The Arkansas House of Representatives has advanced a resolution that would extend the length of this year’s legislative session until April 30 and allow lawmakers to reconvene later in the year for redistricting duties. Under the resolution, the session would be able to recess earlier, if the House and Senate agree on a date.
By a vote of 92-1 Monday, representatives passed House Concurrent Resolution 1015. It would allow the legislature to go into an "extended recess," without officially adjourning. This way, lawmakers would not need to rely on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to call the lawmakers in for a special session concerning redistricting.
In presenting the resolution to the House, Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, spoke about the need for the extension.
"After discussions with the Senate, the feeling was that our current date of April 9 needed to be extended to give us a little more time, particularly after we missed a week and a day due to snow," Shepherd said.
According to Shepherd, the U.S. Census Bureau is not expected to make available the data needed for redistricting until around September.
He also said that during the later reconvening, the session would only be allowed to address redistricting, legislation related to the COVID-19 health emergency, the distribution of COVID-19 funds and to consider any vetoes or to correct any "errors and oversights."
Under the resolution, any legislation passed in session would go into effect 90 days after the extended recess begins.