Arkansas Senate must decide whether to sanction two of its members

It's up to the Arkansas Senate to decide if two senators will face sanctions based on a recommendation by the ethics committee.

Sen. Mark Johnson, R-Little Rock, signed in Sen. Alan Clark, R-Lonsdale, at a Boys State event on June 3 even though he knew Clark was not there, according to the Senate recommendation. Clark sought reimbursement for attending the meeting even though he was not there.

The complaint was filed by Senate Pro Tem Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, on June 15. The committee mainly met behind closed doors on three separate occasions.

The Senate Ethics Committee recommended identical punishment for Clark and Johnson, which includes stripping them of their positions as vice-chair or committee chairmanships, according to the recommendation provided by the Senate public information office.

Clark is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Child Maltreatment Investigations Oversight Committee, according to his Senate profile. He also co-chairs the Arkansas Legislative Council-Occupational Licensing Review Subcommittee and is vice chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council Review.

Johnson is vice chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council-Charitable, Penal, And Correctional Institutions, the Joint Budget Committee-Claims and the Joint Energy Committee.

The committee also recommends that Clark and Johnson not be eligible for per diem and mileage for attending interim meetings for the remainder of the current session. If approved by the Senate, they would also be banned from serving on the Senate Ethics Committee, the Girls State Committee and Boys State Committee.

Ethics Committee Chair Kim Hammer, R-Benton, has 20 days to file the recommendation with the Senate Pro Tem, who then has 10 days to call the full Senate together to vote on the matter.

Neither Clark nor Johnson would respond to The Center Square's request for comment.

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