The Arkansas House of Representatives, along with the Arkansas Senate, compose the legislative branch of state government. Combined, the two bodies form the Arkansas General Assembly, which convenes in Regular Session on the second Monday in January of every odd-numbered year. The General Assembly convenes in Fiscal Session the second Monday of February every even-numbered year. The 89th General Assembly convened at noon on Monday, January 14, 2013, for the Regular Session. The 2012 Fiscal Session convened Monday, February 13, 2012.
The House of Representatives consists of 100 Members elected from 100 districts, which are apportioned on a one-person, one-vote basis. Each House district has an average population of 29,159, according to the 2010 census.
Current Membership of the House of Representatives is made up of 83 men and 17 women; 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and 1 Green Party. A House Member must be at least 21 years old to serve, a resident of Arkansas for two years, and a resident of his or her district for one year. Members of the House serve two-year terms and since 1993, under Amendment 73 to the state's Constitution, may serve no more than three terms in office, or six total years of service in the House.
The Speaker of the House presides over the body and is elected every two years by the membership. His duties include supervising and directing the daily order of business, recognizing Members to speak, preserving order in the House, deciding all questions of order, certifying all measures passed, assigning committee leadership, and naming Members to select committees. The Speaker is also in charge of overseeing all House management functions during sessions and during the interim between sessions.
The Speaker also appoints a leadership team, which includes a Speaker Pro Tempore, who presides in the absence of the Speaker. The Speaker also may appoint representatives from each of the House's four caucus districts to serve as Assistant Speakers Pro Tempore who assist in leadership duties.
The House utilizes an electronic voting system. To vote, a Member pushes buttons on his or her desk. The green button signifies a yes vote, the red button indicates a no vote, and yellow means present. The votes are displayed on two large electronic boards at the front of the House Chamber and are counted at the speaker's desk.
An official record of the tabulations is placed into journals, which become the permanent record of House proceedings. The Secretary of State maintains the journals on file at the State Capitol.