Arkansas lawmakers expected to finalize budget

Monday, February 27th, 2012

The Associated Press


Arkansas lawmakers are expected to finalize a $4.7 billion budget for the coming year as they try to wrap up the final week of the legislative session.

The Joint Budget Committee was scheduled on Monday to consider the budget proposal that was unveiled last week. The measure is nearly identical to the budget Gov. Mike Beebe proposed in January.

It calls for increases in funding for Medicaid and public schools and keeping most other agency spending flat. The proposal was introduced last week after Republicans who had been pushing for more spending cuts relented and allowed it to move forward.

If approved by the committee, the budget would head to the House and Senate for a vote on Thursday. Legislative leaders hope to end this year’s session on Friday.


State fluoridation costs surpass startup pledge

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Allotted $2 million seen as drop in bucket

Arkansas Democrat Gazette


LITTLE ROCK — When the Legislature last year required some Arkansas water systems to fluoridate water, lawmakers intended that Delta Dental Foundation of Arkansas would pay the startup costs. But they never defined the phrase “startup cost.”

Now, as the organization reviews applications from the 34 source water systems compelled to fluoridate under the new law, questions have been raised over what exactly will be funded and how long the $2 million pledged by Delta Dental will last.

The Legislature required cities and towns that serve or sell water to more than 5,000 people to install fluoridation systems in their water plants, but only if private funding is available. There is an exemption for systems like Texarkana’s that receive water from outside the state.

The 34 systems that meet those qualifications sell water to 85 other systems.

Nearly all water has naturally occurring fluoride in it, said the Department of Health’s former Office of Oral Health Director Lynn Mouden.

Fluoridation involves a water system adding fluoride to get the concentration in drinking water to within the amounts recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is currently 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter, or 0.7 parts per 1 million of water.

Act 197 of 2011 was written with the understanding that the Delta Dental Foundation of Arkansas would offer grants as a funding source.

So far, Delta Dental has awarded $1.62 million for fluoridation systems to 12 water companies, Delta Dental spokesman Edie Arey said. The foundation has pledged $2 million to cover all 34 systems that qualify for the grants because they serve populations greater than 5,000 and do not fluoridate.

Foundation President Ed Choate said water systems are asking for more money than Delta Dental had planned on. He said he expects the cost of fluoridating all 34 systems to be between $6 million and $10 million.

“The requests were perfectly sound and logical, they were just more than we expected,” he said.

Choate said the original amount pledged by the foundation, $500,000, assumed that would cover the cost of fluoride injectors.

He said as soon as the first applications started to come in, the foundation realized “it really was going to require more than injectors to make this work.”

That is when Choate asked Delta Dental’s board members to increase their pledge to $2 million. He said when the board members meet next in May or June he will have to ask them to increase that pledge again and spread the money over the next five to seven years.

“This is just going to take a little bit longer to do, but we are absolutely committed,” he said.

Choate said Delta Dental has received grant applications from 18 water systems asking for a total of $4.6 million.

He said the water systems have asked for facilities to house the chemicals, storage tanks and testing equipment.

“For us to say we’re only going to pay the bare minimum … it would put the majority of the cost back on them,” Choate said. “We’ve just tried to look at this in the most logical way … without being excessive.”

He said the foundation is trying to find a way to cover the costs efficiently.

“We want to give the money they need to fluoride. … We just need to make sure we are not spending money unnecessarily because the demand is greater than we had anticipated,” Choate said. “That’s a very difficult thing to work through.”

That has meant some back-and-forth negotiations with water systems about what equipment they need.

The Carroll-Boone Water System had one of the largest grant requests, Choate said. He said the system applied for $1.2 million, and Delta Dental agreed to fund $763,605.

Water System Operator Rene Fonseca, 62, said Delta Dental asked the system to reduce its request, such as using hand-held testing equipment instead of using automatic computerized testing equipment.

“It doesn’t mean that we can’t have that equipment, it’s just that we have to pay for it ourselves,” Fonseca said. “We operate off of computers that tell us everything that’s going on in the plant. [The computerized fluoride testing equipment] was denied to us. To me that’s like asking a pilot to fly without an altimeter or a doctor to do surgery without a heart monitor.”

