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee. The Insurance and Commerce Committee chairman will be Senator Jack Crumbly of Widener (St. Francis County).

The Revenue and Taxation Committee chairman will be Senator Larry Teague of Nashville.

The chairman of Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development will be Senator Gene Jeffress of Louann (Ouachita County).

The Judiciary Committee will be chaired by Senator Jim Luker of Wynne and the City, County and Local Affairs Committee will be chaired by Senator Jerry Taylor of Pine Bluff.

Three freshmen will chair committees - Senator Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock the Senate Committee on Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs - Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View the Interim Committee on Children and Youth - Senator David Burnett of Osceola the Joint Performance Review Committee.

Senator Mary Anne Salmon of North Little Rock will be the Senate co-chair of the Legislative Council. The Senate co-chairman of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee will be Senator Bill Pritchard of Elkins.

Senator Ruth Whitaker of Cedarville, who will chair the Rules Committee, will be the first woman in Arkansas history to be number one in seniority in the Senate. She also will be the first Republican to be first in seniority in the Senate.

An interesting piece of history will occur in the 2011 session: one of the new senators, Jeremy Hutchinson of Little Rock, will serve in the 88th General Assembly at the same time as his mother, representative Donna Hutchinson of Bella Vista. It's believed to be the first time a mother and her son have served at the same time.

Another first will occur on the first day of the 2011 session, when Senator Bookout is officially designated President Pro Tem. It will be the first time a father and a son have both served as Pro Tem.

Bookout's father, Jerry Bookout of Jonesboro, served as a state representative and state senator from Jonesboro and Craighead County for 32 years. He was a senator for 28 years and was President Pro Tem of the Senate in 1991 and 1992.

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