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Special Session Being Considered On Superproject, Presidential Primary

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen

Legislative leaders are asking members about their availability for a May 26-28 special session, the day after the Memorial Day holiday.

The special session would center on a potential economic development superproject involving Lockheed Martin in Camden, Arkansas. The aerospace and defense contractor is in the running for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) being developed by the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps as a successor to the popular Humvee vehicle, which has been in service since 1985.

In January 2012, the U.S. Army announced three companies – Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh and AM General – as finalists for a 27-month pilot engineering and manufacturing program. The three competitors were required to provide 22 JLTV prototypes for testing 12 months after the EMD contracts were awarded.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have established a “not to exceed” vehicle cost of $250,000, and announced that approximately 55,000 JLTVs would be procured by the two services. It is anticipated that the JLTV program will also draw significant interest from the international military vehicle marketplace as well, officials have said.

All told, the project could be a multi-decades, multi-billion dollar shot-in-the-arm for South Arkansas.

Officials have spoken publicly about the superproject for months.

The special session would be used to cobble together the incentive package and other aspects of showing state preparedness for the superproject.

However, other items are being considered for the special session call. Those additional items include:

  • Moving Arkansas’ Presidential primary to March;
  • Moving all political primaries to March;
  • Moving up or delaying the fiscal session to not run in conflict with a change to political primaries; and
  • Combining some state agencies in an effort to streamline or reorganize state government.

No agreement has been reached yet on the final call for the special session. A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the governor will address the special session at tomorrow’s (May 11) Political Animals Club meeting in Little Rock. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Grand Hall of the Governor’s Mansion. More details here.

The news of the special session announcement was one of several political predictions made on Talk Business & Politics on Sunday morning. KATV’s Janelle Lilley, TB&P contributor Michael Cook and Impact Management Group’s Clint Reed also weighed in with thoughts on issues ranging from Treasurer Dennis Milligan, Sen. Tom Cotton, and Former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential launch. Watch the full interview below.