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89th General Assembly gets underway

The 89th General Assembly is officially underway. New house speaker Davy Carter says to expect some conservative leadership at the state capitol.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The 89th General Assembly is officially underway. New house speaker Davy Carter says to expect some conservative leadership at the state capitol.

We already know the big issues -- deal with shoring up and possibly expanding Medicaid and coming up with a budget. But on this first day, the new speaker wants members to think about why they're here at the capitol.

The kickoff to the 89th General Assembly is a day to bring family on to the house floor. There’s a lot of posing for pictures, even time for a little bit of games.

The first day is largely ceremonial and no matter where you look in the gallery, it’s standing room only all the way across.

Representative Davy Carter is the first Republican House Speaker in nearly 150 years.

"This won't be a cakewalk,” he says. “We have serious issues ahead that will require vigorous debate. But that's okay, that's what we're charged to do."

A couple of those serious issues: the task of handling a budget and dealing with a Medicaid shortfall and possible health coverage expansion to more Arkansans.

"Every time we enact a law, we're affecting the lives of 3 million people. This is serious business.

"In the coming days and weeks that lie ahead we will be faced with a lot of hard work and tough decisions. We will not always agree on the issues of the day but we are all here because we're proud to serve this great state."

The work begins now.

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