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State legislative leaders say session safety ramped up after U.S. Capitol assault

Shepherd said he’s open for discussions on the bill, but he, like Hickey, thinks it would be a tough sell in the State House at this point.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas elected officials, including Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado and Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Hickey Jr., R-Texarkana, watched on Wednesday as rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol after being spurred by President Donald Trump that the election had been stolen. At least five people, including an Air Force veteran that was shot through the neck, and a police officer who was beaten, died in the ensuing melee.

During a roundtable discussion with reporters Friday (Jan. 8) via teleconference, both Shepherd and Hickey said they don’t think that violence of that kind will happen at the state capitol as the Arkansas General Assembly convenes next week. Both noted that funding for the capitol police had been expanded prior to the insurrectionists’ attacks in Washington D.C. and they expect for there to be a healthy police presence as the session evolves.

“(Safety) It’s always a concern,” Hickey said. He added that if constituents have an issue Arkansas legislators are accessible and he’s hoping “there won’t be any of that type of trouble” in Little Rock.

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