He said Delta Dental also denied the system’s request for a second story on a storage building, a forklift to carry chemicals and a room to store electrical equipment.

“It seems like they are denying an awfully lot for us,” he said.

Fonseca said he isn’t sure how the system will handle the cost of purchasing the equipment or construction on its own or if it will try to.

“For a small district like we are … that’s quite a difference, and we do have other things in our business that require attention. Those excess funds would be quite a burden,” Fonseca said.

Rep. Kelley Linck, R-Flippin, said the law is clear that all the money was supposed to come from a private source.

“We can’t use tax dollars, and we can’t use profits from water systems,” Linck said.

He said the Legislature may need to revisit the issue when it meets again in 2013.

“We didn’t specify in the bill what’s required and what’s not,” he said. “It gets real messy as to what is required. I’m one of those simple guys who think we can throw simple laws out there, but unfortunately it’s not clear.”

The legislator who sponsored the law, Sen. David Johnson, said he thinks it is clear enough. He said the Legislature couldn’t have written a broad enough definition to cover the different things water systems around the state might need.

Johnson, a Little Rock Democrat, said review by the Department of Health should be enough to make sure water systems get the equipment they need without asking for more than Delta Dental is willing to provide.

Jeff Stone, director of the Health Department’s engineering section, said his agency reviews the type of equipment and its size and location to make sure it meets the state’s requirements.

“We are not directly a step in the process that determines the grant money. Delta Dental reviews grant applications,” Stone said. “Whether a grant covers elements not required by the state, it is up to Delta Dental and the systems to determine if the grant will cover it.”


Fonseca said the water district is also concerned about whether the chemical reaction that occurs when fluoride is mixed with chloramine, a disinfectant used by the water system, will leach lead from the system’s pipes.

He said the concerns arose because lead levels in a Washington, D.C., water system rose to high levels after the system began using chloramine in 2000. The EPA, the federal Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all had to get involved when testing found lead in the water at 900 parts per 1 billion, Fonseca said. The EPA recommends a maximum lead level of 15 parts per 1 billion.

Carroll-Boone has used chloramine to treat and disinfect the drinking water for decades, he said.

“Because of our long distribution lines it is necessary,” Fonseca said. “Regular chlorine dissipates. We need to produce those chloramine to have a lasting residual disinfectant.”

He said the system has 54 miles of pipes in its distribution system, and the secondary systems it feeds into have hundreds of miles.

Fonseca said the water system has asked the Department of Health to weigh in.

The system is “highly concerned about mixing chloramines with fluoride products in light of what happened in Washington, D.C.,” a letter to the Department of Health states. “Carroll-Boone Water District does not believe there can be 100 percent certainty that lead levels will not rise if we conduct this mixture.”

The engineering section of the Health Department responded in a letter that there isn’t a correlation between chloramines and fluoride.

“The Engineering Section does not feel that the addition of fluoride to your operation will cause any additional lead leaching issues,” it states.

Health Department spokesman Ann Russell said the Carroll-Boone Water System differs from the system that had a problem in Washington.

“Few if any residences in Arkansas would be found to be utilizing the lead service-line components that directly contributed to the issues in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “This is a reflection of Washington, D.C., being a very old community whereas communities in Arkansas have obtained community water service during a much more recent time frame when more modern components were utilized.”


Politicians line up as filing period opens

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Arkansas Democrat Gazette


LITTLE ROCK — Democrat Gene Jeffress of Louann and Republican John Cowart of Texarkana on Thursday filed to run for the 4th District congressional seat being vacated by Mike Ross of Prescott, a Democrat who is bowing out while he looks at the governor’s race of 2014.

Ross said in July that he wouldn’t run this year for a seventh term in the U.S. House.

Thursday was the opening day of the period for filing for political offices in Arkansas this year. The period ends at noon next Thursday.

Also filing was U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro for a second term in the 1st District position he won in 2010.

Two Democrats, state Rep. Clark Hall of Marvell and Gary Latanich of Jonesboro, have said they also intend to seek the 1st District seat.

