The Congressional journey for the Arkansas Statehood Centennial Half Dollar began in 1934 in the Senate with the introduction of a bill in the 73rd Congress by Senator Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-AR). Ms. Caraway's bill called for 50-cent pieces "in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union." The coins were to be struck for the benefit of the Arkansas Honorary Centennial Celebration Commission.
The bill called for the minting of up to 500,000 coins, allowed multiple Mint facilities to be used, did not specify an expiration date for the coinage, did not restrict the coins to a specific year and did not require a minimum order size for coin requests by the sponsor. (If you ever wondered how a one-year anniversary was able to be supported with a five-year coin program, now you know! A good discussion of the potential abuses of the coin program can be found here: 1936 Arkansas Statehood Centennial - Philatelic Tie-Ins
- the discussion follows the OP.)
Upon its introduction, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency. The Committee viewed the bill favorably, reporting it without amendment and with a recommendation to pass. The Committee's Report was accepted by the Senate; the bill was considered and passed without discussion. The coin bill was then sent to the House.
Upon receiving it, the House referred the bill to its Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. The House Committee mirrored the Senate Committee, reporting the bill without amendment and with a recommendation to pass. In the House, the bill was considered without objection and was quickly passed.
After passage in each chamber, the bill was examined and signed in the Senate and House before being sent to the President for final approval. US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had no objections to the Arkansas coin bill; he signed it into law on May 14, 1934.
It was a smooth sail for the Arkansas half dollar!1935-39 Arkansas Statehood Centennial Half Dollar
For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, including others about the Arkanasas half dollar, see: Commems Collection
For a discussion of a proposed amendment to the original Arkansas coin bill to increase the number of designs that were to be struck, check out:
- 1935-39 Arkansas Statehood Centennial - Three Designs Proposal