Governor Asa Hutchinson is already calling his third special session of the Arkansas General Assembly. He has been governor less than a year and a half. The special session is set to begin on May 19 to address highway funding.
Not since former President Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas have so many special sessions of the legislature been called in a biennium. In the 1987-88 biennium Bill Clinton called a record four special sessions of the Arkansas General Assembly. The last time a governor called three special sessions was the 1989-90 biennium and that was also Clinton.
Yet, when you consider regular sessions and fiscal sessions, Hutchinson’s call for a third special session already equals the record number of sessions set by Clinton. In 1987-88 under Clinton there were five sessions (a regular session and four special sessions). Hutchinson will also have at least five sessions this biennium (a regular session, a fiscal session, and three special sessions).
Former Governor Mike Beebe only called three special sessions in his entire eight years as governor. Beebe only called three special sessions during his service. Former Governor Mike Huckabee served for ten and one half years and only called six special sessions. Also consider that during Huckabee’s service and part of Beebe’s service there were no fiscal sessions.
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So, why is Governor Hutchinson making special sessions more common than lobbyist paid meals for legislators? Maybe continual special sessions are the new norm under the current big government philosophy.