February 17, 2012 by Matthew Jones
This week, the Arkansas State Legislature began its second special fiscal session, which was approved in 2008 by a referred amendment to the people of Arkansas. The session is designed to be a time when the legislature can focus on budgets and changes to the budgets to adjust to the needs of their constituents. This being since Arkansas is one of a handful of states whose legislature meets only every other year.
However, new rules around how certain members of the legislature raise money for elections and primaries change the nature of the political landscape in Arkansas. While there are no new rules on when senators can raise funds, members of the House cannot raise any money during the fiscal session. Meanwhile their opponents can raise funds, if they are not members of the House.
Such is the case of Rep. Tim Summers, R-Harrison, who is running for the new Senate District 1 seat and cannot raise funds due to the fact that he is a member of the house.
Sen. Bill Pritchard, R-Elkins, one of the two Republicans running for the District 7 Senate seat, currently held by Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, has decided to hold of fundraising until March 15, to be held at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, set to run from 4pm to 6pm.
The other candidate, Rep. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, has set up a fundraiser to be held on a later determined date with former head coach for the Razorback Basketball team, Nolan Richardson.
The fiscal session is set to adjourn at noon on March 9.
It’ll be interesting to know if these candidates (and current office holders) for 2012 are aware of the fundraising rules. Stay tuned …