The House welcomed the members-elect of the 91st General Assembly to the chamber on Thursday.
The body of newly elected members includes 19 new faces. We will have 35 members serving a second term and 29 serving a third term.
For the first time in over 20 years, the House will have members serving a fourth term. There will be 17 members entering their fourth term for the 91st General Assembly.
Previous term limits prohibited anyone from serving more than 6 years in the House, but a constitutional amendment passed in 2014 lengthened the amount of time one can serve.
The 91st General Assembly will include 74 Republicans and 26 Democrats. A total of 18 women and 82 men will serve. We will know more about the background of each member in the coming weeks.
Members-elect selected their seat in the chamber and then gathered with their respective district caucus to choose the membership of all 10 standing committees and certain select committees. We have posted the list of the committees membership on our website www.arkansashouse.org.
Meanwhile, we are all working to prepare for the issues and challenges facing us in the next session. Governor Asa Hutchinson presented his balanced budget proposal to members on Wednesday. He is calling for a $50 million tax cut in the next session with increases in spending to foster care funding and higher education.
By law, the Governor is required to submit his proposal, but ultimately it is the legislature that will pass spending appropriations. Our budget hearings will continue through the end of this month.
Arkansans have set the tone for the approaching session by casting their ballot. More than 1,122,000 Arkansans went to the polls this year. That is a 63.78% turnout. While the turnout percentage of registered voters is not the highest in recent history, the sheer number of Arkansas who voted set a new record.
We want to thank all of you who voted and all of you who volunteered to make the process happen by working at the polls. We hope to provide you with every opportunity to stay engaged in the process long after the election.