LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – This week both the House and Senate rejected the idea from Governor Asa Hutchinson to convene as a Committee of the Whole to affirm his most recent decision to extend the state of emergency.
State Senator-Elect Dan Sullivan says there is not any tension between the two branches, “There’s a perception out there that the legislature is opposing the governor.”
Sullivan filed a package of bills that did what the Governor was asking for from the legislature, “We filed this package of bills to let the people know that we don’t oppose the governor. We just oppose his overreach of what we think is the constitutional authority.”
Sullivan said the lawsuit that has been filed by members of the General Session is different than the set of bills he filed. He said the Governor should have gotten legislators involved earlier and that it’s not about any of the policies he’s enacted under the emergency, “Why does the governor not come before the legislature with the emergency rulemaking powers that are in effect and say hey guys, we we need to do this. It’s a good thing and we go OK, we agree it’s a good thing. It doesn’t seem that complex.”
Some of Sullivan’s bills would keep in place some of the changes that Governor Hutchinson has made during the pandemic. He filed bills that would allow for corporate shareholders and banks to have shareholders meetings virtually (SB11), to allow for election changes to be made during a state of emergency (SB12), and for notaries to be signed virtually (SB14). “I mean, there are several of these that were the bills were are the law was written years ago before we could do things like you and I are doing and now we can guess what. So maybe it’s time to update the notary bill,” he said.
Sullivan said that the spirit of cooperation has always been with the legislature and he hopes that the Governor shares the same sentiment.