Social Issues Take Center Stage in Arkansas Legislature (AP Analysis)

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 5:26 pm  

Republican House Speaker Davy Carter and Senate President Michael Lamoureux speak to reporters Jan. 7 at the state Capitol. (Photo by Lance Turner)

"The idea that we're only doing social issues will fade away as these other issues emerge," said Senate President Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville.

But education and job issues may still face an uphill fight for attention from lawmakers. Several contentious issues, including a push to allow open carry of handguns, remain pending in the Legislature. And Beebe has yet to say whether he'll veto a bill lawmakers sent him last week that would ban most abortions 20 week into a pregnancy.

House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, has defended the Legislature and says lawmakers are working on jobs, education and Medicaid even if those issues aren't dominating the headlines the same way the guns and abortions proposals are.

But, he's quick to add: "I'm ready to move on and start dealing with these other issues."

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