Nathan Vandiver

General Manager

Nathan Vandiver is General Manager for UA Little Rock Public Radio.

As General Manager, Nathan oversees the quality of our on-air sound and is responsible for developing and maintaining programming policy, supervising programming staff, and selecting programs for UA Little Rock Public Radio.

Phone: 501-569-8485

E-mail: nathan@kuar.org

Ways to Connect

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas will await federal approval of a plan to provide private health insurance to roughly 250,000 of the state’s working poor with federal money after the state Senate approved a bill allowing the plan to be funded Wednesday night.

By a vote of 77 to 23, the Arkansas House passed a bill that would allow funding to a plan to take federal money intended for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and use it for private insurance for the state's adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The funding bill must still me approved by the Senate. It requires a 3/4 majority in both chambers to pass. A bill laying out the plan has passed both the House and Senate with smaller majorities than required for the appropriation bill required to implement the plan.

Gov. Mike Beebe
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A vote on the budget bill that would let the state implement a plan to use federal Medicaid money to buy private insurance for low income Arkansans is expected again Tuesday morning after failing in the House by six votes Monday afternoon.

The bill was rejected 69 to 28 because, as a funding bill, it needed 75 votes to pass.

Speaker Davy Carter allowed a motion to adjourn immediately following the no vote. He says the House will vote again.

Arkansas Speaker of the House Davy Carter is pushing the House’s final vote for the “Private Option” model of Medicaid expansion back to Monday saying lawmakers are expressing support of the plan but they need the time to convince their constituents.

“When I have members that say, ‘will you please give me the opportunity to go back and talk to my constituents?’ It’s awfully hard to say no to,” Carter said.

Some House members indicated in speeches on the House floor Thursday that they would have to vote no Friday, but could vote yes by Monday.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  The Arkansas House is expected to vote Friday on whether to let the state spend the money to implement the private option of health insurance expansion for low income Arkansans.

Thursday it approved one bill that sets up the plan, but the plan's appropriation is expected to be much harder to pass.

The Arkansas House is expected to vote Thursday on a plan to provide private health insurance coverage with federal money for low income Arkansans. The plan's implementation hinges on a tougher vote expected Friday.

The vote to enable the expansion is expected to pass the House with the needed 51 votes. Approval is easier than allowing the expansion to be funded, which takes a budget appropriation requiring 75 votes.

Former State Rep. John Burris (R-Harrison)
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The state House will get to vote on legislation that would allow the state to provide health insurance to roughly 250,000 low income Arkansans after the House public health committee advanced it Tuesday.

There was audible opposition to the voice vote, but the bill will make it to the full House, where it will need 51 votes for approval. However, it will also need a budget appropriation for full implementation and that takes a tougher 75 votes.

Republican Representative John Burris of Harrison told his colleagues in the Arkansas House on Monday that the state could be an example to other states of how to overhaul Medicaid if it approves a new private option of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The House met Monday specifically to discuss a bill that would allow the state to expand health coverage through private insurance for roughly 250,000 Arkansans who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level with federal money.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas has received written approval from the Department of Health and Human Services to forge a new plan to expand health insurance in the state. 

Governor Mike Beebe released a letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday that said the state should move forward on its loose plan to expand private health insurance coverage with federal money available through the Affordable Care Act.

Our content partner TalkBusiness Arkansas has posted the full letter.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas Senate voted 21-12 Wednesday to override the Governor's veto of a bill that would require voters in the state to present valid photo identification before casting a ballot.

This is the third veto the Senate has overridden this legislative session. The other two were on abortion restrictions.

The Senate delivered a letter announcing the override to the House of Representatives which also has to vote to override the veto.

A bill that would remove water quality standards for mineral content in small streams in the state is set for a hearing in the Senate Public Health Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 1929 would remove a special permit requirement for businesses that discharge minerals such as chlorides and sulfates into streams. Representative Andy Davis, a Republican from Little Rock, is the bill’s sponsor. Davis says current standards apply to water that will never be used as drinking water.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Talk of tax cuts continues to swirl around the state Capitol as lawmakers iron out what Speaker of the House Davy Carter said Friday is shaping up to be roughly $100 million dollars worth of cuts.

"In concept there is an agreement ... for a tax cut package in that range," Carter told reporters, speaking of talks between the House and Senate.

The Speaker had asked for lawmakers to identify $150 million in tax cuts, but recent reports have indicated the number has been decreasing.

The House voted 82-3 to pass a bill Friday that would prevent government agencies from naming buildings after public office holders until ten years after they are out of office.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative John Burris, R-Harrison, said this law would solve some interesting situations that have occurred in various districts around the state.

A bill that would have directed a portion of state revenue from certain sales taxes to the Highway and Transportation Department failed to pass a house committee Thursday, though its sponsor says it could get another try in committee.

