Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.

He can be reached by e-mail at: Roby@TalkBusiness.net.

Follow him on Twitter: @RobyBrock.

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

A Pulaski County Judge ruled Monday in a political tussle over previous state employment records of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, but answers to many of the questions are far from complete.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox ruled from the bench, ordering the release of Rutledge’s job performance records regarding her work as an attorney with the Arkansas Department of Human Services in 2007, seven years before she was elected to her present office.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Term Limits spokesman Tim Jacob says it’s time for the wishes of state voters to be honored and this year’s term limits proposal should keep lawmakers from altering them in the future.

On Friday, supporters of a proposal to curtail term limits gained approval of signatures from the Secretary of State’s office to qualify for the November ballot.

Baker Kurrus Little Rock School District LRSD
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

And then there were three — again.

On Monday Baker Kurrus announced he would seek the office of Little Rock Mayor, adding his name to the field that includes Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and banker Frank Scott.

Kurrus said in a short statement provided to Talk Business & Politics:

I have decided to seek the office of Mayor of Little Rock, my hometown. I will be announcing my plans for the campaign and my ideas for our city on or shortly after June 1, 2018. I look forward to an exciting five months ahead.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new survey of likely Republican party primary voters in Arkansas shows that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has a nearly two-to-one lead over over challenger Jan Morgan.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 676 GOP voters puts Hutchinson with 57.5% support compared to Morgan’s 30.5%. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided. The poll was conducted on April 17-19 and has a margin of error of +/-3.8%.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin heads the Common Core task force.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin on Tuesday endorsed Gov. Asa Hutchinson in his bid for re-election against Republican primary challenger Jan Morgan.

“I’m going to be supporting the Governor, no question. Look, I think what he’s doing on this transformation stuff is, first of all, it’s my passion, and I am so excited that he’s aggressively pursuing this. [I’m] absolutely supporting the governor,” Griffin said in a Talk Business & Politics Daily interview.

Arkansas House Speaker-Designate Matthew Shepherd
KATV, Channel 7

Arkansas Speaker of the House-designate, Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, won’t take office until January 2019, but he’s already rolling up his sleeves to gear up for the transition.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Shepherd said he wants to find ways to optimize House members’ leadership roles and he’s keen on working with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to reduce the size of state government.

Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who has held a hardline position on immigration reform, says there are areas of compromise he’s willing to consider in order to resolve the dilemma of “dreamers” and to enact larger U.S. immigration reform.

More Arkansans disapprove of the state’s effort to implement medical marijuana than approve of the effort to launch the industry in the Natural State. The question is: are these voters opponents who voted against the measure or supporters who want a faster pace?

 

Arkansas voters hold varying views on three statewide elected officials who are all polling below 50% in job performance approval.

A new survey from TBP-Hendrix College, conducted a week ago, shows Gov. Asa Hutchinson with the largest margin of approval, while attitudes toward U.S. Senator John Boozman are evenly split. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton has the highest approval rating of all three politicians, but he also has the highest disapproval number.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

One year after Donald Trump’s historic presidential victory in Arkansas, where he garnered 60.5% of the state’s vote, President Trump now finds himself below majority support in his job performance.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 784 statewide voters finds that Trump has a thin margin of approval versus disapproval. In the survey conducted on Monday, October 23, voters were asked:

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Donald Trump is doing?

47.5%  Approve
45.5%  Disapprove
7%   Don’t know

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, wants to see a broader tax base as part of federal tax reform, and with few exceptions, he’s open to a review of many deductions to eliminate that could lower overall rates.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Hill said he supports keeping deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions, but beyond that he’s open-minded to changes.

Senator John Boozman
Talk Business & Politics

As healthcare reform seems destined for a bipartisan solution in the U.S. Senate, Arkansas’ senior Senator John Boozman said he also expects tax reform to include both sides of the aisle.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Sen. Boozman, R-Ark., said the upper chamber appears poised to be a Republican and Democratic effort.

RAISE Act Senator Tom Cotton
Getty Images / NPR

President Donald Trump was joined by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., at a White House news conference on Wednesday to tout an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. Republican Georgia Sen. David Perdue also will co-sponsor the bill.

Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Times

Fresh off an overseas trade trip, Gov. Asa Hutchinson made his first public appearance in Arkansas since returning and told the media there is much work to be done before changing the nation’s federal healthcare law. 

This report is from Talk Business and Politics.

Republicans in Congress have passed a House version of a healthcare measure that aims to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

One Capitol Mall has houses the Joint Budget Committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislative Council executive committee gave permission on Thursday (June 15) for the Bureau of Legislative Research to hire outside legal counsel, a move designed to help the legislative research group cope with requests from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and possibly other investigatory agencies.

Talk Business & Politics reports.

Talk Business & Politics

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that 50 votes for healthcare reform don’t presently exist in the U.S. Senate.