Crawford said that “in general, I think we will see pretty much the same outcome we saw the last time around. We are going to work hard and do what we did last time and continue to focus on constituent service and making sure folks know they have a strong voice in Washington and representing Arkansas in Washington and not Washington in Arkansas.”

Representatives of Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also filed papers to get those candidates’ names on the Arkansas ballot in the May 22 primary.

Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Jo Hart of Mountain View filed for state Supreme Court Position 4, which is being vacated by Justice Jim Gunter. Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Abramson of Holly Grove has said he intends to run, as well. Position 4 is the only statewide office that will be on this year’s ballot.

Twenty-five Republicans and 23 Democrats filed for state Senate seats, and 68 Republicans and 57 Democrats filed for state House seats. Currently, Democrats hold 54 and Republicans have46 seats in the 100-member House. Democrats have 20 seats and Republicans 15 in the 35-member Senate.

Jeffress made good on his intention, announced in October, to run for the 4th District congressional seat amid questions in his own party about whether he would do so, given that he hasn’t reported raising any money.

“It’s not about the money. It is about votes,” said the retired teacher. He has been in the Legislature since 1999.

“I have a shot because I am well known, and I have connections in all 33 counties [of the district],” Jeffress said.

He will raise enough money to be a viable candidate, he said.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama “plays out in different ways in different places in the district. In some areas, it will be a great attribute and in some [other areas], it will be different than that,” Jeffress said.

Cowart, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, returned from Afghanistan in January. He announced his intention to run later than the other candidates did.

“But I am the first to file today, and I am very excited that there is a lot of energy and a lot of interest out there by the voters in somebody who doesn’t come from any sort of political background with political experience,” he said. “I definitely want to see our country get on the right track, and I feel like I am the person to do that.”

Republicans Tom Cotton of Dardanelle and Beth Ann Rankin of Magnolia, who lost to Ross in 2010, and Democrat D.C. Morrison of Little Rock, have also said they intend to run for the 4th District seat. Morrison ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010. He said in December that he planned to move into the district.

State Democratic Party Chairman Will Bond of Jacksonville told reporters that he expects former Democratic state Rep. Jay Martin of North Little Rock to file for the 2nd District seat held by Republican Tim Griffin of Little Rock.

State Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb of Benton said he expects Republicans to win all four congressional districts this year. Bond said his goal is towin all four, and he expects Democrats to be competitive in all four.

Republican Steve Womack of Rogers holds the 3rd Congressional District seat, and Russellville Democrat Ken Aden has said he intends to seek the seat.

Republicans hold three of the state’s four U.S. House seats.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Dennis Milligan filed papers for Gingrich.

Alice Stewart, former spokesman for former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Secretary of State Mark Martin, filed papers for Santorum.

Milligan, who is the Saline County circuit clerk and a spokesman for Gingrich’s campaign, said the former U.S. House speaker from Georgia “is loved in the South and will be extremely well received [in Arkansas].”

Stewart, now a spokesman for Santorum’s campaign, said the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania will connect well with the people of Arkansas because of his emphasis on faith and family, and strong support for limited government and cutting wasteful spending.

About four hours before Martin struck a gavel on a lectern to open the filing period at noon, Jonesboro Democrat Harold Copenhaver started standing in line to file as a candidate with the state Democratic Party. He filed for House District 58 for which state Rep. Jon Hubbard, R-Jonesboro, filed for re-election.

“There’s a lot to do, but economic development in the area has always been foreseen with our previous representatives that we have had in office for years, [the late] Sen. Jerry Bookout and gentlemen of that nature,” Copenhaver said in explaining why he’s seeking the office.

But state Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway, ended up being the first candidate to file Thursday, about an hour after he got into line.

He explained that he “leapfrogged” Bentonville Republican Duane Neal, who was in front of him, because he was more familiar with the process of filing for office.

Meeks said he didn’t intend to be the first candidate to file. But, he said, “It just symbolizes the fact that No. 1 the Republicans are ready to get the majority, and for me it symbolizes that I am ready to get to work on my re-election campaign to take my message back to the people and my conservative record.”

Conway Republican Price Dooley and Conway Democrat Cody Bassham later filed for House District 70, for which Meeks filed.




