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Senate Delays Final Passage of Voter ID Bill

A Senate committee will examine Tuesday whether legislation requiring voters to present a photo ID requires a two-thirds majority.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Senate committee will examine Tuesday whether legislation requiring voters to present a photo ID requires a two-thirds majority.

The Arkansas Senate delayed action Monday after Senator Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) objected to the upper chamber sending the bill to Governor Mike Beebe to sign or veto.

SB 2 already cleared both chambers earlier in the session, but questions have surrounded whether the legislation requires a 2/3 majority because it alters Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution.

The House Rules Committee decided along party lines last week that the legislation requires only a simple majority.

Now the rarely used Senate Rules Committee will take up the same question on Tuesday. That committee is divided 9-6 in favor of Democrats.

Bill sponsor senator Bryan King (R-Green Forest) says the decision not to vote Monday is little more than a political obstacle.

"Its a process that people don't like about politics," King says. "They want straight up and down votes, they want straight words, fair word or a fair fight. It's just getting to the point where it's a political stunt."

Beebe told reporters Monday afternoon he is waiting on more information from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office on whether the legislation creates a material change to the voting process.

"It's a little change," Beebe says. "The real question for me is does it change qualifications of voting pursuant to the constitution and that's what we got to get an answer to."

Beebe has vetoed two pieces of legislation this session. Both dealing with abortion restrictions were subsequently overridden by the House and Senate.
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