2 Things to Know Today: November 17
House organizational meeting postponed
The House of Representatives was scheduled to hold its organizational meeting today to prepare for the 94th General Assembly scheduled to begin Jan. 9. That meeting has been postponed with no new date yet announced.
The organizational meeting is where committee assignments are made, leaders are selected, and, of course, super important matters like seat selection and parking spot allocation.
Why was it postponed? Most likely due to the super close House District 56 race in Conway. The Democrat incumbent Rep. Steve Magie leads by 10 votes with all but a couple of outstanding overseas ballots counted. The tight race with a recount possible (and no concession as yet) has made at least a few folks feel like an organizational meeting would be premature.
The Senate held its organizational meeting last week in its characteristically dramatic fashion – stripping a member of seniority, limiting Democrats to a max of 2 per committee, and causing one member to decry “rank racism” in decision making.
The last time the legislature lost this bad?
The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show.
While tallies from last week’s election aren’t final, we can say with confidence that all of the three legislatively referred amendments were defeated – two of them soundly.
- 61% of Arkansas voters said NO to the legislature calling itself into session.
- 59% of Arkansas voters said NO to the legislature making it harder for the people to make or change laws.
- Just slightly over 50% of Arkansas voters even said NO to a measure with “religious freedom” in the title.
We had to look way, way back to find the last time the legislature referred 3 amendments that all failed. That was in 1964 — yes, 58 years ago — when the three referrals lost with 59%, 52%, and 56% against.
In the past decade, 15 measures have been referred by the legislature. Just 5 of them failed, 3 of which were this election.
Maybe this will spur legislators to step outside the echo chamber of a primary base and consider governing with an eye toward broader support? One can hope for Common Ground.