Outgoing House Speaker to Join House Staff

JANUARY 2, 2007 - Posted at 12:42 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Incoming House Speaker Benny Petrus won't have to look far for some help from his predecessor when the legislative session begins next week.

Petrus says that outgoing House Speaker Bill Stovall will join the House's permanent staff as administrative assistant to the speaker.

Petrus, a Democrat from Stuttgart, says Stovall will primarily help with budget issues on the House side.

Stovall, a Democrat from Quitman, will earn about $96,000 per year in the new position.  Petrus says Stovall's job will also include handling the information systems for the House.

Stovall says Petrus approached him several months ago about the position.  Petrus told Stovall he didn't know if he would stay in the job for the entire two years of Petrus' term as speaker.

Elected to the House in 2000, Stovall was barred by the state's term limits law from running for re-election last year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)