Legislators Move Toward Difficult Issues

JANUARY 31, 2005 - Posted at 9:55 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislators could take on some difficult issues this week, the fourth week of the regular session.

The House committee on children and youth is likely to resume hearings it began last week on legislation that would ban gays from adopting children and serving as foster parents in Arkansas.

The House Education Committee's calendar includes legislation to allow the closing of isolated schools.  Such closures were prohibited under a 2004 law that ordered consolidation or annexation of school districts with fewer than 350 students.

The Senate Judiciary Committee could hear opening arguments over legislation to require the Arkansas governor to give specific reasons for granting executive clemency.

Also this week, Senate and House leaders expect draft legislation addressing a court order to overhaul public school buildings and equipment.

They've been holding off while school officials review results of a nearly $9 million statewide buildings assessment.  The meetings among school officials should be winding down this week.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)