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It was a good week for expansion projections 

It was a good week for...

EXPANSION PROJECTIONS. The Arkansas Department of Human Services said that offering people health coverage through the "private option" would result in only slightly higher costs to the federal government than offering coverage via traditional Medicaid expansion.

NOT BEING THE WORST. The North Dakota Legislature has now passed the anti-abortion bill that Sen. Jason Rapert wanted to pass in the first place. It offers no exceptions for rape victims or women carrying gravely deformed fetuses. It requires ultrasounds for all women, even before a heartbeat is readily detectable, and thus means an invasive vaginal probe. The faintest sign of life, as early as five weeks, before many women know they are pregnant, means an abortion is illegal.

A BIG IDEA. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter proposed to give a free college education for all high school graduates with a 2.5 GPA. He'd base it on lottery receipts, augmented by grants and some general revenue support.

It was a bad week for...

CLASS ACTION PLAINTIFFS. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the side of business interests in a controversial case over handling of class action lawsuits arising in Miller County, Arkansas. In short, the decision makes it easier for defendants to move class action cases from state to federal court.

RAW MILK. A bill to allow Arkansas farmers to sell unpasteurized milk failed by a roll-call vote in the House Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committee. Looks like a mix of Democrats and Republicans among the yeas and the nays.

A RED, WHITE AND BLUE BROADWAY BRIDGE. Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines bowed to popular demand (and, supposedly, a higher maintenance cost) to ditch his plan to paint the replacement Broadway Bridge red, white and blue. A lighting scheme might still be possible, if he can dig up yet more money somewhere to go with the county-taxpayer-subsidized grafted-on superstructure intended to give the span a little aesthetic appeal.

HISTORY EDUCATION. The state's historians are deeply lamenting HB 1262, by Rep. Jon Eubanks (R-Paris), that, according to retiring Arkansas History Education Coalition President Tom Dillard, "essentially guts the requirement for Arkansas history continuing education standards for teachers."

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