Though Fort Smith’s state legislators are all addressing different items of business, they each have the region they represent in mind.
Three of the four state representatives in State Senate District 8 and District Senator Mat Pitsch, R-Fort Smith, spoke Friday in a legislative forum about change they are personally trying to evoke at a state level as legislators. Multiple legislators in the panel pointed out that they each take each others’ house districts and the senate district into consideration when they make decisions.
Pitsch noted each of the legislators in the district meet once a week to discuss how actions they take in the legislature can move the area they represent forward. He said this approach is useful in a legislative body that is much larger than those in District 8.
“You all of a sudden start covering a lot more bases and represent the area a whole lot better,” he said. “That’s the big thing.”
Pitsch, who is serving his first term on the senate after serving as a state representative, is already handling legislation.
Pitsch said he has two bills related to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission on the Senate floor. He said one is related to the state Chamber of Commerce and the other one is related to the Association of Arkansas Counties.
District 77 state Rep. Justin Boyd passed his first piece of legislation, and he’s looking to pass more.
Act 68, which extends time for independent candidates to collect signatures for their campaign, passed unanimously through the house and the senate. Boyd, R-Fort Smith, said he’s passed a few more bills, including a bill on criminal justice reform, out of the House.
Boyd said he’s also presented a few of his bills in front of the Senate Committee.
Though he didn’t mention it in the forum, District 78 state Rep. Jay Richardson is associated with his first piece of legislation.
Though he didn’t specify the nature of the legislation, Pitsch said Richardson, D-Fort Smith, said a bill not yet filed has his name on it. But when asked about what he’s doing as a representative, Richardson said he wants to address a handful of issues in the future, including funding for state highways and criminal justice.
“We need to look at our judicial system and how we get people incarcerated,” Richardson said.
District 76 state Rep. Cindy Crawford in the last week of the legislature took issue with Arkansas legislators trying to join the Convention of States to amend the United States Constitution.
Article V of the Constitution states that amendments may be proposed at a federal level if two-thirds of state legislatures call a convention. Crawford said legislators are pushing to vote Arkansas into such a convention.
Crawford said she has called for a constitutional scholar to come speak against this election.