State Rep. Jim Nickels of Sherwood says Gov. Mike Beebe could call a special legislative session as early as today and it should include a provision to make whole state employees who’ve been furloughed thanks to federal budget cuts.
“It is my understanding that nearly 700 state employees have already been furloughed as a direct result of the federal budget crisis and thousands more are expected to be furloughed should federal shutdown continue. I believe it is our duty to see that employees in Arkansas are treated fairly and guaranteed the same back pay options as federal employees.”
I’ve asked for a comment from the governor’s office.
UPDATE: The governor’s office says legislation is still flying back and forth. The call for a special session may be near, but perhaps not today.
On the issue of back pay, spokesman Matt DeCample said:
As the furloughed employees are paid with federal funds through federal programs, we will have to wait and see what officials in Washington do whenever the shutdown ends. We have to abide by federal law on these positions and personnel. Obviously we hope the federal government will make these employees whole after denying them pay through no fault of their own.
State employees paid with Arkansas funds have not been furloughed as a result of the federal shutdown.