The Arkansas House met briefly this afternoon at the Old State House to begin a three-day special session. The Senate met, too, out of view of TV cameras, as its rule, in its usual place.
The House was forced to temporary quarters by repair work at the Capitol. The Old State House captured the House fancy than new meeting rooms in the state office building behind the Capitol.
The only meaningful activity of the day will be in committee, where agreements on school health insurance, prison money and limiting lottery game expansion should come quickly out of Joint Budget and Senate and House committee in meetings to begin at 5 p.m. Barring a surprise, everything is pre-agreed. Rep. Greg Leding remarked on Twitter that more time likely would be devoted to talking about the historic setting than debating any legislation. True that.
UPDATE: Oaklawn’s bill to prohibit lottery expansion, at least through March, came out of the House Rules Committee as expected without a protest. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley declined to give a position on the bill.
Also, in Joint Budget, outgoing Rep. Jim Nickels made one last valiant effort to add money to the prison spending bill to repay Correction Department staff for accumulated overtime. The measure failed on a 19-19 vote, with 29 votes needed for passage.