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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
"Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
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.
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.)