The House will be convening the day after Memorial Day, May 26, to address several issues for what we expect to be a brief Special Session.
The Governor’s primary reason for calling us back into session is to address an economic development opportunity. We are being asked to approve $87 million in state bonds as an incentive for Lockheed Martin to expand its Camden facility. If Lockheed Martin is awarded a contract by the federal government to manufacture a new tactical vehicle, the Governor says it could double the number of employees for the plant. The state would only release the bonds if the company receives the contract.
Amendment 82 enables the state to issue bonds to companies making significant investments. It was proposed by the General Assembly during the 2003 Regular Session. It was then referred to the ballot as a Constitutional Amendment in November 2004 and approved by 63.5% of voters. The first project approved under the amendment was Big River Steel in Osceola. The steel mill plant is now currently under construction.
Details on the specifics of the project in Camden and how the bonds will be paid back will be discussed at a joint meeting of the Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development committee meeting on Tuesday at 1pm. The full House will then convene at 3pm that day.
The Arkansas Constitution states that the Governor may call a Special Session to address only the items the Governor recommends. Governor Hutchinson is also recommending the legislature address government efficiency by merging a few state agencies. We will also be asked to address the possibility of moving the election primary from May to March. If the primary is moved, we would also look at starting our Fiscal Sessions (held during even numbered years) in April rather than February as has been our previous practice.
We have posted the entire proclamation on our website. We will also be streaming House committee meetings held in the Capitol and House floor proceedings at arkansashouse.org.