Legislation nearing completion for a police officer for the legislature

House legislation approved by a Senate committee today will allow a legislative security officer to have the power to enforce the law, including the carrying of a weapon, with jurisdiction-wide jurisdiction. ‘State.

Speaker Matthew Shepherd said the bill was not intended to create a new law enforcement agency, but to relate to a new person hired for a sergeant-at-arms position. The statewide jurisdiction is intended to give that person the power to accompany lawmakers to meetings outside of Little Rock. The bill allows both the House and the Senate to hire such an officer, but so far the Senate has not expressed an interest in reflecting House practice so far, although the Senator Jason Rapert, chair of the committee hearing the bill today, said the idea was overdue. Shepherd also said the bill was not a step towards a takeover of the Capitol Police, currently under the direction of the Secretary of State. This idea was launched by some lawmakers.

The Senate committee approved the bill, HB 1003, after hearing testimony that the employee would work in accordance with state law enforcement standards.

Sense. Jane English and Clarke Tucker both questioned the wording of the bill that allows the legislature to set hiring standards, perhaps a problem for future hires, but not necessarily for the person already chosen by the House. Shepherd, he was prepared to toughen the wording of the bill in the future.

The bill passed 94-1 in the House, with Representative Gayla McKenzie voting no.

The bill will give the powers to the new hiring of the House, Gerald Spurgers. He is a retired FBI agent with 32 years of federal service, a House spokesperson said, and is paid $ 72,573.

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