Arkansas panel backs government agency reorganization

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) An Arkansas House panel has endorsed the governor's
plan to cut the number of agencies directly answering to him from 42 to 15.

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday
approved legislation that outlines Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's government
reorganization plan. The 2,049-page bill now heads to the full House for a vote.

Hutchinson proposed the reorganization last year, saying it would improve
efficiency and help save the state money. Hutchinson has said the plan wouldn't
cost any state employees their jobs and would be done using existing resources.

The proposal includes putting the State Police, Crime Lab and Department of
Emergency Management and other law enforcement-related agencies under a new
Department of Public Safety.

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