After 88 days in session, the Arkansas legislature officially adjourned sine die on Wednesday. Session unofficially ended two weeks prior on April 10. Wednesday’s meeting was scheduled for any possible last minute bill changes or to override any vetoes. However, no bills were vetoed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson this year, and no other business was scheduled in the House.
Before the official adjournment, House Speaker, Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, gave a speech in the House chamber, thanking both the staff and the legislators themselves for their work. Shepherd spoke on some of the changes made this year, such as the elimination of the bill filing deadline.
“Ultimately the preliminary numbers indicate that less bills were filed. It kept relatively cleaner agendas for the committees,” Shepherd said. He also spoke on the four-day weeks legislators spent at the Capitol this session, which meant the legislature did not meet on Fridays. Shepherd said that schedule worked well because legislators then had a greater opportunity to speak to their constituents.
“It’s been amazing the number of comments I’ve received from individuals outside the chamber, who have thanked me and thanked us for working in that manner because it allowed us to have more interaction during the week with our constituents. And I think that’s something that is very important so thank you for that,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd also praised the legislature for how its members worked together with “professionalism and civility,” despite coming from all parts of the state.
“Somehow we come together with all of that and we make laws for the people of Arkansas and we debate and discuss those issues...and I want to thank you for how you’ve handled yourselves because I believe you’ve made the people of Arkansas proud so thank you very much,” Shepherd said.
Due to a law passed this year, the state’s fiscal session will begin in April of 2020.