- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two legislative committees have agreed to a proposal by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to move several small state agencies into larger departments.

Senate and House committees on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs approved identical proposals Tuesday, despite legislators’ concerns about the potential effect on rural communities.

Under the plan, the Department of Rural Services and the Science and Technology Authority would be merged into the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Hutchinson is wants to merge the Division of Land Survey into the Geographic Information Office and the Arkansas Building Authority into the Department of Finance and Administration.

The House and Senate plan to vote on the bills Wednesday.

Hutchinson said the move would save the state between $10 million and $12 million over the next five years by eliminating redundant positions.

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