Arkansas Campaign Season Kicks Off This Week with Filing Period

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Associated Press


Both Democrats and Republicans have plenty on the line as they kick off the 2012 campaign with the filing deadlines in Arkansas this week.

Democrats are trying to rebound from a 2010 election where they lost control of the state’s congressional delegation, while Republicans are trying to reach a long-sought goal of a majority in the state Legislature.

The playing field for that fight will become clearer on Thursday, as hundreds of candidates for office fill the state Capitol to make their bids official. The one-week filing period for legislative, congressional and presidential candidates begins at noon that day.

With no statewide candidates and a presidential race that has so far ignored Arkansas, much of the focus will be on the four congressional districts and the 135 legislative seats that will be up this year. After the state’s legislative boundaries were redrawn, all 100 state House and 35 state Senate seats will be on the ballot this year.

State Democratic Party Chairman Will Bond said he believes the party is in a strong position to grow its majority in the Legislature, as the party prepares for this year’s election. Democrats hold 54 of 100 seats in the state House and 20 of 35 seats in the state Senate.

After a 2010 election where Republicans made gains in legislative races by tying opponents to President Barack Obama – who remains deeply unpopular in the state – Democrats are eager to shift the focus back to state issues, Bond indicated.

“What we’re talking about in our state races is the qualifications of our candidates,” Bond said. “The Arkansas Democrat brand has an incredible history.”

Democrats say they expect to field candidates in about 70 of 100 House races, with 11 contested primaries expected. In the Senate, they expect to field candidates in 26 of the 35 Senate races, with 11 contested primaries.

Republicans say they expect to compete in 70 House races, with six contested primaries in that chamber. In the Senate, they expect to field candidates in 25 races with five contested primaries there so far.

State Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said he believes the party has a realistic shot at winning control of both chambers of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

“I believe realistically from the mood of the public, from the policies of Barack Obama and some polling and other verifications around that we’ve had around the state we feel that the Arkansas voter is ready to make a dramatic change,” Webb said.

Candidates for the state’s four congressional districts will also be among those lining up to make their bids official this week. Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Ross’ decision to not seek re-election for his 4th district seat in south Arkansas has raised Republican hopes that they can control all four of the state’s congressional districts.

Four Republicans – John Cowart, Tom Cotton, Beth Ann Rankin and Marcus Richmond – have announced bids for Ross’ seat and Webb said he believes the field is likely settled in that race. Most of the attention has focused on Rankin, who Ross defeated in his 2010 re-election bid, and Cotton, who has led in fundraising among the GOP contenders for the seat.

State Sen. Gene Jeffress and D.C. Morrison, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate two years ago, have both said they’re running for the Democratic nomination for Ross’ seat. But neither has reported raising any money for the race.

Ross has said he’s disappointed that more candidates haven’t stepped forward, and Bond said he expected one more Democrat to join the field.

Democrats aim to regain one or both of the two congressional seats they lost in the 2010 election – the 1st in east Arkansas and the 2nd in central Arkansas. State Rep. Clark Hall and Arkansas State University economist Gary Latanich have both announced bids to run for the Democratic nomination to challenge freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford.

Though Democrats have struggled to find a candidate in the 2nd district to challenge freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, Bond says he expects former state Rep. Jay Martin to enter the race. Martin, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2006, has said he is preparing for a potential bid but didn’t return a call Friday about the race.

The reliably Republican 3rd district race in northwest Arkansas will likely end up pitting Republican Congressman Steve Womack against Democrat Ken Aden. Neither is expected to face a primary challenger in May.

The filing period may also offer a hint of how much Arkansas will figure into a still-fluid Republican presidential race. Though the Legislature’s decision in 2009 to move the presidential primary back to May initially appeared to keep the state out of play. But the possibility of a drawn-out fight for the GOP nomination means that the state could still play a role in the contest.

Webb said Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum’s presidential campaigns have all told the state party they intend to file to appear on the ballot in Arkansas.


State kicks off ’12 fiscal session

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Beebe’s $4.72 billion budget faces competing resolutions

Arkansas Democrat Gazette


LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe urged lawmakers Monday to do what he said voters intended when they created fiscal sessions: Approve a state budget and go home.

