Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:
Harrison Daily Times, Feb. 10, 2014
Do we really need a lieutenant governor?
A statewide elected office is vacant, and no one has been appointed to fill the position until the next election.
So how is Arkansas still able to function?
Well, we’re actually getting along fine because the vacant position is that of lieutenant governor.
Being the lieutenant governor is kind of like being a prince in a monarchy. He doesn’t have any real power . unless king (or governor, in this case) is out of town.
Here are the job duties of the Arkansas lieutenant governor:
- Preside over the state senate and break tied votes;
- Serve as governor when the real governor is out of state (Can be an issue when the lieutenant governor abuses the power to sign legislation in governor’s absence then, when questioned, retreats back to being lieutenant governor.);
- Serve as governor if the governor is unable to fulfill the office’s duties.
Expenses include not only the lieutenant governor’s salary but those of his staff, as well as the cost of running an office.
The expense budget is part of what got the former lieutenant governor in trouble and prompted elected officials from both parties to ask him to resign.
With the office vacant, now seems an opportune time to quietly write this job out of the Arkansas Constitution, and give those few job responsibilities to the senate president pro Tempore. That position currently is being filled by State Senator Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, and the additional duties could be accomplished without huge increases in his staff.
Does anyone really believe we’ll miss having a lieutenant governor for the next 11 months?