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Procrastination Penalty

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Friday will mark the official end of the recently adjourned legislative session.

If there is one thing that lawmakers may want to remember is this: don't wait until the final day to file your bills.

By waiting until March 11th...the deadline to file a bill...a lawmaker cut the chances of that bill ever becoming law in half.

There were 1,831 bills filed before March 11th.

70 percent of those bills became law.

There were 661 bills filed on March 11th, the last day to file.

35 percent of those bills became law.

The success rate was cut in half. Call it a procrastination penalty.

Perhaps nobody paid that penalty more than Jim Dotson of Bentonville.

Dotson filed only three bills during the months leading up to March 11th, none of which became law.

But then the Republican representative unleashed a late landslide of legislation...filing 34 bills on the final day.

Only one is now law, a bill requiring CPR instruction in high school health classes.

Other legislators who finished with futile flurries: Representative David Kizzia batted 1 for 10 with his final day bills. Representative Nate Bell filed 21 and passed four. And Senator Bryan King filed 27 and passed four.

Those with better batting averages: Senator Jon Woods was 10 for 17 with his last minute bills. And Senator Keith Ingram was 8 for 16.

Overall...2,492 bills were filed during the 2013 legislative session.

1,520 of those bills became law...or 61 percent.

Many of the last minute bills were shell bills with only a title. But others were well researched.

For example, a bill to strengthen the rights of renters was backed by study of laws in other states. Although Arkansas is one of the worst states for renters, nothing happened with the bill because the bill's sponsor, Senator Woods, waited until the final day to file it.

Air date: May 15th, 2013