Sen. Cooper to file Craighead County courthouse bill Thursday

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - A bill will be filed Thursday to seek to remedy nearly 130 years of questions involving the operations of the Craighead County courthouses in Jonesboro and Lake City, the bill's sponsor said Wednesday night.

Sen. John Cooper, R-Jonesboro, said he plans to file a bill at the Capitol looking at only Craighead County, which is divided into an Eastern and Western District.

In a statement to Region 8 News, Cooper said the bill will seek to empower residents as well as officeholders in completing basic government services.

"Yes. I am filing a bill to repeal all statutes establishing a separate entity. My bill will return the whole county to normal county structure like most of the other counties in the state have. This will give back to the elected officials the freedom and authority to do the jobs they were elected to do," Cooper said of the bill. "This is a good government bill and will make county government more efficient and give oversight of office operations back to the people that are supposed to be in charge of it."

Cooper said he also plans to ask for a complete audit of the Lake City location by the Division of Legislative Audit.

Cooper also said there are nine other counties in the state, with two separate courthouses that have a similar set-up. However, there is a growing opinion in Little Rock that the Craighead County situation is "most dysfunctional" at best, Cooper said.

Once the bill is introduced, it will likely be referred to the House and Senate City, County, and Local Affairs committees.

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