April 16, 2003
Posted at: 9:25 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- With the failure a final effort to extend the legislative session, House and Senate leaders sent staff members home Wednesday night.
The regular session officially ends at midnight, but it was effectively over a few hours earlier.
After staff members left, some with boxes packed, lawmakers made dinner plans and left the Capitol in droves.
Finishing a state budget will have to wait for a special session -- which Governor Huckabee has pledged to call. Huckabee has said he will call legislators back in time to have a budget by the June 30 end of the fiscal year.
The House was consistently two votes short of a two-thirds majority for extending the session. The Senate had earlier voted to keep working but couldn't get enough House members to go along.
A core of anti-tax House members voted together to block the extension. The Legislature is expected to return to session in the fall, too, to work up an education package.