Apr 26, 2024 - News

Amendment to clarify Arkansas purchasing law to include the governor fails

A screenshot of the Arkansas 94th General Assembly.

State Rep. Julie Mayberry (R-Hensley) presents her proposed amendment. Screenshot: Courtesy 94th General Assembly

A proposed amendment to a state Senate bill that sought to include the governor and other constitutional officers as members of "agencies" failed to clear a legislative subcommittee Wednesday.

Why it matters: The state's General Accounting and Budgetary Procedures Law requires all state agencies to provide adequate accounting for fiscal transactions, but it does not explicitly state that constitutional officers are "agencies."

State of play: Days before the long-awaited audit report regarding the purchase of a $19,000 podium (including shipping and a case) by the administration of Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, state Attorney General Tim Griffin issued an opinion that constitutional officers are excluded from the general term "agencies" in the law unless they are explicitly specified.

The state's constitutional officers are the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and land commissioner.

Context: The podium purchase resulted in a public outcry and the Sanders administration was reimbursed by the Republican Party of Arkansas.

The bottom line: No member of the Joint Budget Committee's Special Language Subcommittee made a motion to support the bill, proposed by Rep. Julie Mayberry (R-Hensley).

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