The Influence of Interest Groups
Measuring the influence that organized interests exert upon the Arkansas General Assembly does not lend itself to precise analysis but the suspicion is that it is quite substantial.
Arthur English and John J. Carroll, Citizens Manual to the Arkansas General Assembly, 1983
Hell, we wouldn't have a government if there were no interest groups.
State Legislator, 1973
In the earliest days of state government in Arkansas, interest groups would have been superfluous. State legislators represented individuals (and relatively few of them) whose economic interests, primarily farming, were fairly homogeneous, and state government did little that materially affected their livelihoods. Still, in Arkansas as elsewhere, as populations grew, as the economy diversified, and especially as the powers and activities of state government expanded, increasing numbers of individuals found it advantageous to organize around their specialized interests, especially their economic functions, in order to ensure promotion and protection of their particular views. Interest groups are variously known as pressure groups, lobbies, and special interests. By whatever name, they are associations organized for the purpose of influencing public policy, and they have become an integral part of the representation and policymaking process in every modern democratic system.