Funding for Local Projects being Overseen by Jonesboro Democrat

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A constitutionality test will decide which bills funding local projects will begin moving out of an Arkansas legislative committee this week.  Legislators and staffers are trying to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling.

Representative Chris Thyer of Jonesboro, co-chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, told committee members yesterday that staffers were compiling a list of bills that clearly pass legal muster.  Thyer said legislators on the committee should get the list today, and he hopes that the committee can make an en masse endorsement of the measure tomorrow.

He said the bills remaining would still have an opportunity to be amended and voted on.  He said not being on the list doesn't mean that the bills are unconstitutional, immoral or in any other way offensive...they just didn't make the first cut.

Legislators have faced a quandary of whether and how to fund projects after the state Supreme Court ruled that the current method is unconstitutional.  Justices said last year that $400,000 appropriated for street improvements in Bigalow violated the state constitution's ban on funding strictly local projects.

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