Representative Jonathan Barnett, a Republican from Siloam Springs, sponsored HB 1418 and says if he does bring it back up, it will have to compete with other bills cutting or reallocating state funding.

Two bills regulating body modification procedures are headed to the full House with support of the tattoo industry.

One bill would set an age limit for piercings without parental consent and another would ban sub-dermal implants. The bills passed the House Public Health Committee Thursday.

The bills' sponsor in the House, democratic Representative Deborah Ferguson of West Memphis, said the industry opposed earlier forms of the legislation but now they are working together.

Davy Carter
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter is wanting to see a written draft of a proposal to expand health coverage in the state by Friday.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute says Arkansas lawmakers should avoid as much state responsibility involved with the federal Affordable Care Act as possible.

The health policy expert from the Cato Institute, a public policy think tank dedicated to promoting free market principles, spoke with lawmakers Tuesday in the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee to discuss the state’s options regarding what to do with its health insurance exchange.

Nathan Vandiver

A bill to require Arkansas voters to show a valid photo ID before casting a ballot is on it’s way to the Governor after clearing its final hurdle in the Senate today.

The bill was already passed by the Senate, but it picked up an amendment in the House, so today’s vote was to adopt the amendment. The measure passed 22-12.

DHS Director John Selig, Director Division of Medical Services Andy Allison.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Expansion of health coverage under the so-called “private option” for insuring more Arkansans under the federal health care law may be less expensive than originally thought according to a new estimate.

John Selig, director of the state’s Department of Human Services says the study done with the Arkansas Insurance Department and consulting groups found that in Arkansas specifically, the cost of private insurance coverage would not be nearly as high when compared to Medicaid, as originally expected.

Arkansas State Legislature

A bill that would direct a portion of the state’s general revenue to pay for highways in the years to come has many in state education and higher education programs worried they’ll lose a portion of their funding in the future.

  The bill’s sponsor, Representative Jonathan Barnett, a Republican from Siloam Springs, says some general revenue needs to shift to highways because revenue sources like the state’s fuel tax aren’t keeping the state’s highways adequately funded for upkeep.

 A new bill that seeks to prevent the federal government from regulating firearms in Arkansas is scheduled to go before a state House committee Tuesday morning. But many think it’s clearly unconstitutional.

State Representative Bob Ballinger, a Republican from Hindsville, is the sponsor of the bill.

“We are not going to allow for any more federal regulations of firearms in Arkansas," Ballinger told a crowd gathered for a Second Amendment rally in front of the Arkansas Capitol February 8.

Ballenger says Arkansas citizen’s Second Amendment rights are at stake.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (4th District) speaking in 2013 at the Arkansas Capitol when he was a State Rep.
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas lawmakers say they are continuing to look at expanding health coverage to those in Arkansas who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level with federal money made available through the Affordable Care Act.

State lawmakers learned two weeks ago that they have the option of covering those who would benefit from the expansion with private insurance rather than putting them directly on Medicaid.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is putting his support behind legislation that he says will reduce fraud in the state’s ballot initiative process.

McDaniel and Sen. Keith Ingram, a Democrat from West Memphis, told reporters at the Capitol Thursday that proposed legislation would stiffen penalties for knowingly collecting and submitting fraudulent signatures within the state’s ballot initiative process.

McDaniel referred to last year’s election is a prime example that the process needs reform.

Ann Clemmer
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives has overridden by a vote of 56 to 33 the Governor’s veto of a controversial bill that restricts abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill will take effect 90 days after the conclusion of this year’s legislative session after the Senate voted 20-14 to override the veto Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway is the sponsor of SB 134, also called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act. It prohibits a pregnant woman from having an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, or after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The Arkansas Senate voted Tuesday to override the Governor's veto of a bill that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks.  It now heads to the Arkansas House.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The Arkansas Senate is advancing a bill to Governor Mike Beebe that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.  This comes immediately after the upper chamber voted Thursday morning to override the Governor’s veto of a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks.

Representative Andy Mayberry, a Republican from Hensley, sponsored the 20-week ban. He says it’s been a personal mission.

Now that lawmakers know the state can opt to insure individuals eligible for a federal Medicaid expansion on private insurance exchanges, lawmakers in both parties are indicating expansion may be more likely for Arkansas.

Newscast – 4:32 p.m. – 2/26/13: The Governor vetoes a 20 week abortion ban bill; The speaker calls for tax cuts in a timely fashion; The Governor says cuts will have to be justified; Open carry of handguns fails in committee; And, the legislature approved a bill to let drivers use a handheld device to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has vetoed HB 1037, also known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"House Bill 1037, if it became law, would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent," the Governor said in a written statement Tuesday.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A bill that promises to reign in state government growth advanced out of committee Tuesday, for the second time.

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