President Joe Biden’s job disapproval among Arkansans is growing, led by independent voters whose confidence in his handling of the job has declined. And a new survey of likely Arkansas voters finds more dissatisfaction than satisfaction in the institution of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 916 likely Arkansas voters was conducted Sept. 20-22, 2021 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.04%. The survey asked:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Joe Biden is doing?

White Bluff Coal Plant
Wil Chandler / Arkansas Business

After a series of environmental disasters, which scientists and researchers blame on climate change, there are growing calls for political leaders and energy companies to take major steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. It has also gotten a former Arkansas U.S. congressman and a retired Entergy Arkansas CEO wondering how things might have been different these days had legislation proposed in 2009 been approved.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaking to supporters after a rally on Sept. 6 in Benton.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

She has toured the state in an RV emblazoned with her name, launched a TV ad that’s airing during Arkansas Razorbacks football games and spoken to packed rooms at restaurants. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ introduction as a candidate for governor hasn’t strayed from most campaigns here.

Except for the crowds, which are far beyond what people have seen in this mostly rural place. And the campaign talk, which often isn’t about the state.

Arkansas Legislature

The Arkansas House and Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees on Thursday heard presentations on four Congressional redistricting maps, including one that would move U.S. Rep. French Hill’s home from the 2nd to the 4th District and move Rep. Bruce Westerman’s home from the 4th to the 2nd.

Hill lives in Little Rock, and Westerman lives in Hot Springs. Both are Republicans.

Arkansas’ medical marijuana program is the subject of a new study examining its link to overall health outcomes.

Researchers with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement will lead the three-year study, funded by a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

UAMS

A program by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences created to address a shortage of doctors in rural parts of the state has received an additional $4.75 million in federal grant money.

According to UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson, Arkansas has the lowest number of available physicians per population in the nation. This scarcity was highlighted, he said, by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the delta variant that hit the state hard.

Arkansas Razorbacks
University of Arkansas

Razorback athletes may receive money for their academic success through an initiative announced by the University of Arkansas athletic department on Thursday.

With the Razorback Academic Success Initiative, UA athletes will receive educational benefits and monetary awards for their academic success and progression towards graduation.

TOPPS / Facebook

Assistance provided during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped Arkansas families who are struggling to get enough to eat, but advocates for those living in poverty say more needs to be done. The state has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the U.S.

Joel Berg, CEO of the New York-based group Hunger Free America, says federal assistance over the last year-and-a-half has been beneficial and shows what permanent changes could accomplish.

marijuana
npr.org

Nonprofit Arkansas True Grass is working to put an amendment on the November 2022 ballot to allow for the recreational use of marijuana in Arkansas. The group needs 89,101 signatures to make the ballot.

Jesse Raphael, the Northwest Arkansas spokesman for True Grass, said the group has more than 20,000 signatures. The deadline to gather signatures is in June 2022, and he said he felt good about the progress so far.

The Arkansas Department of Health says flu season officially starts next month.
Creative Commons

The Arkansas Department Health will begin offering free flu vaccinations next week. Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, the state's chief medical officer, says with fewer people taking COVID-19 precautions, which also protect against the flu, this year's flu season is expected to be more severe than the last.

She said the goal is to get as many people as possible, including children, vaccinated by November, when the flu virus is expected to become more prevalent.

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