Open line. Plus, Democrats gig Asa; Hillary adds a Little Rock appearance; state seeks charter school money | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Open line. Plus, Democrats gig Asa; Hillary adds a Little Rock appearance; state seeks charter school money

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 4:23 PM

Here's the open line and today's news roundup by video. Also:

* RELIEF FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES, NOT FOR POOR, IN ASA'S ARKANSAS: The Democratic Party of Arkansas turned up a pretty good gig of Asa Hutchinson. It appears that, on account of some snags in mailings and the on-line renewal system, State Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr t has extended the deadline for insurance companies to renew their operating licenses by 30 days.

The point, Gov. Asa Hutchinson doggedly held onto an illegal 10-day response time for people to prove their income eligibility for private option insurance coverage, causing tens of thousands to lose coverage. Under federal pressure to fix the erroneous interpretation of law, he finally extended the response time to 30 days.

Democratic Party chair Vince Insalaco blasted Hutchinson helping insurance companies while refusing to help Arkansas families.

“Governor Hutchinson and his administration have acted with total disregard for the health and well-being of Arkansans while showing total deference to the big insurance corporations. If big insurance gets thirty extra days to comply with relicensing requests, the hardworking families of Arkansas should have been given more time to comply with redetermination requests from DHS.’
“Arkansas Democrats believe that hardworking Arkansans should be treated with the same level of professionalism and respect as the special interest and corporate lobbies the Hutchinson administration so favor. Arkansans deserve better.”

* HILLARY GOES PUBLIC: We'd reported earlier that Democratic presidential candidate would be in town Sept. 21 for a fund-raiser at the Edgehill home of Kaki Hockersmith and Max Mehlburger. Today, information appeared on her website that she'll make a public appearance at 4:45 p.m. that day at Philander Smith College. It's called a grassroots organizing meeting on her website.

* ARKANSAS PUSHES FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Arkansas Department of Education has applied for a $30 million federal grant, payable over five years, to establish a subgrant program to aid charter schools in Arkansas. The grant application doesn't spell out intentions to spend the money on specific schools. Some in the Little Rock School District had feared this might have been a move to support privatization of some schools with lagging test scores. That's not immediately evident in the application. What is evident is some unsupported contentions about the superiority of charter schools, such as by virtue of higher test scores than the closest conventional public school. It is not a shock to me, for example, that the minority black LISA Academy, with a small percentage of poor students, has higher test scores than nearby Henderson Middle School, virtually all black students poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. 

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