But which budget to approve became an issue when Republican legislators filed resolutions that, if adopted, would allow them to introduce their own versions of the budget, instead of relying on Beebe’s $4.72 billion general-revenue budget recommendation for fiscal 2013.

Monday was the opening day of the 2012 fiscal session, only the second held by the state. Beebe addressed a joint meeting of the House and Senate, saying the first fiscal session, held in 2010, was short and sweet.

“I urge and applaud to take that same route,” he said.

In 2008, voters adopted Amendment 86 authorizing fiscal sessions in even numbered years. Previously, the Legislature met in odd numbered years in “regular” sessions, during which it enacted the state budget for two fiscal years. Now, during a regular session, a budget for only one year is enacted.

A fiscal session is limited to 30 days with one possible extension of no more than 15 days. As of Monday, 294 bills had been introduced.

Beebe did not refer specifically to the resolutions for other budget proposals.

“It is my job to propose and it is your job to dispose. That doesn’t mean you are free from proposing yourself,” Beebe said in his speech to lawmakers. “Sometimes I applaud your initiative and sometimes I wonder where you came up with the idea to begin with.”

Beebe spokesman Matt De-Cample said after the speech that the governor is open to looking at other proposals.

House Republican leader Rep. John Burris of Harrison filed House Concurrent Resolution 1008. Sens. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, and Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home, filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 3.

During a fiscal session, a lawmaker who wants to introduce a nonappropropriation bill is required to get a two thirds vote in the 100-member House and 35-member Senate in order to introduce such a bill.

“I think the governor’s budget is good. Is it perfect? No. So, the question is what room is there for change and how do we have the most input? That’s through potentially having our own competing budget,” Burris said.

The resolutions are not specific about how they would differ from the budget Beebe has proposed to the Budget Committee. Such resolutions typically lack specifics.

Beebe’s budget included a $163 million spending increase, which includes $114 million more for the state’s Medicaid program and $56.6 million more for kindergarten through 12th grade education.

Burris said his budget will propose less spending, but he wouldn’t say where the cuts would happen. He said he would have details by the end of the week.

House Budget Chairman Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, said while Burris and other Republicans are welcome to create their own budget proposal, she expects the Legislature will approve a budget based on the governor’s plan.

“Frankly, I’ve looked for cuts and I just don’t see the cuts. I don’t have the specifics on what Rep. Burris is going to propose to cut, but I don’t see the cuts in the budgets,” Webb said. “I just don’t see the money without cutting out the programs that we need, services that we need. I’m very supportive of what the governor has laid out so far, maybe a few minor tweaks but that’s about it.”

House Speaker Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City, said while addressing the House that lawmakers shouldn’t try to start from scratch on the budget.

“When the framers of Amendment 86 put it together, they didn’t intend for us to come down and reinvent the budget wheel, but rather to come down here and keep the train on the tracks and keep it moving along,” Moore said. “We don’t want to deal with gridlock, we don’t want to deal with distraction that take us away from the business of the people.”

Burris stressed that he is not trying to cause a problem. He said he just wants more discussion.

“It’s not an attempt to road block or cause problems. It’s actually the exact opposite. This is a way to get to the table and get together early and have some room for improvements,” Burris said. “It’s very good for us to have competing ideas and competing budgets out there. His budget is very good, it is a conservative budget. This is the way that we have debate, competing ideas.”

At a news conference after the House recessed for the day, Moore said he’s willing to look at Burris’ proposal alongside the budget that will be proposed by the Budget Committee.

“I’m looking forward to looking at his proposal and seeing where he thinks he can find some fat that we need to trim out in the budget,” Moore said.

Moore said Burris mentioned money in agency budgets but did not specifically say where excess money was being spent.

Moore said what money could be considered fat is subjective depending on what program is affected.

“If you are not supportive of some of the programs that are in there you think there is some money to be found,” Moore said. “I think the budget is very reflective of our commitments and responsibility to the people of the state.”

He said the governor’s budget reflects the priorities determined by the majority of lawmakers and the governor.

