April 23, 2003
Posted at: 2:20 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Governor Huckabee has called a special session to begin May 5 to approve a state budget for the coming two years. Huckabee said the session would likely be one of three he will call this year, since the legislature adjourned last week with several major issues unresolved.
He said another special session is possible in June, to deal with unresolved issues from the session that ended amid a dispute over how to cover shortfalls in the budget.
The governor said that, if the budget and revenue session goes well and folks cooperate, he's looking at June for a cleanup session. He said in an interview with an Associated Press reporter that legislators had a host of things that could have passed if they had more time.
Huckabee said that, in the fall, probably in September, he expects to call another special session to deal with the state Supreme Court's mandate to fix a state public school system the court says is unfair and underfunded.
Huckabee said he would work during the summer to gather support for his school reform initiative. He has proposed saving money for education reform by consolidating high schools in districts with fewer than 1500 students. The plan failed to make it through the Legislature because of backlash from rural legislators, superintendents and others.
The governor said he thinks some people will come around between now and September. He said he plans to spend a lot of time answering questions and selling the plan to people.