As expected, the Arkansas Senate taxed to raise taxes on cigarette to fund a healthcare package by a vote of 28 to 7. Democrat Senator Jerry Taylor joined six out of eight Senate Republicans to vote against the bill. Republican Senators Cecile Bledsoe and Kim Hendren, along with the rest of the Senate Democrats voted for the passage of HB1204 to give the ¾ majority required. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk where it will be signed by Gov. Beebe.
Spokesman for Gov. Beebe, Matt DeCample said following the vote that he was pleased with the Senate vote saying, “Lots of people did lots of good work to get us here.” Gov. Beebe has a scheduled press conference at 1:30 to discuss the vote further.
House Speaker Robbie Wills made to journey across the capital to watch the Senate vote. Afterwards the vote, Wills said, “This was a bold and courageous decision to raise taxes in tough economic times."