“I think we are on the right track to continue that,” Moore said.

Burris said recent actions by the governor to restore 15 firefighting positions with the state Forestry Commission shows that there is excess money available.

Beebe announced Feb. 8 that $550,000 from the state Department of Agriculture’s budget could be shifted from unused funds the department usually returns to the state at the end of each fiscal year. The money will allow the commission, which is part of the Agriculture Department, to rehire firefighters whose positions had been eliminated in layoffs last month.

“I think that very much underscored our argument. Up to that point we were told there was no money, it had to be tax increases and then magical pots of half a million dollars appear,” Burris said.

But Moore said the $550,000 reallocation for the Forestry Commission should not give lawmakers the impression that there are other pockets of money that should be spent. He said that agencies are normally given a cushion of more money than they are forecasted to spend in case of an emergency.

“Forecasting is not an exact science,” he said. “You don’t try to be precise, you try to give yourself a little cushion.”

Burris said finding money in the budget is a way for the Legislature to start identifying how it will pay for a projected Medicaid shortfall that the state Department of Human Services has estimated as between $200 million and $250 million in fiscal 2014, which begins on July 1, 2013.

“There is a fiscal train wreck coming with Medicaid. We have got to start looking at ways that we can operate efficiently or start talking about tax increases, and I’m not ready to do that. So it is time to start asking these agencies to operate with less,” Burris said.


Joint Budget Chairman Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, said the governor’s request for a $114 million general revenue increase for the Medicaid program will be “a big discussion point” for lawmakers about the governor’s proposed $4.7 million budget.

“The governor brought me some information today on how they arrived at that number and I haven’t had a chance to really study it yet,” he said. “It is a large amount of [the Revenue Stabilization Act] and to the degree that you deal with that in some other way through some savings in Medicaid, whatever, then you would free up dollars to do some other things that folks may propose.”

Also on Medicaid, Rep.Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, and eight other Republicans filed HCR 1010 to authorize the introduction of a bill to “improve program integrity for Medicaid and the ARKids First Program by implementing waste, fraud and abuse prevention, detection and recovery programs.”

Moore said he supports HCR 1006 and HCR 1009 both sponsored by Rep. Larry Cowling, D-Foreman, that would repeal a sales-tax exemption that the Legislature enacted in 2011 for truckers. The exemption was OK’d in exchange for the Arkansas Trucking Association’s support for a 5-cents per-gallon diesel tax increase proposed ballot issue. The association withdrew its support for the diesel tax increase.

Despite snowy weather in the morning, 33 of 35 senators and 97 of 100 House members showed up for the session’s first day.


The Budget Committee on Monday recommended a bill that will provide no pay raises to the state’s elected officials. House Bill 1005 by the committee is the General Appropriation Bill, which appropriates funds for the core operations of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.

State government as a whole is much bigger than the core operations this bill would fund – the total budget exceeds $24 billion a year, this bill would appropriate $36.8 million for personal services and operating expenses, $1.825 million to the House for expenses between sessions, and $650,000 to the Senate for expenses between sessions.

But the bill has significance also because the Arkansas Constitution says in Article V, Section 40, that the General Appropriation Bill must be enacted ahead of any other fiscal 2013 appropriation bill.

HB1005 would maintain the salaries of the state’s constitutional offices at existing levels: governor, $86,890; lieutenant governor, $41,896; attorney general, $72,408; secretary of state, and treasurer, auditor and land commissioner, $54,305.

The salaries for the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore would remain at $17,771, while the salaries for the other 133 lawmakers would be $15,869.

The salaries of the state’s chief justice and six other justices would remain at $156,864 and $145,204, respectively, under the bill. The pay of the Court of Appeals’ chief judge and the other appeals judges would stay at $142,969 and $140,732, respectively.

The pay of 121 circuit judges would continue at $136,257 and the salaries for 38 district judges would be $121,816. The bill covers the salaries of 13 district judges, effective Jan. 1, 2013, in addition to 25 existing district judges, in accordance with legislation enacted in 2011, according to the Bureau of Legislative Research.

Salaries for 25 prosecuting attorneys would remain $119,552 and those for three others would stay at $100,037.