The newly elected Arkansas legislature doesn’t officially convene until January but on Friday incoming House members came to Little Rock to lay the groundwork. The re-elected and newly-elected jockeyed for committee placements with Republicans gaining control of every standing committee but two. Democrats garnered an equal amount of seats as the newly expanded Republican majority on the Education Committee and Insurance and Commerce Committee.
Republican Representative David Branscum of Marshall said with the guidance of outgoing and former legislators the GOP secured the committee assignments they wanted.
“We filled the positions on the committees that we wanted to and having Burris in there and even Johnny Key because those guys have got a lot of experience. Any time you want to dismiss experience because you think you know more than they do you’re a fool in my opinion. So I was proud to have them, they helped,” said Branscum.
Branscum referred to Republican John Burris a proponent of the private option that was defeated in May’s primary by an anti-private option Republican. Branscum also mentioned former state Senator Johnny Key who now has a lobbying position with the University of Arkansas.
Republicans gained 13 members in the state House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm and hold 64 of the chamber’s 100 seats. The meeting of legislators was also the first in the newly restored state House chamber.
The Senate will caucus next week.