House votes to keep lieutenant governor seat vacant until November

Posted: February 27, 2014 at 2:32 p.m.

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that will keep the lieutenant governor's office open until November's elections. The post was held by Mark Darr (pictured) before he resigned Feb. 1 under pressure after he was found to have misspent $41,000 in public and campaign funds while in office.

The Arkansas House of Representatives voted Thursday to let the state operate without a lieutenant governor until general elections in November.

Representatives voted in favor of the bill, 76-10 and 3 present, that keeps the position vacant until a new candidate wins the seat in the general election and purportedly saves the state at least $1 million.

An Arkansas House committee approved the bill on Wednesday after state senators unanimously passed the bill last week.

The vote comes after weeks of debate about what to do with the seat previously held by former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who resigned Feb. 1 over ethics violations.

The commission fined Darr $11,000 in a Dec. 30 settlement agreement after finding 11 probable violations of ethics and campaign-finance law. Darr eventually resigned under pressure from various state officials, including Gov. Mike Beebe.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Beebe, who is expected to approve the bill, according to spokesman Matt DeCample.

Read more about this story in tomorrow’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.