Arkansas lawmakers won’t meet this year on virus declaration

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FILE – In this Nov. 10, 2020 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks remotely to legislators in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Andrew Demillo File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas legislative leaders are rejecting a request from Gov. Asa Hutchinson for a meeting among lawmakers to vote on the state’s emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate President Jim Hendren and House Speaker Matthew Shepherd on Tuesday turned down a request Hutchinson made last week for them to this month convene a “committee of the whole,” citing the upcoming legislative session as the best forum to discuss the issue and potential changes to the governor’s emergency powers.

Hutchinson has faced pushback from some fellow Republicans over the state’s virus restrictions.

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