Saturday, March 9, 2019

Arkansas Senate Makes Quick Work of March Presidential Primary Bill

On Thursday, March 7, the Arkansas state Senate moved with little vocal dissent to pass SB 445. The measure would shift up from late May to the first Tuesday in March the consolidated primary, including the presidential primary, in the Natural state.

In an 18-7 vote with another ten members either voting present, not voting or excused the bill passed and was sent to the state House for its consideration. Only Republicans supported the bill while the Democratic caucus was split between opposing the measure and voting present. Two Republicans voted no and explained why as the bill was considered on the Senate floor. One member, Sen. James Sturch (R-19th, Batesville), stood against the legislation due to the unresolved complaints from county elections officials (a dispute that came up during the committee hearing for the bill). The other Republican member in opposition, Sen. Blake Johnson (R-20th, Corning), argued that the bill's residual impact on when the state legislature holds fiscal sessions would disproportionately affect those members in the state in agriculture/farming.

Regardless, the SB 445 easily passed the state Senate and moves Arkansas closer to permanently shifting its presidential election year primaries to March. The House will take up the bill starting next week.

2/6/19: Out of Arkansas, An Apparent Challenge to the New Hampshire Primary

2/11/19: Arkansas Lawmaker Signals a Scaling Back of Presidential Primary Legislation

2/16/19: Amendment to Arkansas Bill Eyes March for Presidential Primary Move

3/1/19: New March Presidential Primary Bill Flies Through Arkansas Senate Committee

3/13/19: Arkansas House Committee Advances March Presidential Primary Bill

3/19/19: On to the Governor: Super Tuesday Bill Passes Arkansas House

3/25/19: Arkansas Presidential Primary to Super Tuesday

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