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What is the Senate?

The Arkansas State Senate is considered the upper branch of the General Assembly. It is comprised of 35 members. Every 10 years, following the United States Census, the state is divided into 35 districts, with each representing approximately the same population numbers. When the districts were redrawn following the 2010 census, each represented about 83,000 Arkansans. The registered voters within each district then elect the senator to represent them for a four-year term. (However, every 10 years, immediately following the census, all senate seats are up for election. Eighteen are allotted two-year terms, and 17 are allotted four-year terms. This keeps the seats staggered so roughly half the body is up for election every two years.)

The lieutenant governor is the president of the Senate and the presiding officer. However, the senators elect a president pro-tempore from among their members, and that person serves in the absence of the lieutenant governor.

When a bill is introduced in the Senate it is referred to a committee, or committees, for consideration. It can be amended in committee or remain as filed. A bill that receives a favorable vote in all committees it is referred to then goes back to the full Senate for consideration.