Arkansas lawmakers give initial OK to $5.7B budget bills

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)   Arkansas lawmakers have given initial approval to legislation that outlines the state's proposed $5.7 billion budget for the coming year as they prepare to wrap up this year's session.

The House on Tuesday voted 90-5 to approve the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, which calls for increasing state spending by $124 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Senate unanimously approved an identical version of the bill previously.

Online records indicate among the North Central House delegation, Representatives Nelda Speaks of Mountain Home, Jack Fortner of Yellville, Michelle Gray of Melbourne, Marsh Davis of Cherokee Village and John Payton of Wilburn all voted in favor of the measure.

The bulk of the spending increases proposed in the legislation would go toward the state's Medicaid program and public schools.

Both chambers are expected to give final approval to the legislation on Wednesday.

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