Arkansas Politics

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 - 09:47:00

Hutchinson's hand called in Senate on highway plan

Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram rose this morning for a symbolic speech against Gov. Asa Hutchinson's free-lunch highway plan.

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Monday, May 23, 2016 - 09:38:00

Democrats gig governor on power grab; questions linger on Mansion spending

Too little and too late, but the Arkansas Democratic Party today rapped Gov. Asa Hutchinson for holding jobs hostage to his takeover of a couple of state commissions, which I mentioned earlier this morning. worth more investigation: Big spending at the Governor's Mansion by Asa and First Lady Susan Hutchinson.

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Monday, May 23, 2016 - 07:07:00

Legislature: All over but the final touches on the power grabs

The Arkansas legislature meets today — the House at 9 a.m. and the Senate 10 a.m. — to complete Gov. Asa Hutchinson's special session agenda. It will be remembered for executive takeover of the History and Governor's Mansion Commission and free lunch highway program.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016 - 15:07:00

Governor picks current staffer and former D.C. associate, Alison Williams, as chief of staff

Gov. Asa Hutchinson names existing staffer Alison Williams to be his new chief of staff. The name might ring a bell for those who recall when Hutchinson got scrutiny for leaving a Bush administration job for higher pay in a sector related to his government work, with assistance from Williams and another current staffer.

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Friday, May 20, 2016 - 10:09:00

Governor's Mansion schedules fund-raising events

The Hutchinsons have schedujled some mansion money-raising events at the Capitol, perhaps a sign of increased gubernatorial control of the state housing. This also brings to mind the question of whether an official like Hutchinson can get away with diverting attention from office furniture expenses by saying they were paid with money from private contributors.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 16:48:00

Justice reform? Don't tell it to Tough Talking Tom Cotton

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton isn't having any of this talk of justice reform. The U.S. isn't putting ENOUGH people in jail, despite a world-leading penchant for prisons.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 10:38:00

Senate defeats bid to change committee hearing Hutchinson highway bill

The Senate opened with a fight over where to assign Gov. Asa Hutchinson's legislation to spend surplus and diverted revenue on highways the next few years.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 07:26:00

Legislation waives earthquake design standards for select projects

Still awaiting a public discussion is SB 5 by Sen. David Burnett of Osceola and Rep. Monte Hodges of Blytheville to provide exceptions from the state's earthquake resistant design standards by which money could be saved on some targeted building projects.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016 - 16:17:00

Priest provides Gov. Hutchinson with some legal background on transgender issues

Rev. Gwen Fry, an Episcopal priest and president of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition, shares a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson that others would do well to read for some background on the shortcomings in his blast of President Obama for reminding states of the need not to discriminate against transgender students.

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Monday, May 16, 2016 - 15:20:00

Gov. Hutchinson adds raft of items to special session call in addition to highway spending

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the "call," or agenda, for the special legislative session that begins Thursday and it includes a number of items besides highway spending, the main issue. A contentious workers comp issue has made the call, despite objections by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

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Monday, May 16, 2016 - 09:23:00

Rapert solicits funds for tax-exempt nonprofit to support his 'speaking out'

A reader notes Sen. Jason Rapert's plea for contributinos to his Holy Ghost Ministries, a tax-exempt nonprofit, so that he may continue "speaking out."

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Monday, May 16, 2016 - 06:58:00

Candidate for Congress backs equal treatment for students

Dianne Curry of Little Rock, the Democratic candidate for Congress against Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill, issued a prepared statement in response to President Obama's guidance on equal facility access for students, aimed at protecting the rights of transgender students: It's a welcome measured remark as Republican seize on bathrooms to promote a broader discrimination agenda.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 08:11:00

Chamber worried that special legislative session will include workers comp change

Will more than highways be discussed at next week's special session? The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce fears an anti-business change in workers compensation law could be on the table. And there's school elections. And bathroom hysteria. And who knows what else?

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 10:21:00

Insurance commissioner's new building more costly than originally portrayed

The budget session of the legislature passed without action on Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr's idea to build a new building for his agency, big enough to house him and perhaps the state bank and securities divisions, both housed in leased space.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 17:08:00

Gov. Asa Hutchinson now backs Donald Trump for president

Asa Hutchinson is on board the Donald Trump train.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016 - 09:50:00

Is Hutchinson's line-item veto scheme legal?

Is the scheme to use procedural trickey to preserve the Obamacare Medicaid expansion legal? Some past attorney general opinions suggest maybe not.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 18:06:00

Gov. Asa Hutchinson spars with Tea Party Ten; sharp words for Sen. Linda Collins-Smith and Sen. Bryan King

With ten senators threatening to shut down the government unless the Medicaid expansion is killed, Gov. Asa Hutchinson is going on the attack. 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 17:18:00

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he has votes in House to pass Medicaid budget; fight in Senate looms

Gov. Asa Hutchinson today told reporters that there is now supermajority support for the Medicaid budget in the House.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 14:53:00

Joint Budget Committee passes Medicaid budget, including private option; on to Senate

The Joint Budget Committee today passed the Medical Services appropriation, which funds the state's Medicaid program, on a voice vote. That includes both "Arkansas Works," the governor's plan to continue the private option Medicaid expansion, as well as the traditional Medicaid program (everything else, such as ARKids and the aged, blind, and disabled).

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 12:28:00

House Democrats request no appropriations until Medicaid budget approved

In a letter to House Speaker Jeremy Gillam, the Democratic Caucus today requested that no appropriations be taken up until the legislature moves forward with the Medical Services appropriation.

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