UNION COUNTY, Ark. (KTVE/KARD— Issue 1 is one of four constitutional amendments on the 2022 Arkansas ballot for voters to decide. This issue proposes an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that would allow the state’s legislators to call special meetings of the legislature (formally called the General Assembly) at any time. This is an authority that only the Governor holds currently.
Many Arkansans say this is an unnecessary move because the governor should be the only entity to call special sessions.
“I really feel like that’s giving more power to the legislature and I don’t feel like that is necessary. If the governor feels that it’s important, he will do it. So that’s kind of my thoughts on it and so I voted against it,” explains Union County voter Cathy Lee.
Section 5 of Article 5 of the Arkansas Constitution describes when sessions can take place. If Issue 1 is passed, this new section will allow legislators to call a special session if:
- The speaker of the House and the president of the Senate jointly decide to convene lawmakers; or
- Two-thirds or more of the members of the Arkansas House of Representatives and Senate sign a written proclamation calling for the special session. This would equal signatures from 67 of Arkansas’ 100 representatives and signatures from 24 of the state’s 35 senators.
Other residents feel strongly about this proposal as it would help Arkansas residents have their voices heard.
“I think they should include our Senate instead of just giving all the power to the government,” said Union County voter Tonya Burns.
In both of these instances, the proclamation has to include the purpose of the special session.
Some other things that the proposal would do are: Require lawmakers to create rules for how their special sessions would operate, put the speaker of the House and president of the Senate in charge of determining the dates of a special session called by themselves or the legislature, and allow the legislature, after addressing the topic of the special session, to consider additional bills if there are enough votes to do so.
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