June 17, 2024

Arkansas Governor Calls Special Session to Fund Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Article Contact: Kent Keene,

Why It Matters: Despite the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) being one of a handful of state fish and wildlife agencies whose authority is vested via the state’s Constitution, the agency’s budget is still subject to approval by the General Assembly. After adjourning their fiscal session without approving a budget for the AGFC, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ call for a special session is a critical step to ensure that the agency can financially continue their mission on behalf of the citizens, and sportsmen and women, of Arkansas.


  • Earlier this year, the Arkansas General Assembly adjourned their shortened fiscal session without making an appropriation for the budget of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
  • Despite the efforts of the leaders of the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to rally support around the agency’s budget proposals, the effort stalled and the session adjourned without an approved budget for the agency.
  • This special session will allow the General Assembly to rectify this situation while ensuring that the agency is able to financially continue its operations in the Natural State.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s authority over the Natural State’s fish and wildlife resources is officially vested solely in the AGFC through the state’s Constitution. However, the agency’s budget is still subject to appropriations by the Arkansas General Assembly. As the sole source of power that the legislature wields over the AGFC, the 2024 fiscal session saw a few legislators successfully stall the appropriations process for the agency due to differing opinions regarding the agency’s management decisions. Fortunately, Governor Sanders called for the General Assembly to convene a special session to ensure that the agency is funded, among other things.

While Arkansas’ Constitution does a great job ensuring that management authority remains vested in the Game and Fish Commission and is informed by those most knowledgeable and best equipped to make wildlife management decisions, the current events in Arkansas demonstrate that even the best systems can still be subject to challenges caused by differences in opinion. However, with the Governor’s swift action and the efforts of the leaders of the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, it is unlikely that these impacts will continue past the end of the agency’s current fiscal year, effectively preventing and negative consequences.

While Arkansas returns for their Special Session, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and partners are working closely with elected officials to address other challenges facing the sporting-conservation community in the state. Stay tuned for further updates as these efforts progress.

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