Special Session To Begin Considering Superproject, Presidential Primary

May 25, 2015

The Arkansas State Capitol
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Legislature is preparing to convene Tuesday for a special session.

The key item up for consideration is an $87 million bond package that would go toward helping a Lockheed Martin facility in south Arkansas land a contract building a new type of military vehicle.

In an interview with KUAR Monday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’s optimistic lawmakers will support it.

"The joint tactical vehicle is so critical. I hope that we can manufacture that in Arkansas and this is the first step in that process of competition that we (provide) financial support for this project and the creation of those jobs," Hutchinson said.

55,000 of the vehicles, which would be a replacement for the Humvee, are expected to be built by the company that is eventually awarded the project. A prototype is to be parked in front of the Capitol Monday morning, the governor says, to show what they’re working toward.

"We’re going to start with a news conference featuring the vehicle that would be made in Camden and that should be exciting for everybody in Arkansas to see."

Lawmakers are also to consider moving the Arkansas presidential primary election up by two months, which Hutchinson predicts could be the most contentious item addressed. It would involve the state joining with other states in the south in an effort to increase the political influence of the region.

"I think there will be a few controversies in it," Hutchinson said, "but I just think it’s important that every Arkansan have the opportunity to make a difference in the presidential election and that best opportunity is moving the primary to March."

The legislature is also to consider merging several state agencies and departments.

Committee meetings are scheduled during the morning Tuesday, with the House and Senate to convene at 3 p.m.

It’s the first special session that Hutchinson has called during his time in office and said “I feel pretty good about it.”