Arkansas Senate

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Arkansas State Senate
Arkansas General Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
2 terms (8 years)
New session started
January 12, 2015
Tim Griffin (R)
Since January 13, 2015
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Jonathan Dismang  (R)
Since January 15, 2013
Majority Leader
Jim Hendren (R)
Since January 15, 2013
Minority Leader
Keith Ingram (D)
Since January 15, 2013
Seats 35
Political groups
Republican Party (21)
Democratic Party (14)
Length of term
4 years
Authority Article 8, Section 2, Arkansas Constitution
Salary $15,362/year + per diem
Last election
November 6, 2012
(35 seats)
Next election
November 4, 2014
(17 seats)
Redistricting Arkansas Board of Apportionment and Arkansas General Assembly
Meeting place
File:Arkansas State Senate.png
State Senate Chamber
Arkansas State Capitol
Little Rock, Arkansas
Arkansas State Senate

The Arkansas State Senate is the upper branch of the Arkansas General Assembly. The Senate consists of 35 members, each representing a district with about 83,000 people. Service in the state legislature is part-time, and many state senators have full-time jobs during the rest of the year. The 35-member Senate consists of twenty-two Republicans and thirteen Democrats. There are eight women, twenty-seven men, thirty-one White Americans, and four African Americans.


The Arkansas Senate was created and re-created by five separate constitutions, the first of which was ratified on January 30, 1836, and the fifth and current of which was adopted in 1874.[1] The reason for so many constitutions is in part because of the succession of Arkansas from the United States during the time of the American Civil War and the aftermath of the war. The constitution has also changed over time through numerous amendments.[1]

In 1947, the Arkansas Legislative Council committee was created to collect data for legislators and oversee the Bureau of Legislative Research, which is composed of professional, nonpartisan staff to aid in the legislative process. The committee consists of 36 legislators, 16 of which are state senators.[2]

In 1964, Dorathy M. Allen became the first woman elected to the Arkansas Senate.[3] During her time in office, she was the only female in the Arkansas Senate.[4]

Originally, legislators met biennially. A 2008 ballot proposal approved by voters created annual legislative sessions.[2] In 1992, voters approved term limits, limiting state senators to two four-year terms.[2]

Powers and process

Arkansas state senators are responsible for making and amending the laws of Arkansas in collaboration with the Arkansas House of Representatives and the governor. Senators begin the legislative process by submitting bill requests to the staff of the Bureau of Legislative Research that drafts a bill to conform to the author's intent. Bills are then filed with the Secretary of the Arkansas Senate or an assistant secretary of the Arkansas Senate.[5] The legislative process during the legislative session mirrors that of other state legislatures in the United States. Bills are introduced on First Reading and assigned to a committee, vetted by the committee, undergo Second and Third Readings on the floor of the Senate, go to the opposite house of the legislature, and return or go directly to the governor. The governor has veto power, but two-thirds of the membership of both houses of the legislature can override that veto.[5]

State senators are also responsible for approving the governor's appointments and 16 members of the Arkansas Senate serve on the Arkansas Legislative Council and the Joint Auditing Committee.[5] The Arkansas Legislative Council oversees the Bureau of Legislative Research, which provides professional support services for legislators.[2] It also acts as an organizing committee and members on the council exert a greater degree of influence over the legislative process and outcome.[2]

Terms and qualifications

The senators are usually elected for four-year terms. After the U.S. Census every ten years, all Senate districts are redrawn to ensure that they each have approximately the same number of constituents. After redistricting, every senate position appears on the ballot in the next election. Following this, senators draw lots, and 18 are allotted a two-year term while 17 receive a four-year term. This staggers elections so that only half the body is up for re-election every two years.

Two-year terms drawn by a senator after reapportionment do not count against a senator's service under the term limits amendment, which limits Arkansas state senators to two terms of four years. A senator who draws a two-year term can serve for 10 or even 12 years, depending on when they were elected.

Arkansas Constitution – Article 5. Legislative Department. § 3. Senate.
The Senate shall consist of members to be chosen every four years, by the qualified electors of the several districts. At the first session of the Senate, the Senators shall divide themselves into two classes, by lot, and the first class shall hold their places for two years only, after which all shall be elected for four years.

They are also limited to serving no more than two four-year terms.

Arkansas Constitution – Amendment 73. Arkansas Term Limitation Amendment. § 2(b). Legislative Branch.
The Arkansas Senate shall consist of members to be chosen every four years by the qualified electors of the several districts. No member of the Arkansas Senate may serve more than two such four-year terms.

