2017 Arkansas Code
Title 7 - Elections
Chapter 5 - Election Procedure Generally
Subchapter 8 - Election Contests
§ 7-5-805. Contest of state legislative offices

Universal Citation: AR Code § 7-5-805 (2017)
  • (a) Any contest to the eligibility, qualifications, or election to serve as a member of the Senate shall be in accordance with the rules and procedures for election contests as established by that chamber under its governing rules.
  • (b) (1) (A) Any action to contest eligibility, qualification, or election to serve as a member of the House of Representatives shall be initiated by filing a complaint with the Arkansas State Claims Commission.
    • (B) This procedure shall apply to House of Representatives election contests pursuant to Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 11, to contests of eligibility pursuant to Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 9, and to actions for expulsion pursuant to Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 12, except that a member of the House of Representatives shall be automatically suspended from the legislative process if a representative under felony criminal indictment is subsequently found guilty or pleads guilty.
    • (C)
      • (i) If a representative under a felony criminal indictment in any federal or state court is subsequently found guilty or pleads guilty to the charges, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall immediately declare the representative suspended from the legislative process, and notification shall be given to the convicted representative, all members of the House of Representatives, the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Auditor of State.
      • (ii)
        • (a) However, if a representative who was found guilty appeals that conviction, then the representative may petition the House Management Committee for a stay of the suspension from the legislative process, and the committee may grant a stay upon the filing of the petition and a notice of appeal to the relevant appellate court.
        • (b) The stay of the suspension shall continue until the appeal is complete or until the House of Representatives takes final action on the conviction.
    • (D) A representative suspended from the legislative process shall not participate in interim committee meetings nor in extraordinary or regular sessions of the General Assembly and shall not accept per diem and mileage but shall be eligible to retain the title of office and salary as a member of the General Assembly and is authorized to assist constituents and utilize legislative staff until a final action is taken by the House of Representatives.
      • (2) For House of Representatives election contests, the complaint shall be filed within fifteen (15) days after the election returns are certified by the county board of election commissioners. A responsive pleading shall be filed by the House of Representatives contestee within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the complaint unless an earlier or later date is set by the commission for good cause shown. Upon receipt of the complaint, the commission shall establish a schedule for discovery and hearing, which schedule shall allow the commission to take and review evidence presented by the parties and submit a nonbinding recommendation to the House of Representatives no later than five (5) days before the date fixed for the assembling of the General Assembly.
      • (3) For eligibility contests for the House of Representatives pursuant to Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 9, a complaint shall be filed at any time after the election of the individual to a seat in the House of Representatives. For action for expulsion from the House of Representatives pursuant to Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 12, the complaint shall be filed at any time permitted by law. A responsive pleading shall be filed within twenty (20) days after receipt of the complaint unless an earlier or later date is set by the commission for good cause shown. The commission shall establish a schedule for discovery and hearing, which schedule shall allow the commission to take and review evidence presented by the parties and submit a nonbinding recommendation to the House of Representatives in a timely fashion.
      • (4) An additional copy of all complaints filed pursuant to this subsection (b) shall be served on the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint one (1) member of the chamber from each political party to serve as ex officio, nonvoting members of the commission for the consideration of all matters relating to the complaint.
      • (5) In those actions concerning a seat in the House of Representatives, the recommendation is to be made to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall present the nonbinding recommendation to the members of the House of Representatives, and the members shall take such actions as they deem appropriate.
      • (6) The commission is authorized to promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions set forth herein regarding contests for the seats in the House of Representatives.
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