It was a good week for health care 

It was a good week for ...

HEALTH CARE. The Arkansas House voted, 77-23, Tuesday to approve an appropriation bill to pay for a federally-financed expansion of Medicaid health insurance. The Senate was expected to take up the measure on Wednesday. Expanding Medicaid through the so-called "private option" would mean coverage for some 250,000 low-income Arkansans and an economic stimulus worth $1 billion.

A LAWSUIT. As promised, the Center for Reproductive Rights, American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Arkansas have filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas's ban on most abortions beginning at the 12th week of pregnancy. Plaintiffs are Drs. Louis Jerry Edwards and Tom Tvedten, on behalf of themselves and their patients.

It was a bad week for ...

SEN. MARK PRYOR. He was one of only two Democrats joining a minority of Republicans who opposed allowing a bill that would expand background checks on gun buyers to come to the Senate floor for debate.

ETHICS. The Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments rejected a resolution that would have put an ethics reform measure on the ballot. The proposal, co-sponsored by Rep. Warwick Sabin and Sen. Jon Woods, had been approved by the House committee last week, but Sabin and Woods decided to amend the proposal to strengthen ethics provisions in response to criticism from a Common Cause representative. The amended proposal won approval from the House committee, but the Senate side voted it down. Regnat Populus, the grassroots group that has pushed to get similar reforms on the ballot, will begin collecting signatures to get the measure on the ballot in 2014.

LITTLE ROCK POLICE OFFICER JEFFREY HARRIS. Harris was relieved from duty and an internal investigation was initiated after the police department learned of a bar fight in Billy's Bar in Fayetteville where Harris, then off duty, pulled his gun. Video of the fight spread through social networks.


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