Session Ends, Budget Not Done

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.

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