Arkansas Politics

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 10:28:00

Collins files campus carry bill

As expected, Rep. Charlie Collins yesterday filed a bill to force public universities and colleges to allow staff members to carry concealed handguns.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 06:44:00

Lawmakers pass governor's tax cut

Governor Hutchinson's $50 million tax cut proposal for low-income earners passed in the Senate and the House yesterday.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017 - 17:00:00

State Treasurer staffer resigns after offensive comments

Treasurer Dennis Milligan today announced he has accepted the resignation of Hunter Hatcher, an Outreach Coordinator for the Treasurer's office. Hatcher publicly stated on social media that because Donald Trump was taking office, "Gay jokes are back on ya bunch of homos," and also made derogatory comments (in the form of lame jokes) regarding the role of women.

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Monday, January 23, 2017 - 09:37:00

Ethics complaint against Sen. David Wallace dismissed

Missed this amidst the inauguration hullabaloo: the Arkansas Ethics Commission on Friday dismissed a complaint against Republican state Sen. David Wallace over Wallace's loans to his campaign.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 15:51:00

Tax cut proposals move through legislature

Governor's Hutchinson's tax cut for low-income earners advanced on a voice vote in the Senate Revenue and Tax committee Wednesday at the state Capitol. Meanwhile, a rival Earned Income Tax Credit proposal will be up for consideration in a House committee tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 11:39:00

Bill for healthy food stamp purchases approved in committee

Republican Rep. Mary Bentley got House Public Health Committee approval today for her HB 1035 to prevent use of food stamps for purchase of unhealthy food, a measure likely to prevent use of the supplemental nutrition benefit for soft drinks, candy and the like.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 10:35:00

Big swill in big chamber tent today for legislators. Working stiffs not welcome.

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce is laying on a free spread for legislators under a big tent at chamber headquarters from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. today outside the chamber office at 1200 W. Capitol Avenue.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 07:42:00

Internet sales may not be the whole story on local tax collections

Little Rock thinks its lagging sales tax revenues are the fault of loss of commerce to Internet sales, which are generally untaxed. That's no doubt a factor. But it may not be the only one.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 06:47:00

Analysis: New landlord-tenant bill seems weighted to landlord

A law professor compiles a critical analysis of proposed legislation seemingly aimed at addressing deficiencies in Arkansas's landlord-tenant laws.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 17:35:00

Hutchinson's tax cut plan gains support thanks to proposed task force

Several state legislators who had been critical of Governor Hutchinson’s $50 million tax cut for Arkansas’s lowest earners now say they will support the plan.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017 - 07:52:00

Will Arkansas legislature go wobbly on ending the King-Lee holiday?

The King-Lee holiday Monday will come with no official action yet on promised legislation to end the dual observance of birthdays of a civil rights giant and a general who fought to preserve slavery.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 14:02:00

Mostly party line vote gives House speaker control over committee membership

The Arkansas House today changed its rules to give total power to the speaker to appoint committee members in the future, but not without a blast from Democrats, including Rep. John Walker of Little Rock.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 12:38:00

Subpoenas identify names of federal interest in kickback probe

The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District today provided me with the subpoena it received from federal investigators in a probe that led to former Republican Rep. Micah Neal's guilty plea to taking kickbacks from money he guided to a nonprofit agency and a private college in Springdale, apparently Ecclesia College.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 11:06:00

Governor paints hopeful future for Arkansas

Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke mostly in broad thematic terms to a joint legislative session this morning. His specifics include free vocational training for certain students and a commission to study a way to cut taxes more deeply than what he's proposed this session.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 10:52:00

House to change rule on committee appointments; place power with speaker

The new House rules, which came out of committee this morning, expand the power of the speaker of the House to appoint committee members. They also loosen campaign contribution rules for incumbent House members.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 09:56:00

Blogger: GIF beneficiary Ecclesia operates as a church, shouldn't get state money

New details on tax status of religious college enmeshed in kickback scandal and disclosure of a promise by public agency never to give state money to religious institution again.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017 - 13:10:00

Legislature opens, House speaker calls for collaboration, civility

The legislature opened ceremonially today and events included the re-election of Rep. Jeremy Gilliam as House speaker, who accepted the post with a call to collaboration and civility.

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Monday, January 9, 2017 - 09:00:00

Democratic legislator hopes scandal won't curb pork barreling

The Blytheville Courier provides the baldest admission of the essential corruption of Arkansas legislative pork barreling spending that I've seen.

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Monday, January 9, 2017 - 07:49:00

Arkansas legislature convenes at noon today

The legislature begins amid tighter House security and the usual popularity for hot-button political topics.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 12:38:00

State Rep. Micah Neal pleads guilty to taking kickbacks from government grants

Micah Neal, a Republican state representative from Springdale who abruptly dropped out of a race for Washington County judge last summer for "family and business" reasons, has pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks from government money funneled to non-profit agencies. A news release indicates at least one other legislator is involved.

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  • LRPD: Robbery suspect dead after victim wrestles away gun

    Little Rock Police say a robbery suspect died early this morning after one of the victims he allegedly tried to rob during a bank deposit wrestled away his handgun and shot him with it.
  • Earned-income tax credit plan fails in House

    Rep. Warwick Sabin's bill to enact an earned-income tax aimed at low-income workers in the state was rejected today in the House. The measure failed 66-28 on a mostly party-line vote, although a scattering of Republicans backed it.
  • What's next for Hillary Clinton?

    Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti, filing from Little Rock, reports on the future plans of Hillary Clinton in the wake of her loss in the presidential election
  • Collins files campus carry bill

    As expected, Rep. Charlie Collins yesterday filed a bill to force public universities and colleges to allow staff members to carry concealed handguns.
  • Committee passes bill to redefine "stillbirth" and require reporting miscarriages at 12 weeks

    The House Public Health committee today passed a bill sponsored by Rep. David Meeks, which would redefine "stillbirth" as the unintended death of a fetus any time after 12 weeks (current state law uses the medical definition, 20 weeks).  The bill would require that miscarriages that happened at 12 weeks gestation or more be reported to the division of Vital Records within five days after the event. Under current law, such fetal deaths must be reported when the fetus weighs more than 350 grams, or at 20 weeks if the weight is unknown. (The reporting requirement falls on medical providers, not on women who miscarry.)

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