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LITTLE ROCK — When the Arkansas legislature convenes the 2021 regular session, the first major challenge on the agenda will be ensuring that the public can still safely participate in the democratic process.
Visitors to the Capitol must wear a face mask, and they will be given a temperature check to make sure they are not running a fever.
Legislative committee rooms in the Capitol have been connected with video technology, so that when a committee is in session the public can keep up with the action from a nearby room. If members of the public want to voice opinions on a bill, they will be allowed to do so, but there will be rules about where they must wait until it is their turn to speak.
The legislature will address a series of familiar issues, along with some new ones.
Funding public schools is one of the first duties that lawmakers will take care of, because of the state's Constitutional obligation to adequately and equitably provide an education to every child in Arkansas. Education funding accounts for more than half of the Arkansas general revenue budget.
Other vital state services include operating prisons and re-entry programs for inmates returning to society. Juvenile justice, foster care and adoption services are run by the state.
Revenue Report
The state revenue report for December shows that the Arkansas economy continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
For the first six months of Fiscal Year 2021, total general revenue was up $320.7 million over the same period of the previous year. That is a 9.5% increase.

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