Talk Business and Politics reports.

Senator Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., says in theory he’s okay with Jared Kushner’s possible communications with Russian officials and with President Trump’s signals to the Middle East and Europe, but he questions the sources that are leaking information to the media.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, was complimentary of President Donald Trump’s Middle East terrorism stance and he said a portion of his Congressional work is centered on more transparency and reforms in the international bank financing system.

Hill, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said the new Gulf Cooperation Council is a step in the right direction for Saudi Arabia and other regional countries to curtail the financing of global terrorism.

Senator John Boozman
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas’s senior senator applauded former FBI Director James Comey’s service, but understands he was a lightning rod for the criticism that led to his dismissal. That said, Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, wants a more complete explanation.

Sen. Boozman appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics. Saying he’s a “transparency guy,” Boozman said he wants a full explanation of Comey’s firing “the sooner the better.”

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says the earliest Arkansas could see a restart of the execution process is in mid-May when a stay of execution for Jason McGehee will expire. McGehee was one of four death row inmates whose executions in the most recent 8-person lethal injection schedule were not carried out due to last-minute legal challenges.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Brian Chilson-Williams / Arkansas Times

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday said he will limit next week’s special session primarily to items involving health care and he announced plans to cut the fiscal year budget by $70 million, while shoring up a long-term contingency fund. He also said that concerns over the most recent state execution, in which inmate Kenneth Williams “convulsed,” will be investigated by the Arkansas Department of Corrections, but no independent investigation is warranted.

“I see no reason for any investigation other than the routine review that is done after every execution,” Hutchinson said.

Bruce Westerman
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman sat down for a conversation with Talk Business & Politics Daily. He discussed the late Fourth District Congressman Jay Dickey, who passed away last week. Westerman also previewed the upcoming week of business in the nation’s capital, noting that healthcare changes are the critical driver for tax reform and infrastructure investments.

Jay Woodson Dickey, Jr., the former Fourth District Congressman from south Arkansas, has passed away from complications with Parkinson’s disease, Talk Business & Politics has learned. His son Ted Dickey confirmed the news early Friday morning.

Dickey, 77, served in Congress from 1993 to 2001. His upset election over Democrat Bill McCuen in 1992 – a year where Arkansas voters went overwhelmingly for native son Bill Clinton for President – made Dickey the first Republican to hold the south Arkansas seat since Reconstruction.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

For the first time in the history of polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College, the Arkansas Legislature received a failing grade from state voters.

The latest survey of 550 Arkansas voters conducted on April 4, 2017, shows that more voters disapproved of the GOP-controlled legislature’s performance by a 12 percentage point margin. Voters were asked:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Arkansas Legislature did during its recently completed session?

32% Approve 
44% Disapprove 
24% Don’t Know

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

In the last two months, President Donald Trump has seen erosion in his job approval numbers from Arkansas voters, while Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s performance seems to have risen over the course of the Arkansas legislative session.

New polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College shows a seven-point decline for Trump and a three-point rise for Hutchinson. In the survey, taken Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 550 Arkansas voters expressed their views.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Department of Correction

Arkansas voters remain firmly committed to the death penalty despite an upcoming quick execution schedule, advances made in DNA testing, and a national trend towards ending the practice.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey suggests more than 2-to-1 support for the death penalty versus life without parole.

Q: Do you support the death penalty, or should the state of Arkansas make life without parole the maximum prison sentence for capital offenses?

61% Support death penalty
29% Life without parole
10% Don’t Know

Rick Crawford
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas's first district says he has not seen any changes to the American Health Care Act that would alter his opposition and voiced his concerns over government’s role and the Congressional process as reasons for voting no.

“I’m not for it right now and so far I haven’t seen any of the changes that will compel me to change that vote at this point in time,” Crawford told Talk Business & Politics Wednesday. The House could vote on the proposal Thursday.

U.S. Representative Steve Womack
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, says he is whipping votes for Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare reform proposal and hopes to see it move to the House floor as early as tomorrow.

Appearing on “Connect with Congress” through KATV Channel 7, Womack visited with Talk Business & Politics host Roby Brock on Wednesday morning.

marijuana
npr.org

In a new survey, Arkansas voters made it clear they prefer the implementation of medical marijuana to allow for smoking cannabis and not waiting for federal law to allow for statewide usage.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll asked 440 Arkansas voters for their preferences on two debates occurring at the state legislature regarding medical marijuana’s implementation. Voters approved the measure last November by a 53-47% margin. In the latest survey conducted Tuesday, Feb. 14, voters were asked:

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

President Donald Trump’s popularity in Arkansas has not diminished since the November election despite national polling that suggests voter attitude shifts. Meanwhile, Arkansas voters still solidly approve of the job Gov. Asa Hutchinson is doing a little more than halfway through his first term.

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