The 2016 fiscal session of the Arkansas Legislature was formally adjourned Monday. With no major issues to address since last week’s passage of a final budget, lawmakers quickly wrapped up the session.
House Speaker Jeremy Gillam told colleagues that after "communicating with the Senate and determining there is no further business necessary to come before the fiscal session of the 90th General Assembly and in accordance with the provisions of the House concurrent resolution 1001, the House of Representatives is hereby adjourned sine die.”
The $5.3 billion budget approved last Thursday is for the fiscal year that begins in July. During the session, lawmakers also approved continuing the state’s Medicaid expansion plan.
On Monday, House members reelected Gillam, a Republican from Judsonia, to serve as speaker of the chamber for another two year term. He was the only candidate running for the post.
Legislative members are now preparing for a special session that Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he will call to begin May 19 focusing on a shortfall in highway funding so that Arkansas won't miss out on matching federal dollars.
Gillam told the Associated Press that legislative leaders are not ruling out the possibility of raising fuel taxes in the state, even though Hutchinson has said he wants a revenue neutral approach that would not raise taxes. The governor has proposed tapping general revenue and rainy day funds to support an increase this year, though some lawmakers have said a long term solution is needed.