April 2021


T here are ten standing committees in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Many of these committees are familiar to you, and by the committee’s name are self-explanatory in purpose, such as Education, Transportation and Public Health. Each committee accomplishes good work for the people of Arkansas and often touches the lives of Arkansans. I would offer to you that the House Judiciary impacts every Arkansan each and every day. If you have ever received a speeding ticket, been the victim of a crime, committed a crime, owned a gun, been in an abusive relationship, appeared in court or had a will drafted, the Judiciary Committee has had a direct impact on your life. The Judiciary Committee reviews matters pertaining to state and local courts, employees of the courts, civil and criminal procedures, estates and trust matters, business law, and civil and criminal law. Often, controversial bills come before this committee, garner the headlines and grab the media attention, as has Senate Bill

24, commonly known as Stand Your Ground . On that bill alone, the committee heard nearly five hours of testimony from citizens throughout our state who came to express their views on the bill. But that is just one of the dozens of bills this committee will consider this session. Of the more than 800 bills filed so far this session, over 60 have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and by the end of session, the committee will hear well over 100 bills. We meet twice a week during the session. In the interim, we meet once a month to study issues we need to address in the next session. Of the twenty members of the House Judiciary Committee, seven of us are attorneys. If you know anything about attorneys, you can imagine the number of questions asked. The committee also includes small business owners, farmers, a retired law enforcement officer, and teachers, just to name a few. There are seven women, five African Americans and we represent all four corners of the state. We are a diverse group, and it is important for a committee such as the House Judiciary to be diverse, to represent various segments of


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