LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Just two months away from a general session, the first bill was filed last week from the Arkansas legislature. Lawmakers said this week they think several key topics will be the focus of the session.

State Senator Jonathan Dismang said he is not certain what all the priorities will be but said he thinks education and the economy are two elements. He also said a new governor and several new members make it hard to predict exactly what will happen.

“I think, for me, the budget will be a focus,” Dismang said. “We’ve never had the challenge to our budget like right now with inflation.”

State Senator Ben Gilmore sponsored the first bill on the senate side, which deals with sentencing reform. He said public safety in general will be a topic discussed because of Arkansas’ crime numbers.

“You see crime every time you turn on the news,” Gilmore said. “When crime is out of control, it impacts everything else and makes it harder to sell Arkansas.”

Both legislators said education will be the biggest topic.

In the latest special session, many members of the public called for increased teacher pay, but the push never got the consensus needed from lawmakers. Dismang said that will be addressed along with “increased parental involvement.”

The general session starts Jan. 9, 2023.