JANUARY 8, 2007 - Posted at 2:37 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas lawmakers gathered at the state Capitol today and opened the 86th General Assembly.
New House and Senate members have been sworn in and the first speeches have been made.
Legislators will face a challenge again this season over school funding and they will also decide how to handle a projected state surplus of $843 million.
The House and Senate convened at noon to swear in new members, but it will be Wednesday before they hear specifics from Governor-elect Mike Beebe about his plan for the 2007 session. Beebe is to be sworn in tomorrow, when he will offer a brief outline of his plans. He says he'll give more details in an address Wednesday to a joint session of the Legislature.
Expected to top Beebe's list is a proposal to phase out the state's six percent sales tax on groceries. Beebe has already encountered reluctance from legislative leaders. House Speaker Benny Petrus says he'd rather see tax relief provided through methods such as earned-income tax credit.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
JANUARY 8, 2007 - Posted at 7:36 a.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state Capitol gets a lot busier today. Arkansas lawmakers are to gather to start a new session of the Legislature...the 86th General Assembly.
The House and Senate will convene separately and swear in new members at noon today, but lawmakers say they're looking ahead to Wednesday for an idea of the tone this year's session will take. By then Mike Beebe will officially be governor and he will address a joint session of the Legislature and detail his priorities for this year's session. Expected to top Beebe's list is a proposal to phase out the state's six-cent tax on groceries. The tax generates $250 million per year. Beebe says he wants to phase it out to avoid hurting any state services. The state is enjoying a surplus and legislators also will decide what to do with that money.