State Senate to Pick New Leader Today

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Senate is to pick its next leader before the session wraps up today.

The upper chamber will decide whether Senator Bob Johnson of Bigelow or Senator Paul Miller of Melbourne, both Democrats, would become Senate president pro tem when the next General Assembly convenes in two years.

Using a system first employed in 2005, members planned to cast secret ballots after listening to the candidates speak from the floor.  The ballots will be destroyed after the vote and the winner announced at the end of the Senate's last day of business.

As president pro tem, Johnson or Miller would fill in when Governor Beebe and Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter are both out of the state.  The Senate president also serves as a leader of the legislative body.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)