From the Arkansas Statehouse...

Day One: Wills speaks, assigns committees.

In General Business, Robbie Wills on 12 January 2009 at 4:56 pm

Day one of the 2009 Arkansas General Assembly — today — was full of pomp and circumstance, including multiple appearances by a man at the door of the House of Representatives carrying a giant wooden ceremonial rod. Speeches were given, and several legislators looked bored. There was a notable performance of God Bless America that carried on one verse too long and was backed by an absolutely horrifying mechanical drumbeat.

But there was also business of importance.

Robbie Wills was sworn in as speaker of the House of Representatives and spoke to the body of his hopes for the session. The local media has pinned Wills as dull, but he gave an effective speech touching on some issues that have not received much attention in the run-up to the session. Will health care, particularly AR Kids and community based health centers, receive additional funding? Will the state take measures to expand broadband to rural areas?

Wills also announced committee chairs. Their work will begin after Gov. Mike Beebe gives his State of the State address tomorrow at 10:30 am.

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