Help Us Pass NO-EXCUSE ABSENTEE VOTING
Two Senators, @gregleding and I and four House members, Nicole Clowney, Monte Hodges, David Whitaker and Denise Ennett are sponsoring an amendment to make sure voters can safely cast their ballots in the General… https://t.co/BDEn7ENXrA
— Joyce Elliott (@xjelliott) April 8, 2020
Nothing else to do? Watch the Arkansas legislature in its biannual “fiscal session” beginning at noon today.
Only budget matters are allowed, unless another topic is authorized by a two-thirds vote. Leaders have said they hope to get the annual appropriations out and be gone in under two weeks.
House meets, with lots of distance between members, at the Jack Stephens Center at UA Little Rock. The Senate will spread into its galleries.
Joint Budget, which handles the appropriations, meets after adjournment today. All have streaming access, as does the House management committee, which will meet to approve the bill that provides for the costs of the session. Legislators get per diem payments. (I’ll ask if they get per diem if they are sheltering at home and voting by proxy. ANSWER: No, they do not.)
The public will not be admitted to the Capitol or Stephens Center, only legislators, staff and a handful of reporters.
One item of interest outside the norm:
Some Democratic lawmakers, as illustrated at the top, want to authorize no-excuse absentee voting for the fall election, just as Gov. Asa Hutchinson authorized by executive order for a handful of primary runoffs. Donald Trump said yesterday doesn’t like mail absentee voting (except for himself) and I expect that sentiment to be prevalent among Republican legislators.
Encouraging voting? That plank isn’t in the GOP platform. But perhaps the governor will endorse this idea. Two-thirds of the states have no-excuse absentees. A couple of states have mail voting.