The laws in the Arkansas Code are passed by the Arkansas General Assembly, which consists of the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate. The House of Representatives contains 100 members, while the Senate contains 35 members. The members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, while the members of the Senate serve four-year terms. The members of both chambers are limited to a lifetime maximum of 16 years in the legislature.
A proposed law is known as a bill, which can be introduced in either chamber of the Arkansas legislature. After a bill is introduced, it will be referred to one or more standing committees. These committees determine whether a bill should move forward, and they also can propose amendments to a bill. If a bill passes through the committee phase, it will return to the chamber in which it was introduced. This chamber will discuss the bill and consider any amendments suggested by a committee or by members of the chamber. Once the bill has been finalized, the original chamber will vote on whether to pass it.
If the bill is passed, it will go through the same process in the other chamber. Sometimes the second chamber will amend the bill and pass a different version of it. A bill will not reach the next stage unless the differences between these versions are resolved. Each chamber must pass identical versions of the bill.
If each chamber of the legislature passes the bill, the Governor of Arkansas will review it. The Governor may sign the bill into law, or the Governor may take no action, which means that the bill will become law. If the Governor vetoes the bill, however, it will return to the legislature. The legislature can vote to override the Governor’s veto and pass the bill into law. Overriding the Governor's veto requires only a simple majority vote in each chamber of the legislature, rather than the two-thirds majority that is required in many states.