Arkansas Politics

Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on two cases on gay marriage, many may be wondering how these rulings do or do not apply to Arkansas.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision Wednesday that a federal same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional could impact public policy in Arkansas. 

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor supported the Defense of Marriage Act and says the high court’s ruling still recognizes that marriage contracts should be left up to individual states.

“Arkansas has made the determination that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Pryor said. “I support and respect the state’s decision and my personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman has not changed.”

Filing: Shoffner Plans To Plead Not Guilty

Jun 24, 2013
Martha Shoffner
Danny Johnston / AP Photo

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner says she plans to plead not guilty to charges she accepted cash payments from a bond broker to whom she steered state investments, but a federal judge says she can't skip a hearing to enter that plea. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe denied Shoffner's request to waive her appearance at an arraignment hearing scheduled for later this week. Volpe's order was dated Friday, but wasn't entered into the court system until Monday.

Shoffner and her attorney said in a filing with the court that she planned to plead not guilty.

Hudson Hallum
Danny Johnston / AP Photo

A former east Arkansas legislator convicted of conspiracy to commit election fraud is appearing in court to be sentenced. 

Former Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum on Thursday is scheduled to appear before a federal judge for sentencing. His father, Kent Hallum, is also set to appear before the judge in a separate sentencing hearing. 

Hallum pleaded guilty in September, along with his father and two campaign workers.

Prosecutors said Hallum bribed voters and used absentee ballots to commit fraud in the 2011 election for his seat.

Boozman Seeks More Transparency From NSA Spy Programs

Jun 19, 2013

A new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News confirms findings from other media surveys that show a majority of Americans support the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. 

After attending classified meetings and a top secret briefing through the Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas says he’s pleased with recent public relations efforts by intelligence agencies. 

Arkansas Panel Reviewing Rules On Voter ID Law

Jun 19, 2013

An Arkansas panel is reviewing the rules for enforcing a new state law that will require voters to show photo identification at the polls before they can cast a ballot.

The state Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday was scheduled to review the rules for enforcing the state's voter ID law, which takes effect next year.

Poll workers are currently required to ask for identification, but voters can still cast a ballot if they don't show ID.

Gun Control Group To Hold Rally In Little Rock

Jun 14, 2013

A gun control group is holding a rally in Little Rock to urge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor to take another look at a measure expanding background checks for firearm sales.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is holding the rally Friday at Allsopp Park.

The event comes as the group is airing ads in Arkansas criticizing Pryor for voting against the background checks measure.

NRA Answers Bloomberg With Pryor Radio Ad

Jun 12, 2013
Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas
AP/Photo

The National Rifle Association is buying airtime on Arkansas radio stations to defend Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor's vote against gun purchase background checks proposed by President Barack Obama.

The NRA said the ad will run Wednesday through June 25 in a number of state media markets.

The 60-second spot mentions the 2008 murder of Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney and says nothing in the legislation Pryor voted against would have prevented the killing.

Pryor And Boozman Outline Immigration Priorities

Jun 12, 2013

With an immigration reform bill moving forward in the U.S. Senate, Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas says procedural votes Tuesday were just the first step in what will be a closely watched process. 

“If you look at the immigrant population in Arkansas, it’s about five percent and about 13 percent nationwide,” said Pryor. “However, we are one of the fastest growing states in terms of immigrant population. I think we’re fourth overall in the amount of growth we’re seeing in our immigrant population so this is an issue that’s becoming increasingly important to our state.”

Highway Commissioner Enters Arkansas Lt. Governor Race

Jun 11, 2013
John Burkhalter (D)
Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

Arkansas Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter says he's running for lieutenant governor next year, opting out of a race for the state's top office.

Burkhalter on Tuesday announced he's running for the Democratic nomination for the state's No. 2 constitutional office.

Little Rock School Board President Dianne Curry also announced Tuesday that she's running.

Burkhalter, 56, had been considering a run for governor.

Burkhalter is the president of Burkhalter Technologies, a North Little Rock construction company.

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