LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas General Assembly legislative session starts next week, and the state’s majority party wants to tighten its control over House committees.

In a letter sent to House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, nearly half of the Arkansas Republican Caucus requested that no Democrats be named chairs or vice chairs of legislative committees.

The letter describes these roles as “very important in the policymaking process” and said representatives in those positions “hold significant power during debate on legislation.”

It goes on to say that members of the Republican Caucus reflect “deep diversity from across Arkansas, with a wealth of backgrounds, experiences, and talents” and that while the Democratic lawmakers are entitled to represent their districts’ interests, their majority position held by the GOP gives them a mandate to lead.

“We have in our caucus all of the leadership potential we need to fill these positions, and the voters elected us to lead,” the letter noted. “Winning elections comes with responsibility and the authority to govern.”

In total, 47 GOP representatives signed the letter to the speaker. Republicans have clear supermajorities in both the Arkansas House and Senate, as well as all top offices in the state’s executive branch.

The Regular Session of the 94th Arkansas General Assembly convenes Monday, January 9.