Denise for Arkansas House of Representatives District 84

 For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Dustin Seaton

Tel: (479) 858-1423


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

State Representative Denise Garner Passes 

First Piece of Bipartisan Legislation

Designates the Alligator Gar as the Official Primitive Fish of Arkansas 

(Little Rock, Ark.) – Arkansas now has an official state primitive fish designation thanks to bipartisan legislation from State Representative Denise Garner and State Senator Bob Ballinger. This marks the first piece of legislation Rep. Garner has introduced that was signed into law.

 Rep. Garner was approached by one of her young constituents last year, fifth grader Henry Foster of McNair Middle School in the Fayetteville School District, to sponsor legislation to make the alligator gar the official fish of Arkansas. 

Never one to ignore the wishes of her constituents, regardless of how young or old they may be, Rep. Garner introduced HB1640 in late February. Together with young Henry, Rep. Garner recruited an impressive list of bipartisan legislators including co-sponsor State Senator Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville), State Rep. Charlene Fite (R-Van Buren), State Rep. Nicole Clowney (D-Fayetteville), and State Rep. David Whitaker (D-Fayetteville) to join in the effort to make a fifth grader’s civic dreams come true. 

“First of all, I never realized how controversial this legislation would become,” said Garner. “But this was never about me rather, it was about the hopes and dreams of Henry Foster and all the hard work he put into his lobbying campaign to make the alligator gar our state’s official fish.” 

After some legislative semantics in the state senate, both chambers agreed to official designate the alligator gar as the state primitive fish. HB1640 is now Act 576 thanks to Governor Asa Hutchinson signing the bill into law. 

Denise said she was thrilled to pass her first piece of legislation for a constituent in a bipartisan way proving the she can GARner bipartisan legislation as an effective state legislator.