Current composition

Composition of the Arkansas State Senate after the 2014 elections
  Democratic Party
  Republican Party
Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of the 88th General Assembly 20 15 35 0
Begin 14 21 35 0
August 20, 2013[6] 13 34 1
January 14, 2014[7] 22 35 0
End of the 89th General Assembly 35 0
Begin 11 24 35 0
Latest voting share 31.4% 68.6%


The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Arkansas Senate, but the President Pro Tempore is the presiding officer in the absence of the Senate president.[5] In practice, the President Pro Tempore generally serves as the presiding officer. Other Senate leadership positions include Majority leader, Whip and minority party positions. Committee assignments are determined by seniority, according to the rules of the Senate.[5]


Office Officer Party District
President/Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin Republican
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Jonathan Dismang Republican 16
Assistant Presidents pro tempore Eddie Joe Williams Republican 18
Jane English Republican 34
Cecile Bledsoe Republican 9
Bobby Pierce Democratic 25

Floor Leaders

Office Officer Party District
Majority Leader Jim Hendren Republican 29
Majority Whip Jimmy Hickey, Jr. Republican 28
Minority Leader Keith Ingram Democratic 24
Minority Whip Bobby Pierce Democratic 27


Current committees include:[8]

Members of the 90th Senate

District Name Party Residence First elected Seat up Term-limited
1 Bart Hester Rep Cave Springs 2012 2016 2020
2 Jim Hendren Rep Gravette 2012 2016 2020
3 Cecile Bledsoe Rep Rogers 2008 2014 2018
4 Uvalde Lindsey Dem Fayetteville 2012 2014 2022
5 Bryan King Rep Green Forest 2012 2014 2022
6 Gary Stubblefield Rep Branch 2012 2014 2022
7 Jon Woods Rep Springdale 2012 2016 2020
8 Jake Files Rep Fort Smith 2010 2014 2018
9 Terry Rice Rep Waldron 2014 2018 2022
10 Larry Teague Dem Nashville 2008 2014 2018
11 Jimmy Hickey, Jr. Rep Texarkana 2012 2016 2020
12 Bruce Maloch Dem Magnolia 2012 2016 2020
13 Alan Clark Rep Lonsdale 2012 2016 2020
14 Bill Sample Rep Hot Springs 2010 2014 2018
15 David J. Sanders Rep Little Rock 2012 2014 2022
16 Greg Standridge Rep Russellville 2015 special election 2018 2026
17 Scott Flippo Rep Mountain Home 2014 2018 2022
18 Missy Irvin Rep Mountain View 2010 2014 2022
19 Linda Collins-Smith Rep Pocahontas 2014 2018 2022
20 Blake Johnson Rep Corning 2014 2018 2022
21 John Cooper Rep Jonesboro 2014 (special) 2016 NA
22 David Burnett Dem Osceola 2010 2016 2020
23 Ron Caldwell Rep Wynne 2012 2016 2020
24 Keith Ingram Dem West Memphis 2012 2014 2022
25 Stephanie Flowers Dem Pine Bluff 2010 2016 2020
26 Eddie Cheatham Dem Crossett 2012 2016 2020
27 Bobby Pierce Dem Sheridan 2012 2016 2020
28 Jonathan Dismang Rep Beebe 2010 2016 2020
29 Eddie Joe Williams Rep Cabot 2010 2016 2020
30 Linda Chesterfield Dem Little Rock 2010 2014 2018
31 Joyce Elliott Dem Little Rock 2008 2014 2018
32 David Johnson Dem Little Rock 2008 2012 2016
33 Jeremy Hutchinson Rep Benton 2010 2014 2022
34 Jane English Rep North Little Rock 2012 2016 2020
35 Jason Rapert Rep Conway 2010 2014 2022

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Arkansas General Assembly, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture (accessed April 28, 2013)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Arkansas Legislative Council, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture (accessed April 28, 2013)
  3. Smith, Lindsley Armstrong (October 29, 2009). "Dorathy N. McDonald Allen". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved March 31, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Johnson, Ben (July 15, 2009). "Modern Era, 1968 through the Present". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved March 31, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 2013 Senate Rules, Arkansas Senate (accessed April 27, 2013)
  6. Democrat Paul Bookout (District 21) resigned
  7. Republican John Cooper won the special election for District 21
  8. "Arkansas Senate Committees". Open States. Sunlight Foundation. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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