LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV/AP) - Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he won't call lawmakers back to the Capitol to address a looming hike in teacher insurance premiums without the votes to pass short- and long-term fixes to the program.
Beebe told reporters Monday he's talking with legislators and state officials about options available for addressing the premium increases that 47,000 teachers will see starting Jan. 1. A state board last month approved increasing premiums by as much as 50 percent and some legislators say they need a special session to address the increase.
Beebe's spokesperson Matt DeCample said before calling a session, they need to hammer out short and long-term fixes.
"The Governor feels that the approach he wants to follow, which is the approach he's followed in the past, is to have those meetings first, to sit down and hammer out a consensus," DeCample explained. "Then once you have that consensus, then you can call a special session."
DeCample says the Governor believes having a plan in place before calling a session will be the most beneficial to taxpayers because it will cost them less money.
Beebe wants to know there's support for short-term relief for the teacher insurance program as well as for long-term changes that would help prevent similar increases in the future.